Tag Archives: social media

Skinny Down Your Technology

The other day I was reviewing some draft system communications with @maryhingley and she commented that we should “skinny this down” to a cleaner more streamlined document.  While the comment regarding the document  we were reviewing was bang on,  it also made a connection for me to an earlier conversation that day about the constant evolution of technology tools. The context of the technology tools dialogue was around the challenge of building capacity in teaching when the tools evolve so quickly.

Fact:  We are all on a continuous  learning curve, new technology,  new apps, new potential to improve improve learning. There is certainly plenty of discussion around the notion of welcoming teachers with this new ‘technology enabled learning’ world – online, web 2.0, anytime, anywhere, digital, shared documents, authentic audience (etc.).

As we become more thoughtful about professional learning, determining the best point(s) of entry and consider learning continuums for staff, there is a greater realization that it is too easy to overwhelm.  People need safe and doable entry points with high success rates.  The fact is, people do not need 100’s of tools to start on their journey.

Challenge:  a call to experienced teachers using web 2.0 and social media tools – skinny down your tool list

Categorize the software, apps and web 2.0 tools you use into the following categories:

a) must have, use daily, addresses some important need

b) use regularly (a few times a week but not daily)

c) once in a while (a few times per month)

d) tried it, don’t use it regularly at all

Skinny down your list and share your suite of must have tools in this google doc.  Include your name, twitter ID, blog/web site and must have list.

Thanks in advance for sharing.

Related Resources:

I just can’t imagine teaching without ….

Cross posted to VoicEd.ca

~Mark

RCAC11 Presentation Notes: Facebook 1 year later

RCAC 2011 presentation notes: Facebook – one year later in WRDSB

A special thank you to my presentation guests:

Elaine MacKenzie
Dan Ballantyne
Adrienne Fiander
Shannon Smith

Related Links:

Ontario ConnectEd Leader Consortium
Log into Facebook to see OntCLC on Facebook
OCT Backgrounder
OCT Advisory
OCT Social Media video
Principals and Social Networking Report (2010)
Log into Facebook to see Dan Ballantyne’s Teacher Fan Page
RCAC

~Mark

Social Media Check

Thanks to a tweet from @trustsocmedia this week, I found out about the  The Doc Zone  feature titled Facebook Follies   . Although I was not able to view the CBC broadcast, the title did capture my interest. Today, I took the time watch the online version of  Facebook Follies .

In my view, the production was very well done.  The realities, cautions, benefits and highlights of using Facebook, and social media tools in general, are all explored through real situations. To me, this speaks to the reasons why students need to be educated through authentic experiences about the use of social media tools, digital citizenship and managing your online profile/digital footprint.

Your online actions live forever. I applaud educators who are making efforts to embrace social media tools, leverage their power , teach and model ethical and responsible use.

~Mark

Twitter at the Board Table

Tonight I had the wonderful opportunity to participate in a presentation to the WRDSB Trustees. The focus of the presentation was to provide in-servicing regarding the many diverse program opportunities and supports for secondary school students. Main goals included a demonstration of using social media tools in a classroom context and to showcase work from our Futures Forum Project.

@kimkeena provided a nice over view of many of our secondary program offerings, with a focus on eLearning and Futures Forum opportunities.

My role was to provide an explanation of Twitter in less than 5 minutes, then introduce a brief activity. Click here to view the slide deck of my Twitter explanation effort. Students were seated a various tables with our Trustees. After sharing their thoughts describing how learning in our Futures Forum classes was different from their experience in traditional classrooms, their thoughts were shared via Twitter using the hashtag #wrdsbtss.  I demonstrated a live Twitter feed using Twitterfall to capture and display tweets from the group.

Next, @kempscott demonstrated a Google Docs collaborative writing example. The evening closed with a student speaking about his experience in one of our alternative learning programs.

All in all, a great evening and wonderful opportunity to share our student learning experiences with our Trustees.

~ Mark

Stats: the survey says …

When I got home today the newest publication from the Ontario Teachers College was in the mailbox. I did a quick thumb through and the article that initially caught my eye was the ‘Survey says …’

The article reports on a recent members survey. I noted two points:

1. Usage of social media by teachers is increasing (not really a surprise). Details showed

  • 30.1% connect on Facebook for up to 2 hours per week
  • 32.4 % watch YouTube for a little under an hour/week
  • 50.3% tune into YouTube for as much as 2 hours/week
  • 35.8% use other forms of social media

2. In answer to the question ‘Should the college (OTC) make use of social media tools?’, I found the results very interesting.

