Friday, May 17, 2019

Fishbowl - A New Professional Network for Teachers

This week Fishbowl joined Free Technology for Teachers as a new advertiser on the site.

Fishbowl is a professional networking service for professionals in many fields including education. Based on that description you might think it's just another LinkedIn or Twitter, but you'd be wrong. Fishbowl features dedicated communities for discussions about the issues that matter most to them. Fishbowl makes you verify your identity, but lets you post questions and responses anonymously. That enables you to ask sensitive questions or respond to sensitive questions without jeopardizing your privacy.

Here's a good example of discussions that can happen in Fishbowl. In the Fishbowl teachers community there is currently a discussion about taking "mental health days." That's a question that you might not want to discuss on Twitter or LinkedIn because everyone can see your real name and where you teach. On Fishbowl you can post in that discussion and have your screen name appear as simply "teacher in Maine."

Fishbowl is designed to be used on your phone or tablet. Fishbowl is available for iPhone, iPad, and Android. After you install the app you will have to verify your identity by using either a professional email address (not Gmail, Yahoo, etc) or your LinkedIn profile. Once you've verified your identity it's time to add a bit of information about where you work. That doesn't mean naming the school district it simply means adding the type of school, the state/province it's in, and what you do there. Once you've done that you can start joining discussion groups and participate in conversations. When you post you can choose to use your name or simply use "Works at School in State X" or "Subject X High School Teacher."

I like that Fishbowl provides a place to ask questions and engage in discussions that you might not otherwise feel comfortable discussing on places like Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. I think this could be a great for new teachers who have a lot of questions and not a great support system around them. But just like any other network, you still want to be responsible with the information that you share and be mindful of how written words aren't always read the way you intended for them to sound. The other thing that I like about Fishbowl is that as of right now, posting on the network doesn't have the "popularity contest" aspect that can pop-up in things like #edchat on Twitter.

You can find the Fishbowl apps right here and start joining discussions today.