The idea for my podcast is to help students find books to read by linking book suggestions to topics kids learn about in school. For example,if students enjoyed reading Edgar Allen Poe in English, what are some other scary books to read? If a student was interested in learning more about the Vietnam War, I could recommend some classic books about the Cold War and Vietnam. I hope that this brings to life both a love of learning and reading.
2.1 Creating – Candidates apply content pedagogy to create appropriate applications of processes and technologies to improve learning and performance outcomes. (p. 1)
2.2 Using – Candidates implement appropriate educational technologies and processes based on appropriate content pedagogy. (p. 141)
2.4 Managing – Candidates manage appropriate technological processes and resources to provide supportive learning communities, create flexible and diverse learning environments, and develop and demonstrate appropriate content pedagogy. (p. 175-193)
3.2 Using – Candidates make professionally sound decisions in selecting appropriate processes and resources to provide optimal conditions for learning (pp. 122, 169) based on principles, theories, and effective practices. (pp. 8-9, 168-169, 246)
3.6 Diversity of Learners – Candidates foster a learning community that empowers learners with diverse backgrounds, characteristics, and abilities.
The first class I took at Boise State was EdTech 501. As a requirement of the course, I started my first blog using WordPress. Over the next 2 years, I have added to it while taking various classes at Boise State. I have used this blog as a place to post both thoughts and completed projects. On this blog you will find discussions on social media policies for educators, reflections on real time digital professional development, a slideshow for establishing a positive digital footprint and more. Here I take the knowledge learned in various classes and put it into action.
Entering this class, I was not too sure what to expect. I had familiarity with social networking and thought I knew exactly how it could be used for education. It wasn’t long before I realized that I was only scratching the surface. This course made me re-evaluate just how useful social media can be. Even Twitter, which I have been an avid user for years has taken on a new level of significance. Ultimately, there are three areas that I can see being the most useful for me: webcasts for professional development, Twitter chats with other educators, and the art of curation.
Beyond the comfort of attending professional development from home, I found the options for the professional development available online to be superior to the options often made available through my local ISD. While the sessions were shorter and leaner, that did mean that they lacked in quality. I have found many 4-8 hour professional development sessions to be loaded with filler to stretch the time. I appreciated the focused approach that I witnessed online. The backchannels and being able to so easily communicate with other viewers and the presenters is unique and helpful. I found some of the other viewers were adding just as much useful information as the presenter. Finally,the ability to easily go back and re-watch made it easy to ensure that all the main points were absorbed.
Besides using webcasts to communicate with educators, I also enjoyed the Twitter chats. There was an excellent variety and the quality of feedback, ideas, and resources was impressive. I was able to meet a principal that shared with me many forms and procedures that she is using to implement social media in her school. This are the kinds of concrete and useful information and resources that I don’t often get form professional development sessions. Sometimes when you work in a school, the culture and tradition (routine?) becomes some embedded in everyone’s mindset that it becomes difficult to think “outside of the box”. Having the chance to speak with teachers working in similar areas with similar challenges from all across the country opened me up to some very new strategies and approaches.
My favorite strategy for improving my teaching and my awareness was curation. I constantly come across great articles on Twitter, interesting images or videos, blogs, etc. However, much of it gets lost because of a lack of organization. However, using a site like ScooptIt or Bundlr, I see how easy to is to organize all of the great content that I come across. From my home computer or my phone, it is quick and easy to now save, access, and filter through all of the content that comes at us everyday on social media. By curating ourselves or finding someone else that is curating a topic, we have a reference source that is unique to a very specific field of interest.
Through webcasts, Twitter chats, and curation, I know that I have new tools in my teaching arsenal. I look forward to not only employing them, but sharing them with my co-workers and administrators. Over, the last two years, my goal has been to increase the use of technology and social media in my own teaching. Now, administration has asked me to embark on a new challenge to get the staff to increase their use of social media and technology. I am more prepared for that challenge than I was in May.
As for a final evaluation of my blog. There was one particular post that I was not happy about (or at least the assignment I blogged about in that post). My PLE diagram was uninspired and rather boring. However, I really was happy with how my non-linguistic representation of PLN, connectivism, and communities of practice turned out. That was my most successful assignment. In all other areas, I believe I met the blog requirements. Each post answered the questions posed. Most posts were good, but not great. There was one low point and one high point. In the end, I see the blog being worth 64 of 75 possible points.