  • MySpace 8%
  • LinkedIn 11%
  • Twitter 14%
  • YouTube 20%
  • Facebook 48%

Hmmm. Facebook wins by a landslide. While I am not surprised that members see value in using Facebook as a connecting tool, the margin of choice was surprising to me. I would have also anticipated the Twitter use would have been higher, especially given the extensive education based PLNs members are using effectively.

It is good to see the overall growth in the use of social media tools. Keep those PLN online connections alive. Invite a new person to participate today!

~ Mark

Facebook in K12 – Resources

Links: 2010-09-18  — Facebook in the Classroom


Synthesize the Concepts

Iowa city are now using the social media website inside the classroom

The Science Behind Feeling Good While Social Networking

Ideas for Social Media Guidelines

Social Media Guidelines – More Thoughts

Suggestions: Facebook guidelines for students, parents and schools

ST. CHARLES Community College Facebook Guidelines

Use Facebook to Support School Homework

Note: These resources have also been posted in my ‘Facebook in the Classroom’ user group on Facebook.

~ Mark

Social Media Map

As educators we are always on the look out for a new and clean way to explain concepts to other people. I came across this diagram a little while ago and thought it was an interesting way to explain the relationships of Social Media Tools.

The diagram, as you can see from the thumbnail thumbnail below, is laid out somewhat like a railway track system with colour coding used to represent categories of social media tools by function.

SocialMediaMap

The key in the lower left explains the function categories as:

  • syndication
  • collaboration
  • communication
  • interaction

Each function area shows a number of application types, which correspond to entries on the map. The original map, by Jay Ball,  is posted in an online slide show.  Click here to view the original B2B Social Media Map. I thought this was a fresh approach to explaining social media and the relationships between some of the applications. This is well worth a look in my view – another teaching trick in the back pocket.

~ Mark

Classroom: Student use of Twitter

 In Monday’s blog post, Twitter in Education, I outlined a few perspectives on using Twitter in the K12 Educational setting. Based on the reading I have done, there are 2 emerging trends.

1. There is little question about the value of Twitter as a tool that plays a key role in people developing their Professional Learning Networks (PLNs) and expanding their resources.

It is interesting to note a recent blog post on Mashable, reported that “Nielsen has compiled data from its NetRatings panel of 250,000 US Internet users and discovered that there are fewer young people on Twitter than on the Internet as a whole: one quarter of US Internet users are under 25, Nielsen says, but only 16% of Twitter users lie in that age range.”

Note: “While Nielsen is only measuring people who visit Twitter.com (not desktop and mobile clients), the analytics firm additionally claims that over 90% of TweetDeck users are over 25, making it unlikely that there are masses of uncounted young people on third-party Twitter apps.”

twitterteens

2. Despite the statistics that are currently available, there seems to be a slow but steady growing interest in using Twitter in the classroom as a communication tool for students within the curriculum delivery framework. I believe the key is finding a fit where Twitter makes a difference in the learning process and learning outcomes. In many respects, we are ‘early in the game’ of social media uses to deliver curriculum. Certainly, if developing collaboration and problem solving skills and PLNs is important for adults, then it stands to reason that this must be important for student learning too. Communication strategies and student engagement are often given as reasons for looking at Twitter use in the classroom. I believe the skillful teacher will find the right fit for Twitter as a curriculum support tool.

A Few Ideas for Twitter in the Classroom

Mashable: Twitter Guidebook

Songhai Concepts: Classroom Twitter

Tame the Web: Twitter in the classroom

Online Colleges.net 25 Twitter Projects for the College Classroom

~ Mark

Twitter in Education

Over the last year, I have followed a number of online discussion regarding social media in the K12 education systems. This summer, I have specifically followed conversions regarding the use of Twitter in the classroom. As a general observation, it seems the people are more likely to be decisive with their yes/no stance with regards to Twitter. At least from the reading I have done, there seems to be more acceptance of Twitter use at the college and university levels. 

In the relatively short time that social networking has burst onto the scene, the debate over pros and cons continues to be batted about. On the classroom side, typically the conversations cover: engage the students, embrace new technologies, teachers modeling 21st century or life long learning, disruptive technologies, fragmentation vs time on task, responsibility to teach student online saftey and  and curriculum benefits (or not). On the teacher/instructor side, social networking can provide many useful connections and sharing as people build their Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) and build their resource libraries. As one reflects on this list of topics, it would be easy to argue that there is no one right answer, especially on the classroom side. Thus, the debate will go on.

