The term “eduhero” has become popular over the past few years, but what exactly does it mean? I would define it as someone who is a “voice” in education. It could be a teacher who tweets pictures of their classroom, a prominent education author, a Pinterest teacher star, or a Teachers-Pay-Teachers whiz. The common thread between all eduheros is that they use social media to promote what they do in the classroom. The Twitter hashtag #eduhero is another way to tag teachers who are doing great things.
What all these “heroes” have in common is that their teaching is visible and shared. We can follow them on Twitter or Facebook to see the amazing things they are doing. The individuals come from all ranges of the educational spectrum; there are classroom eduheroes, technology eduheroes, and principal eduheroes. And why do we care about these individuals? There are definitely some reasons to follow and learn from these professionals.
Here are some of the main positive aspects that these great educators bring to our lives and our classrooms:
- They generate ideas: These people are typically idea generators. They will share some of the great practices they are attempting in the classroom. Most of these teachers and leaders are willing to “fail forward” and be the first to try something new. By following them, we can learn about innovative practices and new technologies.
- They push us to learn more: Because of the nature of social media, we often get a small snippet of information from a post shared by an eduhero. This can stimulate us to learn more about the topic or click on the blog post to find out more.
- They try out ideas and technology first: Because they will “fail forward,” it is nice to have feedback about how things work before we try them or purchase them ourselves. As you find the niche of individuals who you trust, you will have an inside track on ideas to try next—and what to avoid.
- They challenge our beliefs: With the current state of social media, this doesn’t happen often (think of political debates on Facebook), but I would argue that we need to listen to opposing viewpoints now more than ever. Some eduheroes will post about their classroom rules while another will post about how they gave up having classroom rules. These conversations help us to stimulate thinking and challenge us to know where we stand on important issues.
There are many great reasons to follow and read about these wonderful educators, but I would contend that there are additional things to consider while doing so. Not all of it is positive all the time:
- They might make us feel inadequate: As we have probably all experienced, spending lots of time on social media can have a negative impact on us. As this articles shares, there can be an impact to our self-esteem. When we see the perfect Pinterest classroom, we can get discouraged by our own hot mess of a classroom that never quite gets put together. The more we see great innovation, amazing flexible seating, or the cute open house note, the more we can feel inadequate. We have to remember the motives of some of these eduheroes and why they are posting. Some are sharing just to share as a professional, but many of them have a TPT business or a blog that motivates them to do this. That isn’t a bad thing at all (for the reasons stated above), but we do have to keep in mind that it isn’t for everyone.
- Their motives may not align with ours: Another thing to keep in mind is that some of these educators have interests other than just improving the profession. Some have sponsored sites or products that they support. Again, that isn’t a bad thing in and of itself, but what they value may not align with what you value—and that is okay. Just be sure to be a cautious consumer of all these situations.
If you read this and think, “How can I find some eduheroes to follow?” I would point you to Twitter edchats to start with. Check out this Google Calendar of all the available Twitter chats and when they are scheduled for. The moderators of these chats are typically very plugged in and connect educators, but there will be others in the chat that you may want to connect with.
As you can see, the positives outweigh the negatives by quite a bit. I would encourage all educators to search Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest to find some great ideas from some great educators. It is well worth the time and can really accelerate professional learning. Who knows, maybe you can become an #eduhero yourself someday!
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