Monday, April 6, 2009

A Beginner's Guide to Social Networking for Homeschoolers

Social networking sites like MySpace, Facebook, Youtube, et al. have overtaken our culture and revolutionized the way that people interact with each other. As a homeschooler or school educator, there are many ways that you can take advantage of these new technologies and abilities to interact with others to your advantage. Everyone now has the ability to share their wisdom and opinions with the world in a way previously unknown. This "everyday" perspective can really be helpful when deciding on a new curriculum, finding resources, and learning about best practices. Use the technology to your advantage with this beginner's guide to blogging for homeschoolers. There are many resources available for learning how to blog and use other social networking sites; for now, I am going to ignore learning how to produce content on these sites. Rather, I'm going to focus on being an informed consumer of all of the social networking content available.

Finding Blogs:

You don't have to be a member of blog sites or have your own blog to read them. Firstly, the three most important blog sites are Blogger, WordPress, and HomeschoolBlogger. Many of your friends, favorite companies, and celebrities already have blogs. Many sites allow you to upload your e-mail contact list to see who's already a member of that site so that you can connect with them. This is one of the easiest ways to get started.

Use a list of blogs: Search for lists of popular blogs that match your interests and needs. Homeschool Blogs; Educational Blogs; See the Blogger's Choice Awards site for lists of popular blogs of many categories.

Use Google's BlogSearch to find blogs talking about what you're interested in. Find all blog's mentioning "homeschooling," "Sequential Spelling," "Orton-Gillingham," "multi-sensory," "freebies," or any other keywords.

Use Google Alerts to send you an e-mail when a new blog post is written about a topic you're interested in. Follow a news story, a method of teaching, celebrity gossip, or anything else without any of the hassle.

Reading Blogs:
Now that you've found all of the blogs you can stand to read, how are you going to read them? Use a blog aggregator to manage your blogs. Many blogging platforms also offer the service of subscribing to the blog via e-mail. Read: you don't have to navigate to each blog's website in order to stay up on them. See a list of blog aggregators here. I

Social Bookmarking:
Social bookmarking sites allow you to manage your bookmarks (also called "favorites") online, let you see what lots of people find useful or interesting, and share the sites that you like with others. Digg and Delicious are two such sites. Upload your bookmarks, view and manage them from anywhere, and search for the most popularly bookmarked sites of any of thousands of topics. See "Homeschooling" on Digg and Delicious.


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