Reflections of Edtech 543 Social Network Learning

social media reflection
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Integrating social network learning into my course curriculum has long been one of my teaching goals. We live in a digitally connected world and our students have grown up using Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and other social networking sites. My question was always how to effectively harness the power of these sites in a way that was meaningful and beneficial educationally to my students.

Edtech 543 Social Network Learning allowed me to explore various social networking sites and applications and evaluate their usefulness in my classroom. I also evaluated digital citizenship and how interacting on social media affects both my professional and personal image. I now have a greater understanding of how communities of practice, connectivism, and personal learning networks act as a foundation for social networking in a relevant, positive way. Through my blog post on COPs, Connectivism, and PLNs, I gained the understanding that learning is no longer a solitary endeavor. Learning has become a social practice and communication and collaboration are the keystones of 21st century education.

Another component of this course involved participating in Twitter chats and live webinars. Because I engage in both of these activities fairly regularly, I felt comfortable “chatting” with my Twitter PLN. If nothing else, this module allowed me to reconnected with my professional colleagues on Twitter that I had lost touch with over the past few months. In addition, we were asked to form a PLN with two other members of the course and work on various projects together. Completing this assignment helped to expand my contacts and build my social network. In addition, creating a visual depiction of my PLN helped me to analyze how I connect with other people in my learning community.

My favorite assignment in this course required our PLN class group to develop a checklist of criteria to assess the quality of an education-related curated topic. The checklist was then used to individually curate a topic of our choice. Exploring various curation tools such as Storify, ScoopIt, and Pearltrees was invaluable. Each of these tools has advantages and disadvantages. Ultimately I chose to use ScoopIt as my curation tool and student driven learning as my topic for this assignment. ScoopIt provided a simple way to curate content and include a short description of the value of the source. Not only did I learn about curating content, I expanded my understanding of student driven learning and began to seriously consider how I can intentionally integrate student curation into my classroom curriculum.

Finding educational projects that successfully use social media and then curating that content also proved highly beneficial. While finding 10-15 projects that successfully used social media in the science classroom proved to be a bit difficult, I did find two projects that I am hoping to use in my science classroom this year. #Organellewars and ‘Blogging about diseases’ were fantastic.  I am hoping to get my entire science department involved in #organellewars this year when we teach about the cell. We were also asked to develop our own social media policy for our learning environment. Exploring other social media policies and then creating one for my classroom encouraged me to reflect on how and why I will use social media this year.

Our final assignment involved formulating a social networked mini-curricular unit with our course PLN. My group chose to build a Greek Mythology unit using Edmodo and Weebly as our main platforms. Students would also be required to use Twitter, Edublogs, Padlet, Diigo, and YouTube to complete the project. While my group worked extremely well together, I’m not sure that this is a unit I could reasonably use in the classroom. Introducing and requiring students to use so many different social networking sites for one unit does not seem practical. It was, however, interesting to apply the social networking strategies we had used throughout this course.

Overall, I found Edtech 543 to be a valuable course that allowed me to delve into the various uses, benefits, and guidelines of using social networking in my learning environment. In evaluating my blog post and participation and proposing a grade, I would give myself a 75/75. I feel that I met all of the criteria required for the course and wrote thoughtful, informative posts.

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Social Media in the Science Classroom

social-media-science
Image Credit – genomicenterprise.com

Below is my curated content on social media in the science classroom.  While I found some fantastic examples of social media being used effectively, I was surprised at how difficult it was to find actual projects.  Most sites simply listed ideas of the ways social media could be used but did not give specific examples of projects.  I extended my search beyond science and looked at a few STEM projects. The projects I did find involved using Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and Blogging sites to build a science lesson or unit.

Pearltrees – Social Media in the Science Classroom

#Organellewars and ‘Blogging about diseases’ were my two favorite projects.  I am hoping to get my entire science department involved in #organellewars this year when we teach about the cell. Upon a recent check of Twitter #organellewars, I noticed the Tweets have continued all through this past spring. The blogging about diseases inspired me to think about how I can use a class blog as an instrumental part of my science curriculum. I believe writing should be a central part of all academics and blogging is a great tool for critical thinking and reflection. Both Skype and Facebook would be interesting ways to open up the classroom to other parts of the country and world. Unless I found a really fantastic example, I do not believe I would use Snapchat in my classroom. The few projects I located using Snapchat offered little educational merit. This project opened my eyes to some great opportunities to bring social media into the science curriculum.

