Updated Feat-cheers – Microsoft Windows 10- How Microsoft used Social Media

We have lived in a wonderful time… A time where our best friend, the Internet, came to existence with a meme and an innuendo followed by kittens and our sleep schedules!  Continue reading Updated Feat-cheers – Microsoft Windows 10- How Microsoft used Social Media

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Better Student Blogging

blogI shared some of my initial difficulties with getting middle schoolers to blog in authentic, meaningful ways, not just to complete the required 2 posts and 2 comments, which was typically the way of my assignments, but to get them to think deeply about what they were reading and to give their peers constructive responses.

I believe that there’s value and learning in blogging that doesn’t happen as readily or immediately with other kinds of writing.  I really liked Kevin’s post about “Social Constructionist” nature of blogs.  In it, he writes, “blogging allows students to construct various social “artifacts” (textual, pictorial, video, etc.) that help them learn and influence culture, both in- and outside of the classroom.  In addition, the social nature of blogging is constructivist in approach, meaning that, as students interact, they are influenced by their interactions, with and without the teacher.” I agree, but I wasn’t convinced that I was setting up my blogs in the best way to help students construct thought through their reading and writing of blog posts.

I then came across this blog post by Mark Sample from The Humanities and Technology Camp, which bills itself as a non-conference (open-source, but in the real world!). In it, he shares what he’s had students do with blogs, methods that he’s tired of but that sound pretty interesting to me, where he varies the structure, roles and/or rhythms of his class blogs.  His goal, one that resonates with me, is to “have students blog and make it worth their while and ours too.”

He then opens up the discussion to others and includes the collaborative notes.  All very helpful.  I’m saving Sample’s post for my next classroom blog.

Marissa Dietrich

Image by Kristina B, CC License

Dogfooding? Yes.

One of the ed blogs I read, “Cult of PedagogyScreen Shot 2015-06-11 at 12.55.23 AM,” by Jennifer Gonzalez, regularly touches on straightforward ways to incorporate tech to modify and redefine the tasks our students do.  In a recent blog, she imported a term from software development lingo to apply to teaching practice and preparation:  dogfooding.  Do you dogfood? Regularly?

According to the article, dogfooding “refers to the act of using your own product as a consumer in order to work out its glitches, the metaphorical equivalent of ‘eating your own dog food.'” it goes on to say that when developers create a new app or software, they load it on to their own device to test its functionality as a user would.

She recommends that teachers incorporate dogfooding into their instructional design, that actually doing what we ask our students to do, from start to finish, is enlightening.  I would think this is especially true for tech that we ask them to use.

I would often complete the work I asked my students to do, but when I got too busy, I often skipped this step.  What about other teachers?  Do you try to follow your directions through your students’ eyes?  Complete projects that you ask them to do?  What do you think?

You can read the full post here.

Marissa Dietrich

Photo by Lou Ann Snawder, CC License here.

Looking through a “Hole-in-the-Wall”

The blog entitled “Looking through a ‘Hole-in-the-Wall'” by Dashe & Thomson is about an experiment on social learning is conducted.

The experiment goes like this: In an urban slum, there is a computer that anyone can access. How will the computer be used? The results surprised everyone. Children came in groups to increase their knowledge in academic areas they didn’t have access to in their schools.

The blogger for this post showed that even children who live in not so great conditions can learn more by using a computer rather than memorizing information from their schools.

The blogger for this post asked ” If you are hiring a candidate for a position at your company, and you are down to two people equally qualified, do you want to hire the person who has memorized information?  Or, do you want to hire someone who can find up-to-date, current information quickly and easily?”

-Kimberly Wondoloski

Debunking 4 Myths of Social Learning

I found a blog with the title “Debunking 4 Myths of Social Learning” by Blackboard. It outlines some misconceptions about what Social Learning is and what it isn’t.

Myth #1: Social Learning is new. Social Learning has been around for hundreds of years. Think back to Aristotle; he encouraged people to go out and create their own theories and build on what he taught. Social learning is basically when people learn together in groups.

Myth #2: Social Learning is the same as Social Media. Social Media can help social learning by connecting people together, but it also causes distractions when not used correctly.

Myth #3: Social Learning is just for fun. 

“When allowed to let go of the rules that accompany formal term papers, the changes were significant. They (the students) were more expressive.”

Myth #4: Social Learning doesn’t have broad appeal. 

“Modern day social learning is a reflection of the educational environment today’s students have helped create for themselves (and future students) to perform at their best.”

-Kimberly Wondoloski

Ways to Use Twitter in the Classroom

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For a few years now I have been contemplating using Twitter in the classroom.  I have been unsure about it, because of the negativity that goes along with a social media tool like Twitter.  However, I decided that the pluses outweighs the downside, so this upcoming school year I plan to create a teacher Twitter separate from my personal twitter.

I was researching Twitter in the classroom and found an article with great uses for Twitter.

Tweet about upcoming due dates or assignments.

One of the simplest ways that teachers can use Twitter in the classroom involves setting up a feed dedicated exclusively to due dates, tests or quizzes.

Provide the class with a running news feed.

Subscribe to different mainstream and independent news feeds with different biases as a way to compare and contrast how different perspectives interpret current events and issues.

Live tweet field trips.

Sick kids or paranoid parents may like the idea of following along with class field trips on Twitter, and smart phone-enabled teachers can keep them engaged with pictures and descriptions of the lessons learned.

Post sample questions.

Save paper by using Twitter to post up sample questions for upcoming exams for students to research and consider without ever having to put down their computers.

The article talks about 50 examples how to use twitter in the classroom, above are four that I personally liked the best. The main reason I want to have a classroom twitter is to remind kids of tests and deadlines.  There are apps dedicated to this purpose, but students are already on Twitter looking at it all the time.  I also want to promote field trips I take with my classes and my FBLA.  We have a small school and the more kids I can reach and get interested the better.

After I start with sending out information I would like to use Twitter in the class to interact with the students and have them interact with each other for educational purposes.  This is a platform where they spend their time, why not reach them where they are at.

To read the full article please view 50 Ways to Use Twitter in the Classroom.

-Michelle Carpenter

The Upside of Selfies

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I read an article where parents and children talked about the positive impacts of social media.  One mother spoke about her daughters Instagram.

Eileen Masio, a mom of two in New York, monitors her daughter Amelia’s Instagram account 24/7. Yes, most of the posts are “selfies,” but it’s the comments that make her think there is also a positive to this nonstop engagement.

“When they post selfies, all the comments I usually see are ‘You’re beautiful,’ ‘You’re so pretty,’ ‘Oh my God, gorgeous,'” said Masio.

The nonprofit child advocacy group Common Sense Media conducted a study that came back with some positive results.

One in five teens said social media makes them feel more confident.

In the survey of more than 1,000 13- to 17-year-olds about how they view their digital lives, 28% said social networking made them feel more outgoing.

I am around teenagers all day long and I see the positives and negatives of social media.  There are those kids who post pictures on Instagram and get a ton of likes and positive comments.  I know a child who connected with other kids her age over social media from a neighboring school and has built great friendships because of it.  Now she spends time with those kids in person.

I have also had kids on twitter during my class, because they cannot miss the latest twitter fight going on between their classmates.  I have seen kids subtweet each other and say negative comments.

I think just like everything, there is a good side and a bad side to social media.  In the end I believe it is up the parents to teach their children how to use social media appropriately and how to respond when other children are not.

To read the full article please view The Upside of Selfies.

-Michelle Carpenter