EdTech 543 – Final Reflection

To say that EdTech 543 was not what I expected is an understatement because I honestly didn’t know what to expect out of a social networking class. I feel like this class has given me a better understanding of social media as it fits in the classroom but more so, how it fits in my students’ lives. The module on digital footprints, in particular, helped me to think about my personal and professional footprint in a new way. Instead of seeking to minimize, I should really be seeking to enhance it and broadcast my successes. As a professional lesson, that module was eye-opening, but it had a real-life application for my classroom as well. Students need to consider early in their digital lives that all they do and say online can have a real impact, particularly with things like college and job applications.

I quite unexpectedly enjoyed and learned a lot from the live PD opportunities that I participated in. Usually, I’m one of those people on the “fringe” that looks more than participates; however, I really enjoyed participating. The Twitter chats that I attended were engaging and left me with a positive feeling about professional development through social networks. I hope to participate in more live online PD opportunities, be they webinars or Twitter chats, in the future.

I did not have much experience with blogging until I began this program at Boise State, but since then, I have truly enjoyed the format and sharing/connecting opportunities. In this class, I think I have done really well on my blog. Some posts are shorter than others, but I believe that my posts have been professional, insightful, and reflective. Overall, I am not sure where to deduct points and discuss areas of improvement, so I would give myself a 75 out of 75 on this assignment.

EdTech 542 – Final Reflection

Michelle Hughes’s PBL Website: https://sites.google.com/u.boisestate.edu/michellehughespbl/welcome

In the beginning, I was not sure what Project-Based Learning was. My understanding was very limited. I only knew what I had read on Pinterest or through various Edutopia articles. Now, I feel that I have working knowledge of PBL and its purpose. PBL achieves something greater in the classroom than most learning/teaching methods. It teaches skills that teachers otherwise struggle to teach, and it produces products that demonstrate student knowledge on a professional, purpose-driven scale.

Honestly, I had no idea what I would learn or do in this course. It was a part of my certificate, so I registered for it; however, I greatly enjoyed producing my project website and planning the final product. In particular, I enjoyed creating something that I can use in my current classroom. I have the had the pleasure of creating something practical in only a few of my classes, so for that reason, I feel like I did learn something quite valuable to my professional development.

EdTech 542 – Week 9 Reflection

The most important people to include in the debrief after the viewing party are my students. I want to know what they learned and how to make the project better as well how we can expand the project’s purpose and audience. While I’d also like to know the thoughts, ideas, and opinions of my fellow teachers and administers, my students will have the most insight on the process, product, and purpose.

The debrief process will probably be informal. At that point, I’m sure students would be tired of paperwork, forms, and rubrics, so a simple discussion between teacher and students will suffice. I’ve never had a group of students that was not willing to critique something, so I do not fear that there will be silence or a lack of input.

I think the debrief will be just a one-time thing unless I awake in the middle of the night with more questions. Devoting the entire day following the viewing party to debriefing and discussing the possibilities of the project is plenty of time. However, one thing that I could do following the debrief is to have each student write a reflective discussion post or film a reflective vlog entry. Overall though, I do not think extending the process is incredibly beneficial. At that point, we would have worked for several weeks and reflected as a class on how to succeed during each section of the project.

EdTech 542 – Week 8 Reflection

I’m a firm believer that if you want something done right, do it yourself. When it comes to my teaching style, I tend to go overboard on making things clear, accessible, and example-driven. Assuming the role of a facilitator – one that stands back and allows my students to make decisions, may be a little difficult for me because I never want a student to feel defeated or incapable. I will have to change my mindset to become a successful facilitator, and I will have to allow my students to fail a bit more. A successful facilitator empowers students to make their own decisions and to solve problems. He or she works with students to use original and creative thought as the basis of their solutions rather than pre-made or teacher-made suggestions.