I would love to hear from other educators in the comments below about how they use social media in their science lessons.

Social Media Policy

social_media_classroom
http://performancepyramid.miamioh.edu/node/1014

Social Media has become the major source of collaboration among our youth today. I believe it is a valuable tool to leverage in the classroom as well.  Therefore, it becomes necessary for educators to ensure that students are safe and appropriate when engaging in social media activities. When considering creating a social media policy for my classroom, I first examined my school’s technology acceptable use policy (TAUP).  What I found was very limited (see below), so I created a document I could give to my students on the first day of school to ensure that any use of social media pertaining to the classroom was appropriate and acceptable. Prior to engaging on any social media projects with my class, I would discuss the purpose of the project and get feedback from other teachers, staff, and community members. At our annual Back to School Night I would discuss with parents how and why social media was going to be used. Parents, school staff, and community members would all be invited to discuss and view our social media activities. I believe students would be on board with any social media projects as according to the infographic, “The Use of Social Media in School”, 96% of students with Internet access report using social networking technologies.

According to my schools’s parent/teacher handbook, “Access to any web log (blog), forum, or “social network” website of any kind, such as Facebook, MySpace, Xanga, etc. is prohibited unless it is an academic social network such as Edmodo and access is approved by the teacher and purposed for academic pursuits.” Due to the brevity of our TAUP in regards to social media, I created to following document:

16-C-Student-Handbook-Jr-Sr-HighPrintcopy-3.pdf. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://20z7iw3yxu5f404v5d42hkse13rp.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/16-C-Student-Handbook-Jr-Sr-HighPrintcopy-3.pdf
Davis, V. (2014, February 27). A Guidebook for Social Media in the Classroom. Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/guidebook-social-media-in-classroom-vicki-davis
Dunn, J. (2014, September 21). An editable social media policy for schools that works. Retrieved from http://dailygenius.com/editable-social-media-policy-for-schools/
The Use of Social Media in School. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.bestmastersineducation.com/social-media/
Using Social Media in the Classroom. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/using-social-media-classroom

A Reflection of my Personal Learning Environment #PLE

#PLE

While creating a visual depiction of my Personal Learning Environment (PLE), I gave a lot of thought to how I connect with other people in my learning community. The co workers at the school where I teach connect mainly through email (Microsoft Outlook). Most of our correspondence is related to the day to day operations of the school and not so much on my growth as an educator. Most of my professional development, I have completed independently of my work environment. I have attended a number of EdCamps where I have met and connected with many wonderful educators in my field.  We have shared ideas and continued our learning journey together.  I have also connected with many innovative and inspiring educators through Twitter. I would say this is my primary PLN connection.

I decided to use clouds to illustrate my PLE. Since so much of what we do today is “in the cloud”, I thought this was appropriate.  I divided my clouds into the following areas: curate, connect, and share as these are the most active areas of my PLE. Curating content is something I have always enjoyed doing. A Content Curator is defined as “someone who continually finds, groups, organizes and shares the best and most relevant content on a specific issue online” (Gaasterland, 2011). In the past I have relied on YouTube, Diigo, and RSS feeds. Most recently I have been using ScoopIt to curate content. As mentioned above, Twitter is my go-to social media networking tool.  I also connect professionally on Facebook and Google+. In order to share with others in my field, I rely on Google Drive, WordPress, and VoiceThread.

I enjoyed comparing my Personal Learning Environment with those of my colleagues in EdTech 543. Specifically I looked at the PLEs of Josh Haines, Kristin Castello, Kathleen Johnson, Michelle Hughes, Ariana Pyburn and Lindsay Hoyt. I noticed that we all centered our drawings around 3 or 4 main areas. Creating, collecting, communicating or collaborating, and sharing were the common threads in all of our PLEs. I especially liked how Kristin used a continuous circle for her PLE.  I think this really speaks to how our PLEs are an intertwined community that flows together. Michelle centered her image around a Bitmoji with the word “genius” in order to demonstrate how we all benefit from one another’s collective knowledge and ideas. I also thought Kathleen’s use of the Connect 4 board was a fun way to illustrate her PLE. Ariana’s and Josh’s PLE diagrams focused on the four C’s but included a few tools I didn’t think of such as Digg. The fun nature of Ariana’s four Ninja Mutant Turtles shows how much fun we can have with our PLEs.  Even though the content of this reflection is on the content of my classmates’ PLEs, I have to give notice to Lindsay’s fantastic illustration.  Many of the tools we chose were the same, however Lindsay illustrated her PLE in such a creative way! She focused on her Michigan roots to demonstrate the connections in her PLE through a beautiful drawing of the Great Lakes. She named her Great Lakes Create, Communicate, Connect, Reflect, and Curate using the analogy of flowing water to show how her PLE is connected and flows together.