Perspectives

According to Howard Rheingold, who teachers at UC Berkeley’s School of Communication and Stanford University, bringing social media into classrooms is “challenging the 1000-yr-old paradigm that you have to learn from a master and the only way to do that is to go to lecture and take notes.” 

Rheingold points to five reasons for teaching students social media:

  1. Developing students’ literacy in our new online environment is as crucial as developing their abilities to read and write. Communication is moving toward social media. We can either help students thrive in this environment or leave them flailing.
  2. Many students bring their computers to class. Why not work with this trend instead of fighting or ignoring it?
  3. Social media is just that: social. Students who use Twitter for class are “learning collaborative skills that are particularly important today.”
  4. There is only so much class time. Rheingold makes mini-lectures on video that students comment on between classes, allowing more time to engage the issues through in-class discussion.
  5. Shy students who hold back in class often speak up online. “If you can extend the discussion to an online message board, you enable students who may not jump into the discussion,” he said, to “make a thoughtful contribution.”
Regarding Twitter, Angela Maiers states that “it is the most influential tool in my personal learning network.” Angela is passionate about Twitter for a number of reasons including:             

  • “Twitter allows me to share and glean resources I can use in the classroom
  • I meet and connect with other educators from around the world whom I would otherwise never be able to meet
  • It gives me 24/7 access to the most creative, influential, and innovative minds the world has to offer, allowing me a virtual whiteboard and brainstorm group” 

David R. Wetzel views Twitter as a web 2.0 tool used to improve teacher professional knowledge, collaboration, self reflection, and ability to remain current with the latest news and trends in education.

Advantages of Twitter in Education:

Collaborating with Other Teachers

Self Reflection about Teaching
Remaining Current in Latest Education Trends
Building Reliable Networks of Teachers
Professional Development and Continuing Education

 

My view:  Personally, I land on the side of embracing social technologies in the K12 system. Different technologies will fit the learning environment in different ways. Just like using other software packages, you need the right tool to support learning in the most effective way. In my mind, there are clear benefits to using social networking tools for  student learning, curriculum delivery and professional development. Twitter, for example,  has been a core component of the development of my PLN and daily learning.

 

Where do you stand?  Share a comment or send a tweet.

Related Reading:

Angela Maiers:  My Twitter Engagement Formula

Jessica Grosse: Article in the Huffington Post blog.

David R. Wetzel: Article posted on  Suite101.com .

 

~ Mark

Technology ‘Noise’

Given the times we live in, with technology exploding everywhere, new apps being pumped out daily, user generated content, web 2.0, mobile devices, anytime anywhere learning and business (and the list goes on…) an interesting point for pondering is Technology Saturation. Has technology taken over how we spend our time? Can we/do we balance our lives? Can we unplug when necessary or appropriate?  Focus versus time fragmentation. Does technology use negatively impact the way we spend personal time? family time?  Can you put limits around your technology use that work for you and your family?

From the last week:

I read Will Richardson’s blog post on technoslavery. It is a great article and I would recommend you read it.

Staff at work were talking about technology ‘noise’. They feel they are being bombarded with so much information they are being less effective, rather than more effective. We had an interesting conversation about dialing into the ‘right things’ for them – focusing on information that would be a difference to them in a professional or personal way. At the end of the day, a reduction of participation in mailing lists would be an easy place to reduce the ‘noise level’. There was agreement that being connected to the right people and information sources is important – the PLN concept.

Other discussions focused on social media. How do companies and educational institutions manage social media? Block access to effectively ban it during work hours? Some companies allow use for business purposes related directly to the company – the tweet your products viewpoint. Other leave social media open, and work toward appropriate use. That is a good thing. After all, social media does provide excellent networking and collaboration opportunities while adding to the technology noise level. How do you control your social media time in your non work time?

I think this all boils down to using technology effectively. Do the things that work for you, that help you to be more effective at whatever it is that you do (work, hobby etc.). None the less, it is an interesting point to consider. Lots to think about. I am sure this topic will keep bubbling up as we have more time the think and observe.

As for me, I am powering off for some sleep before I get back online first thing in the morning 🙂

~ Mark