Edtech Industry
Network Summit
Edtech Advocacy &
Policy Summit

Building Networks: Social Media for Curricular and Pedagogical Development

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Explore and create : Creation lab

Nate Green  
We will build professional learning networks on social media that deliver curricular and pedagogical development. No matter your discipline, there's a network that will help you connect your curriculum to current events, civic challenges and career opportunities. The benefits of this PD transfer to students immediately and indefinitely.

Audience: Curriculum/district specialists, Library media specialists, Professional developers
Skill level: Intermediate
Attendee devices: Devices required
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Android, iOS, Windows
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Topic: Innovative learning environments
Grade level: 6-12
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Pursue professional interests by creating and actively participating in local and global learning networks.
  • Stay current with research that supports improved student learning outcomes, including findings from the learning sciences.
  • Use collaborative tools to expand students' authentic, real-world learning experiences by engaging virtually with experts, teams and students, locally and globally.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective


How do we convince math teachers to head to YouTube and subscribe to Numberphile, Mathologer, and 3Blue1Brown, which will help them build dynamic and practical lessons? How do we get our history teachers to open their podcast app and subscribe to Backstory, Revolutions, and The Memory Palace in order to enhance their curricular knowledge? And how do we get English teachers to get on Twitter and augment their novels with content from Brain Pickings, Arts & Letters Daily, and Guardian Books? All of these accounts provide engaging and applicable content that will improve the teaching and learning in our schools.

This style of professional learning through social media drastically improves teachers' depth of knowledge about their subject matter, and it also enhances their ability to connect course content to contemporary issues and career opportunities. Social media provides an open door into the work that professionals do on a day-to-day basis across all of the various industries that we hope to expose students to in our schools. For example, if you want to know what a marine biologist does on a day-to-day basis subscribe to Sea&Me on YouTube. How about an astrophysicist? Listen to the StarTalk podcast with Neil deGrasse Tyson. In addition to professional opportunities, social media also provides current event developments in teachers' subject matter and industries. Talented professionals in all industries keep an eye on current developments in the field. Teachers should do the same, and expose their students to this style of learning as well. Never in the history of education has it been so easy to 1) witness the day-to-day of so many professionals in so many careers and 2) access such a deep well of content in an area of interest that updates you in real-time.


Adding professional learning into our social media feeds will have exponentially compounding benefits. First, as teachers become comfortable learning in these networks, they will also start to contribute to and collaborate in these networks, which will improve the teaching and learning of all involved in that network. In another positive feedback loop, as teachers engage their media literacy and digital citizenship skills and reap the benefits of this learning, they will pass along that learning to their students, which will bring it into their classrooms and their lives.

I plan to teach this and show examples in a way that allows others to build networks for their courses and disciplines. Finally, I will set up a digital repository where participants can share their networks with other like-minded educators.


Intro (5 minutes) - "The Why" of connected learning via personalized learning networks
Examples (10 minutes) - I have built several networks for classes I have taught (e.g. US History) and for pedagogical outcomes I have sought (e.g. gamification)
Q&A (5 minutes)

The rest of the time--we will be building networks with like-minded educators (this is a "creation lab" after all!). Groups will be formed based on curricular, pedagogical, or professional interests.

The one key resource that will get folks started is my website (

Supporting research

Will Richardson's "Personalized Learning Networks" (book)
Jean Twenge's "iGen" (book)
danah boyd's "It's Complicated" (book)
Sherry Turkle's "Reclaiming Conversation" (book)

Mimi Ito's Connected Learning Lab (organization)
Tristan Harris's Center for Humane Technology (organization)
Common Sense Media (organization)

Amy Orben's research on screen time (active vs. passive use) - and
Tyler Cowen -

More [+]


Nate Green, Sidwell Friends School

Nate serves as the Academic Technology Coordinator at Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C. He speaks at schools and conferences to promote passion-based learning on social media, understanding that digital media provides the greatest opportunity to develop curious and insightful lifelong learners. Nate bridges the gap between classroom teaching and digital learning in an effort to grow literate and responsive digital citizens.

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