A few tools I did not think to include in my PLE diagram were Blogger, Google Hangouts, Moodle, and Flickr. I have tried Blogger in the past as a blogging platform but do not use it consistently. I have also used Flickr for images and Moodle for all of my grad school work. After seeing Google Hangouts on a couple of the PLEs, I wished I had added it to mine.  I have used it numerous times in the past couple of years to “meet” and collaborate with others in the M.E.T. program at Boise State and really enjoy its features. In summary, even though each of our PLE drawings are unique, I think they show how connected through social networking we all are. Below is a Google Slides presentation of my classmates’ PLE diagrams.

Footprints in the Sand – My Lesson In Digital Reputation

FootprintInSand

On the Internet a digital footprint is the word used to describe the trail, traces or “footprints” that people leave online. This is information transmitted online, such as forum registration, e-mails and attachments, uploading videos or digital images and any other form of transmission of information — all of which leaves traces of personal information about yourself available to others online. Vangie Beal

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about my digital footprint and what it says about me. First and foremost I am a Christian. Unashamed and saved by His grace, however I don’t always include that in my bios. Anyone looking at my regular Facebook account can clearly see my beliefs, but you would have to dig a little deeper into my Twitter to see my personal religious views. Twitter is the foundation for my PLN and serves a different purpose than Facebook. As far as Instagram goes, I use it primarily for my small business and as such, it is a reflection of my business world. Other social media I engage in (more infrequently) are Snapchat and Google+. Then I think about all of the accounts that I have for the MET program at BSU. I probably have dozens of apps on my computer/devices from the course requirements over the past year. All of those apps, including my blog, reflect my learning and goals as an educator.  All this to say, this activity is leaving an indelible mark on my digital footprint.

When I Googled my name, this is what I found on the first page:

DigitalFootprintGoogle

Only the first entry on this page is actually linked to me!  The rest of the entries are other ‘Joanna Liebermans’ that, as far as I know, I have no relation to.  On the strip of pictures, the fourth picture is the profile picture I use for grad school and professional purpose. As I progressed to the next Google page, I found the first two items linked to two social media sites I occasionally use, Flipagram and Pinterest. There is then a listing for a fundraising link for a Joanna Lieberman involved with Project100 (not me). It is not until the fourth and fifth listings on the second page that my learning logs for the MET program are listed!  These are followed by a few more listing unrelated to me.

I realize that a digital footprint is much more than what can be found by Googling a name.  As Vangie Beal said in the above quote, our digital footprints, “describe the trail, traces or “footprints” that people leave online”. As a teacher and business owner, I must be mindful and careful about the footprint I am leaving behind. Privacy settings, tags, and comments must be monitored closely to be sure my integrity is held intact. One thing I am sure to teach this digital generation of students is, unlike a footprint in the sand, a digital footprint does not wash away with the ocean’s tide.

What is Digital Footprint? Webopedia Definition. (n.d.). Retrieved June 14, 2017, from http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/D/digital_footprint.html

#Twitter #Hashtags for #PD

Screen Shot 2017-06-14 at 8.53.09 AMI can’t rave enough about the benefit of following #Twitter feeds for “just-in-time” professional development (PD)!  In the few years that I have been on Twitter, I have made new friends from around the world, built a supportive & informative PLN, and added multiple ideas to my “teacher’s toolbox”.  To say Twitter has revolutionized my teaching practice and philosophy may be an understatement!

Here are a few Twitter hashtags that I regularly follow:

  • #BFC530 – BFC stands for ‘The Breakfast Club’ and we chat every morning at 5:30amEST!! Each morning, a focus question is posted and the attendees of the chat spend a few minutes responding.  The questions are always encouraging and thought-provoking; the educators, always positive and supportive.  Today’s question was: “What PD books are on your agenda this summer?” Now I have a list of about 20 more books I want to read this summer!! We usually wrap up by 5:45am.  I can’t think of a better way to start my day!
  • #TeachMindful – This is another joy booster. The idea behind #TeachMindful is ‘a Twitter Chat about creating mindful learning environments for students. Bringing calm and focus to the classroom#’ Teaching is all about the kids and #TeachMindful reminds me where my focus should be each day.
  • #edtechchat – This is a great feed for all things EdTech. The collaborators share resources, links, and ideas for integrating EdTech into your curriculum. Just this morning this link was shared: Screen Shot 2017-06-14 at 8.06.44 AM

Now my mind is buzzing with how to add this to our 6th grade world geography curriculum! The podcasts and guides for adding digital curriculum to the classroom have inspired me to continue pursuing excellence in my edtech journey.

