Gaining Perspective with LinkedIn

Posted by Lisa Marie Gonzales on July 24, 2012

Charlie Rose interviews LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman and Jeff Weiner.

I’ll admit it. I’m a LinkedIn convert.

As of this summer, my time spent on LinkedIn has surpassed my use of Facebook. My colleagues would be proud but, until now, I haven’t come out of the closet to share my newfound interest.

Yes, I am one of those who joined LinkedIn years ago, as did my non-techie husband (he was member number 1,060 but the first 1,000 were Beta and according to him “didn’t really count”).  I never really saw the application in education until this summer when I spent a little time with a true LinkedIn believer who just happens to be one of the company’s vice presidents.

Before, when asked by colleagues in education, “Should I join LinkedIn?” my response was consistent: “It doesn’t hurt but it’s really designed for use in the non-education, business world.”

Shows what little I knew.

Robust World of Discussions

A robust world of discussions from education leaders all over the country exists in “groups” on LinkedIn, with the periodic international educator jumping in with a global perspective that often makes me sit back and think a little deeper.   Take, for example, the group established by the American Association of School Administrators.  The 6,000 members in its LinkedIn group have been exploring conversations about reform efforts like K-12 grouping structures, recommended professional reads for professional learning communities, and incentives for behavior programs. I spent this morning joining in the discussion about K-12 multi-age groupings, and within an hour had taken the conversation offline and now have research and three PowerPoint presentations from different leaders in the conversation on how they implemented multi-age classrooms, plus longitudinal data on its impact.

ASCD has another rich conversation network, thanks to its 3,700-member group.  Looking for a resource?  Perhaps 7-12th grade student-centered math projects?  This is a great place to ask for help as the breadth of members allows for a broader perspective and analysis of resources and best practices that we might not be as familiar with here in California.

One of my favorites is the Technology Integration in Education group, now close to 16,000 members strong. The discussions progress quickly, though you do have to sort through those initiated by vendors. I have a tech presentation I was asked to present to our countywide Library Camp next month. While I know what tech tools and web resources may be valuable for teachers and administrators, I struggled with the newly changing librarian perspective.  Two days after my query in this group, I had enough resources to double the length of my presentation.

Customized Suggestions

This morning I made the mistake of clicking on “Groups You Might Like.”  Thanks to its analytical tools, LinkedIn has figured out my preferences, dislikes, and what I most desire for dinner tonight. I selected a few more groups than I think I can handle monitoring on a regular basis, including the 5,300 member strong STEM Connections for K-12 Education (can I get them to consider adding the “A” to STEM for the arts?). Not surprising that 57 of my LinkedIn friends, known as “connections,” are already members of this group. Great minds think alike. Or maybe I have too many connections.  The International Society for Technology in Education was my second choice. It’s got close to 17,000 members!  I am confident I will have more to share with TICAL colleagues and other tech leaders after a little time in this group.

CUE, Inc. has a group on LinkedIn (thanks to Mike Lawrence who clearly realized the value of LinkedIn before I did). So does ACSA, but its moving much more slowly than others. We’ll see what we can do about that.

Jobs, too!

I guess it would be irresponsible for me not to also share that LinkedIn is great for networking to find jobs all over the country. The more information you put in your profile, including links to Slideshare presentations, articles published and volunteer work, the more views  your profile will have and the more connections you can make. And you never know when you might need a contact in El Paso, Texas.

I’ll stalk you, er, I mean “see” you on LinkedIn!

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Lisa Marie Gonzales

Dr. Lisa Marie Gonzales is Assistant Superintendent – Educational Services at Dublin Unified School District and president of the Association of California School Administrators.

4 thoughts on “Gaining Perspective with LinkedIn”

  1. I’m with you on this one, Lisa. I joined early on, as well, and I think “mostly for business people” was an accurate description in the early days. In fact, it seemed like most members were in technology or design-related fields. But the membership has certainly broadened and the features like groups and discussions add a lot to LinkedIn’s usefulness. I wrote on this theme in my own blog, Simkins Says.

  2. I’d wondered where you’d gone on Facebook!!! 😉

    I was also a fairly early adopter but, aside from amassing a large network of connections, have not even begun to take advantage of the multitude of resources available on LinkedIn. I’ll have to give it another go.

  3. Yep, here I am, another early adopter that checked it out briefly and made the same assumptions…well, time to take a fresh look at Linkedin. Thanks Lisa!

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