Check out some of the innovative ways that educators are using social media:
This week I was tasked with finding at least 10 examples of how educators are using social media. In a way, this assignment has been weeks in the making. Over the last few weeks, I have connected with educators on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and webcasts. While developing my personal learning network, I have ran into teachers with podcasts, blogs and Youtube Channels. Through those networks, I have been able to communicate with them directly, ask questions and learn so much about how powerful social media can be. Based on my discoveries, there seemed to be three purposes for which social media use continued to be mentioned. In each area, I have been inspired as to how I can share this potential with teachers that I work with.
1. Communication with the outside world
Never before has it been so easy to meet and interact with people from so far away. Why can’t we take a Spanish class and unite them with a class of Spanish speakers that are learning English? With Skype, Facebook, or Twitter they can practice their new language while learning about a new culture. Crisis in the world? A current events class can now find a connection in the Ukraine or Israel and ask them questions about how how they perceive the conflict and how it is impacting their life. Kids can now become international reporters from the safety of their classroom.
2. Communication within the class
We have all experienced class debates or discussions where everyone wants to participate, but not everyone is heard. Certain students can be pushy, others are shy and will always concede to others, it can get loud, some people are quiet and their points are missed. A twitter conversation can be just as instant and in the moment, but it allows an opportunity for everyone to participate. There is no battle over who gets the teachers attention, who spoke the loudest, and there is a written transcript in case anything is missed. Plus, the teacher can take the chat log, pull out key questions and comments to build future assignments or discussions off of. During a traditional discussion, I often find myself so focused on moderating and keeping a civil and respectful environment that I miss so many of the interesting things said. I think this is something any social studies or English class can adopt with immediate success.
The idea of students sharing their art projects really struck me as so obvious, I can’t believe I never thought of it. Kids love having their work recognized, getting positive feedback, and being inspired. Why stop at art though? Students in our school have made really powerful and informative presentations on subjects ranging from yoga to video game design to Taylor Swift to Puerto Rican culture and everything in between. These projects take days and often weeks to complete. Maybe one or two other students offer some feedback, the teacher grades it and then it disappears. If a student puts such effort into a project, shouldn’t it be shared with the whole community? My guess is there are kids that would be inspired or informed from looking at the projects. Also, if a student knew the project could be viewed by the entire school, they may be more motivated to make it of a high quality.
I am excited and flush with ideas for how to bring social media into my school. This was a rewarding project and really felt like somewhat of a culmination of the last few weeks of meeting so many wonderful people and finding so many educational tools.
Role/Professional Development : I have been asked to be a mentor for teachers looking to embrace the use of technology. For many of them, that choice may include using social media in the educational environment for the first time. I hope these guidelines help them understand how to do so without added liability to themselves or the school district. The administration (and many of the teachers) have are concerned over the dangers of involving social media with the district. They really want something that can clearly protect the staff and district. It is not the most fun list, but I think it covers the areas that I know district is most concerned about.
1. Review the district Acceptable Use Policy, school of code of conduct, and contract. Remember that teachers are employees of the district and as professionals must follow the rules and guidelines that administrators and elected board members have established. If there is a policy that seems to be hindering the educational process, there are proper channels by which teachers can advocate for change. Start by contacting a member of the Technology Committee, speaking with an administrator or attending a school board meeting.
2. Make sure to have a separate personal and professional account. If a teacher plans to use social media for personal interests, they shouldn’t use their work email or link back to any work related websites, etc. I would suggest making all personal accounts private.
3. Teachers should not be posting images of the students or fellow staff members without permission. For students less than 18 years old, that means a parent or guardian needs to have signed the district release form for the current school year. For staff and students 18 and older, they personally need to have signed the release form for the current school year.
4. If a teacher plans to establish a social media account for educational purposes, they should let the administration know. Inform the administration of the type of social media, the account name, and the educational purpose it will serve . This way, if there is an incident or an issue, the administration won’t be caught off guard by it. They will be more likely to support staff use if they are kept informed and are given an opportunity to pre-approve.
5. Treat it like a classroom. Teachers should not say anything that they would not say in the classroom to students. All the same standards and codes of conduct apply (that goes for the staff and students).
6. Keep a report of any inappropriate or odd activity involving the account, group or community. If a student posts to a school chat or group in a way that would be considered inappropriate for the classroom, then it should be addressed as it would in the classroom. If it an offense that would normally warrant an administrative meeting, community service or suspension then it should be reported to administration immediately.
7. All students that use the social media to engage with classmates and staff must be using their real name. Do not engage in anyone that is under an anonymous name. It allows them to potentially put the teacher or classmates in an uncomfortable or vulnerable position without any risk of consequence. People are also more likely to cross personal and social boundaries when they believe they are protected by anonymity.