  • #SummerLearning – This is a hashtag that I just recently started to follow. Because I am enrolled in grad school this summer and am working on curriculum development for my school, I thought it would be great to see what Twitter has to say about Summer Learning. Just this morning, I found this link to a post about grammar. Even though I currently teach 6th grade science and world geography, the English teacher in me is always in-tune to spelling and grammar errors. The link includes a description of five of the top grammar feeds to follow on Twitter. Fun!
  • #EdChat – This hashtag helps keep me up-to-date in the world of education. Timely news stories and recent educational reform are often topics of discussion. Today this handy chart explaining differentiation (always a hot topic at faculty meetings:) was posted: Screen Shot 2017-06-14 at 8.39.42 AM

As you can hopefully see from this post, Twitter is my preferred method of PD.  Rather than sit in an hour long faculty meeting discussing topics of little interest (sorry admin:~), I can spend an hour (or more:) following hashtags and come away with new perspectives and inspiration. One word of warning: Twitter can quickly become OVERWHELMING! I find myself jumping from link to link and before I know it, hours have passed by. I try to limit my time on Twitter but I find so many great ideas that oft times I have 20+ tabs open and my brain is whirling in all different directions.  Does anyone have a # for that?!?!

Creative Expression: Social Network Learning – CoPs, Connectivism, and PLNs

https://app.api.edu.buncee.com/player/e8abe5dff3944d34982a5a7da891187f?render_slide_panel=0&loop=0

When creating a visual expression of the three concepts in this module: Communities of Practice, Connectivism, and Personal Learning Networks, I chose to begin with the idea of gears. Alone a gear (or cog) does not serve much purpose, but when linked with other gears and a common purpose, these individual gears become part of a valuable network. That is how it is with educators. Alone we are isolated and less productive, but when we become part of a learning community, we can achieve so much more.

Communities of Practice are all about togetherness, which is why I chose images of hands reaching in together and small groups of people collaborating.  According to Lave and Wenger (2014), in Communities of Practice, learning involves a deepening process of participation. Learning is done in groups and the focus is on lifelong learning rather than a short-term project goal. In CoPs, learners collaborate, communicate, and create through social networks over extended periods of time. People in Communities of Practice share a common interest or passion.

Connectivism is a learning theory developed by Dr. George Siemens and Stephen Downes. It “seeks to explain complex learning in a rapidly changing social digital world”(Education2020). According to Dr. Siemens, Connectivism is a social connected process of learning. The visual interpretation of a network of rapidly firing neurons that are connecting through external social spaces is the image I hoped to portray through my next slide. Learning is a process of connecting information through social sources such as blogs and social media. MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) have redefined learning in the 21st century and build on the theory of Connectivism.

Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) have, for many educators, redefined professional development. Rather than meeting with a predetermined (by administrators) team of colleagues to discuss a predetermined (by administrators) topic, PLNs use social media and technology to collect, communicate, collaborate, and create with like-minded individuals. PLNs can meet any time and any place.  Each PLN is unique and each member is a potential source of information. A PLN can be thought of a “collective knowledge”. Facebook and Twitter, as depicted on my PLN slide, have become a central part of PLNs.

My final slide is a visual image bring these three concepts together.  Over time, learning has evolved from an individual practice with a fixed beginning and end, to a community of learners committed to lifelong education. It is no longer separated from other activities. Professional development is no longer fixed to one place and time with one “instructor” or leader commanding all of the attention. As individuals we have a lot to offer, but as a community, we gain so much more.

Communities of Practice (Lave and Wenger). (2014, July 16). Retrieved from https://www.learning-theories.com/communities-of-practice-lave-and-wenger.html
Education-2020 – Connectivism. (n.d.). Retrieved June 12, 2017, from http://education-2020.wikispaces.com/Connectivism
Graffin, M. (2015, November 14). Step 1: What is a PLN? Retrieved from https://teacherchallenge.edublogs.org/pln-challenge-1-what-the-heck-is-a-pln/
Whitby, T. (2013, November 18). How Do I Get a PLN? Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/how-do-i-get-a-pln-tom-whitby