If I am able to change my mindset and adapt my teaching methods to empower my students to be more independent, I think students will learn the core competencies of PBL (critical thinking, problem-solving, etc.) and the skills needed to succeed beyond the classroom. Independence is definitely something that I want my students to learn more of, and I feel that I do not always do the best job at requiring it. Therefore, utilizing PBL more in my classroom has the potential to make the skill more of a reality.  


EdTech 543 – Social Media Case Studies

Curated Pinterest Board: http://pin.it/33IFWwg

Social media is definitely here to stay; however, the opposition to keeping it out of the classroom is too. While looking for educational projects that incorporated social media, my mind was buzzing with ideas about Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and blogging. My search results though were not quite as prolific. I struggled to find the kind of projects that I was looking for and was shocked by how little I actually found. It always seemed that when I wasn’t looking for an activity that involved blogging, posting, or tweeting that they were everywhere, yet when I was actually searching, they were nowhere to be found.

Despite my searching struggles, I found ten educational assignments that incorporate social media in some pretty excellent ways. In particular, I really liked the idea of students creating and maintaining a wiki as an ongoing research project. Research papers can be time-consuming and dull; however, creating something like a wiki and maintaining its accuracy is a fun, technology twist to a traditionally paper-based assignment. Additionally, I had never thought of using Snapchat in my classroom, but I really like the idea of creating stories and vlogs to demonstrate language learning (i.e. vocabulary). I have seen projects where students take pictures of their vocabulary words being used in the “real world” but Snapchat seemed to be a more modern way to implement that project. Or, using Snapchat to record create vlogs (mini character diary entries) would be an easy way to get students to be creative. Snapchat videos are so short, so students would be more likely to assume their character’s perspective.

Instagram, Pinterest, and Skype have more familiar in-class usages to me. I do really like the idea of creating a Pinterest board related to a topic. It would be a very engaging preview activity. Visuals always work! I realized when I was creating my own Pinterest board for this assignment that students can create their own version of our textbook by creating a board for each major topic or novel that we discuss in class. What an excellent activity and way for students to demonstrate knowledge!

After my research about Skype activities, I realize how much more I should be using it in my classroom. It seems like there are already communities of classrooms utilizing Skype to connect and communicate. In particular, I would like to look into the author Skype with my class. We read several YA novels, and I think it would delight my students to be able to interview and report on what the author has to say about their novels.

EdTech 543 – Social Media Policies

Social Media Policy for “Our School”

“Our School” recognizes that social media/networks are important parts of our student’s, parent’s, and teacher’s daily lives. Since these platforms are permanent parts of our society, we choose to see them as collaborative tools with educational potential. As such, we have created the following guidelines to ensure the safety and proper use of these tools for our students, faculty, and school.

Students will abide by the following policies when participating in social media-based activities in school, and we recommend that they continue to do so outside of school.

  1. Students will abide by the school’s code of conduct online and will treat all people with the honor, dignity, and respect customary to our educational institution.
  2. Students will T.H.I.N.K. before they post. The Internet is a public place. Anything you post should be true, helpful, inspiring, necessary, and kind.
  3. Students will appropriately disagree with fellow users. Giving constructive criticism is a positive thing; however, be sure to watch your language and response style. Always remember that there is a person on the other side of that screen.
  4. Students will be smart online and protect themselves from people they do not know personally. Never give out personal information about yourself, your friends, or your school to strangers.
  5. Students will do their own work! The Internet has an amazing wealth of knowledge, and it can be easy to do the wrong thing. Remember that plagiarism is a serious offense inside our school walls and outside of them. Do what is right, not what is easy!
  6. Students will abide by copyright law. Copying and pasting images online can get you in trouble. Always use images in the Public Domain or Creative Commons. Be sure to provide attribution for any online material that did not originate in your head, including images.
  7. Students will properly represent themselves. Never assume someone else’s identity. Never use someone else’s login information to complete a task, even one so simple as sending an e-mail.
  8. Students will follow proper writing conventions online. It may be a chat room or a discussion board, but you are still in school. Unless given permission otherwise by your teacher, students should follow proper grammatical and writing conventions in any online writing forum.
  9. Students will demonstrate maturity online. If you come across material that is inappropriate or disrespectful, you should report it immediately to a teacher.
  10. LAST, BUT NOT LEAST…Students will enjoy the educational benefits of using social media in the classroom and will work with his or her teacher to create a safe, engaging environment.