8.Consider making the social network group or community private. If the only participants will be members of a specific class or grade, it might be a good idea to make it private. If making it private, invite a school administrator. Transparency and administrative involvement is essential.
9. Do not “follow” or “friend” students. Respect the privacy and personal lives of the students. If a teacher “follows” or “friends” a student, that teacher may see some questionable posts and be left with a tough moral dilemma of whether to contact parents or administration.
10. Before reposting/reblogging/retweeting/pinning something, make sure to look it over thoroughly. Just because the headline looks relevant, does not mean the article or site linked is appropriate. Just as a teacher would not show a movie the class that they or another teacher has not watched, a teacher should not disseminate any internet content that the teacher has not thoroughly reviewed.
Anderson, S. (2012). How to create social media guidelines for your school. Retrieved from:
NYC Department of Education. (2013). NYC Department of Education Social Media Guidelines. Retrieved July 19, 2014, from
San Diego Unified School District. (n.d.). Staff Social Media Guidelines. Retrieved July 20, 2014, from
In assembling my diagram, I have to say that I struggled to find inspiration. I wrote out all the social networks that I use. I brainstormed how and why I use them. Things were crossed out and rewritten. Lines were drawn and connections made. It was the usual process I go through when attempting some sort of creative representation or project. I felt comfortable with the material. It was a really rewarding week using Twitter for some inspirational chats and I am still amazed at how helpful (and free) the webcasts were. I contributed to some social networks that I had just been lurking on or had totally ignored. I felt inspired by everything, but how to design the diagram.
Since it seemed as if almost every network was had more than one purpose, the venn diagram made sense to me. I could show the dual purposes of the tools. In doing so, I found that I expected “inspiration” to be a major category (and it was), but that everything that was inspiring was also very functional in some other way. At the same time, no tool seemed strictly organizational. Everything that I used to organize myself, also helped in some other way. The diagram made me realize just how useful all of these tools actually are and how much I would lose if I did not participate in them.
Compared to my classmates, I have to say my design is unimpressive. There were some really cool looking designs that made me jealous. Every time someone would post one, I thought, “why didn’t I think of that?”. Ryan’s was so professional looking. That could be in a textbook. Tsisana had a really cool idea with puzzle pieces and Kim’s was really cute. Mine is not anywhere near as creative or eye-catching. It was really cool seeing all the great projects this week.
Wow. I had no idea so much wonderful professional development was available online and for free. Even better, it is live and talking during the presentation is encouraged. There was live interaction with the other visitors and the hosts. What a great experience. I will be telling my fellow teachers and administrators all about this in the fall. The four Webcasts that I attended were on: Autism (particularly behavior modification), inspiring teenagers, the human element of education and branding/marketing for schools. While they all were informative, the two I enjoyed the most were the webcasts on autism and branding. The behavioral specialist offered the most wonderful idea that I had never thought for teaching behavior: record it. Then the student can watch it as many times as they need so they can properly model the behavior. What a great idea, but simple idea. My favorite time from the branding seminar was instead of a school newsletter, teachers and/or administrators could record a video newsletter and put it on their website, FB, and Twitter. Again, so easy, but so powerful.
Besides webcasts, I also attended 4 different live chats on Twitter. Again, who knew that all evening, all week long (even in the summer) teachers from across the globe were gather together to give tips, motivate each other, and share resources. I attended a Twitter chat on professional development and had some great discussion on to motivate other teachers to buy into technology. We discussed being modeling ,sharing, and staying positive. We talked about how to get administration to understand that noisy classroom can be a very productive classroom. At #lrnchat we debated the role of emotional intelligence in teaching and whether the current school system was built to give students enough choice. Monday’s educational technology chat felt very familiar as the first question was: How do you use social media for professional development? Finally, I was too intrigued by the name, that I had to check out #tlap (teach like a pirate). I am still not sure I completely get the pirate thing, but it was a really great group of teachers that discussed motivation. The theme today was “first day of school”. One of my comments on how I approach the first day seemed to go over well and I received a lot of positive feedback. On the first day, “(I) Let them know that each of their success is important to me and that I have a plan to get there. (I) Ask them to join me in the journey”.
All in all, I loved the chats on Twitter. I will be returning to the #tlap as it was a fun group. There are many others I want to still investigate. I got a lot of followers, RTs, and favorites from the chats so it was fun to be part of the group.
Here is my evidence: Here is the proof of my webcast PD