Teachers are getting their own social network, courtesy of Skype (via TechCrunch):
Skype realizes full well its software is used by many school teachers and students from around the globe, and today announced that it has built a dedicated social network to help them connect, collaborate and exchange knowledge and teaching resources over the Web.
This morning, the company launched a free international community site dubbed Skype in the Classroom, an online platform designed to help teachers find each other and relevant projects according to search criteria such as the age groups they teach, location and subjects of interest.
The beta platform has reportedly 4,000 members so far and should only continue to grow with time. As social networks compete for targeted niche groups, teachers have to be one of the “whales” among the relatively untapped. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, each have their relative strengths when it comes to professional or personal development, distributing information, etc. but this Skype initiative seems better tailored for teachers.
It’s clear to pretty much the entire world by now that U.S. school children are a bit behind the curve when it comes to Math, Science, well, a good many subjects. Providing a platform for teachers to swap strategies, case studies, and best practices with fellow teachers around the globe, seem like an admirable initiative to help close a percentage of that gap.
And by allowing for personalization and the ability to search out other teachers based on need and resources, I think it’s fair to say we once again have front row seats to another positive societal change thanks to social media.
What about you? How do you use Skype to improve your professional development?
On this date in 1971, Ewan McGregor was born. Don’t care? Me either.
Anyways, from around the world in tech, higher education and PR:
I stumbled across this video today posted over at the Publicity Hound. It’s an informative two-minute video from the Associate Press on how to pitch them a story idea. Take a look. Jon Resnick, AP Planning Editor, and Donna Cassata, AP Editor, star.
[Video] How to Pitch the A.P.
None of the “tips” are groundbreaking, but I do enjoy how the two underscore the similarities of a well-written pitch with a movie. Both have themes, characters, details, and a defined “conflict” that is packaged in a way that is easy to understand.
Unlike most Hollywood movies these days however, Resnick, does underscore the importance of being honest with your pitch. That’s a point that must be driven home (unfortunately) time and time again for many in our profession.
The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) is unveiling a comprehensive Social Media Policy for practitioners, which attempts to focus on more of what we should do as practitioners, than on what not to do. The policy includes helpful recommendations for engaging your communities, representing your institution and yourself with respect, and even a blogging policy (which I undoubtedly break everyday).
In other news…
- Do sexual harassers become philosophers? Or do philosophers become sexual harassers? Ponder that.
- When social media does good. How new media tools are helping find missing children.