Staffrm: Connect, Learn, Share.

I’ve just come across Staffrm after clicking through on an article on twitter. From a first impression, it looks like a web 2.0 social network for teachers. According to the welcome page, Staffrm is:

 the new professional network for educators passionate about their work. A vibrant and friendly community where you can connect with the teachers who inspire you around the things that you’re interested in.

Or, a collective space for teachers to share and discuss ideas about their practice. A virtual staff room, minus some vowels. Staffrm’s FAQ describes the site as a “social enterprise” created by teacher and social-entrepreneur Peps Mccrea. I decided to take a look.

The website is very sleek and intuitive to use; signing up is straightforward. You are asked to use your own name, provide a profile picture and to follow a few other users that share similar interests. After that, you are presented with a set of articles set out as tiles, with witty titles like, “I can’t get no SATisfaction“. Posting to the site is also extremely simple. Users are presented with a space for an image, a title and a limit of 500 words to get their idea across. In this way, it seems quite similar to Medium, in that it is an attempt to bridge the gap between micro-blogging (twitter) and longer forms of writing.

The site is still in its infancy, having only been launched last year. Presumably, the site’s success rests on its ability to attract enough teachers to regularly write interesting content for others to comment on and share.

From a quick Google search, reaction seems to be largely positive, although there is some confusion over the purpose of such a site when other blogging services already fill this gap. A site like Staffrm could simplify things by putting posts and discussions all in once place, rather than being across a range of sites. It could also open up blogging to more teachers thanks to its stripped down and easy-to-use interface. On the other hand, there are many reasons why having teachers spread across multiple platforms and sites is a very good thing. Staffrm could be useful for teachers who don’t have the time or inclination to maintain their own blogs. For those who enjoy having their own site it can serve as a communal area for sharing parsed down versions of original posts.

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