Above are my 10 strategies for implementing social media activities and projects in the classroom. To gather feedback from teachers, parents, and students on the policy, I think presenting these policies to the faculty for approval and discussion first would be best so that teachers and administrators can familiarize themselves with the policy. Then, I think presenting and discussing these policies at PTF (or “Back to School”) Night with the parents would allow for plenty of healthy feedback in manageable sessions.


Social Media/Network Policy. (n.d.). from http://www.clsd.k12.pa.us/Staff.cfm?subpage=624703

EdTech 542 – Week 7 Reflection

English naturally fits with some other disciplines and clashes with others. As a person that is not naturally gifted with numbers, I don’t know that I would ever be able to competently create an interdisciplinary project between middle school math and English; however, while I was watching the video about designing an interdisciplinary project, I had the idea of how my students could extend our current project by including history, geography, civics, etc.

Since we use two texts that demonstrate social and judicial injustices, we could take our documentaries “on the road.” Creating a road trip map of either current events that demonstrate similar injustices and planning a trip across the country to extend our mission of promoting inclusion and kindness. Additionally, I had a thought of using novels from other parts of the country (or world) to map our “road trip” instead. Just like we use The Outsiders and To Kill a Mockingbird, we can use novels like Port Chicago 50; Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry; and several others to study and guide our trip.

EdTech 543 – PLE Diagram Reflection

After creating my PLE Diagram, I realized how easy it would be for me to go from lurker to participant in so many groups. I just have to take that step of contributing questions, comments, and resources. I follow so many educators through social media, and I learn a great deal from their posts and reflections. I have always thought that perhaps I should do something similar to contribute; however, I have never taken that step, despite enjoying creating and collaborating. Therefore, from my PLE Diagram, I learned that I NEED to take that step and contribute to my online communities.

Based on my classmates’ PLE Diagrams, I think mine follows suit. Our content seems similar; all of us focusing on the connection, contribution, and collaboration aspects. While I focused on just three categories, I really like the idea of a fourth. Whereas my diagram combines the ideas of collection and communication, the others separate them and focus on the intricacies of each. In this regard, I think several of the other diagrams created a clearer picture of PLEs themselves, and my diagram expressed ideas and connections as they related to my professional development needs.

In particular, I liked the connect 4 theme that Kathleen created. Her diagram plus description really created an excellent visual aid to explain PLEs and the tools available. I also really liked the creative connection represented in Lindsay and Ariana’s diagrams. Lindsay’s use of the Great Lakes as her context for how PLEs work together was visually appealing and relayed the strength that each idea has when they work together. Ariana’s diagram was similarly creative (and really, really fun), but I liked her description of the turtles as strong individuals but an even stronger team. It really drives home the idea of a PLEs purpose and how it can benefit an educator. Kristin’s process-oriented diagram did something that I was trying to do, but she did it better and more clearly. It shows how each idea (collection, curation, communication, etc.) works together and builds off each other. While I numbered my steps, she created a flowing diagram without an end, further relaying that PLEs are never-ending sources of growth and development. Allison’s four-leaf clover was very imaginative, yet clear because she added additional words to describe the impact of each idea and tool. These keywords also really help viewers to understand the purpose of each idea and how to conduct research, creation, communication, etc. in each. Finally, Kim’s baseball field analogy created an appealing, process-oriented diagram that expressed the strength of each “base” working together. Again, I think she does an amazing job of demonstrating the process idea that I was trying to portray and the success (a homerun) that comes with all the “bases” working together.