LinkedIn Forum Provides
Exchange of News, Views, Tips


By Dr. L. Robert Furman, principal of South Park Elementary Center, South Park, Penn.

LinkedIn began as a site where people could put their résumés out there when they wanted a new job. But if that’s the only purpose you have for LinkedIn, you’re missing out.

The social media site is still a place for people to make professional connections, but those connections are now deeper and more binding vs. fleeting and opportunistic, having evolved into a professional hub where like-minded peers can share industry news, best practices, and opinions.

These focused conversations happen in forums, moderated groups run by representatives of such heavy-hitters as ASCD and the International Society for Technology in Education. One of my fave forums: The Reader Leader Forum, which I moderate, where literacy rules. It’s a spam-free, cutting-edge group of educators at every level – administrators, classroom teachers, reading specialists, and librarians.

Forums like this allow educators to be true to themselves. Think about it: We compel children to collaborate, so we should model collaboration. We ask students to evaluate what they have read, and so should we. Evaluation always involves considering various viewpoints. I can post an article I completely disagree with and share my opinion. Then you can share yours. After all, it’s dialogue that really creates an educational community.

But don’t just listen to me. Listen to what some of our members say.

Craig Shurick, program manager for Focus Schools at the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction in Washington, puts it this way: “As a state-level practitioner responsible for school improvement in the bottom 10 percent of schools in Washington state, having a portable professional learning community where best practices can be reviewed and vetted for performance is a gift.”

Kathleen Lisson is chair of the Communications Committee of the Junior League of Troy, N.Y. The Junior League of Troy, according to Kathleen, “is focused on encouraging family reading and inspiring at-risk children to develop a lifelong love of reading. I use The Reader Leader Forum to keep up-to-date with the latest wisdom from literacy experts across the nation, and I value the remarkable information and articles shared by my fellow forum members.”

Principal Pat Cavanaugh of Susick Elementary School keeps a lookout for creative ways to promote literacy in his Troy, Mich., school. “With the amount of information available on the internet and through social media, I find The Reader Leader Forum to be the best! The wealth of knowledge and expertise shared is indispensable for anyone who values literacy.”

Check it out here. If you like what you see – and you will – you’ll want to join. As long as you’re not a spammer, we’ll be happy to add you to our ranks. You’ll be a better educator for it.

Dr. Furman is a guest blogger for The Huffington Post and the author of Instructional Technology Tools: A Professional Development Plan and the upcoming title Motivating Reluctant Readers. He also was recently named one of NSBA Technology Leadership Network’s “20 to Watch” leaders. Email tips or questions to him at Rob@FurmanR.com, or text him directly at 412-999-0449. Follow him on Twitter @DrFurman.
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