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. 

EdTech 542 – Week 5 “Effective Assessments”

First and foremost, I think my chosen assessments are effective because they work together to build student knowledge about the central issue we are discussing. A number of my formative assessments relate to stereotypes because I think students can relate on a personal level and are, therefore, encouraged to participate, share their own voices and experiences, as well as listen to others. Also, a few of my formative assessments ask students to create stereotypes (Anatomy of a Greaser ThingLink) which might inspire some reflective thought on how easy it is to judge others. By contrasting the ThingLink assignment with a creative memoir writing activity, students get to move from judger to judged, which I hope will also inspire some reflective and relatable moments that students can contribute to the documentary interviews.

Additionally, I have faith that students can competently and confidently complete each assignment because the format for each is something they have done before. ThingLinks, memoirs, Padlet discussions, video presentations are all assignments that if they have a background in, taking the pressure off the project itself and placing it on the issue. Finally, since I work with middle schoolers, I know that I need to create a hub (Tackk webpage) for all of the assignments that students can go back to every day for information and reassurance, making assignments and expectations public.

As far as including student input in evaluation, I have not had much success with that in the past. Mostly, students think a grading scale should be yes (100) or no (I proposed 0; they proposed “redo”). I am open to new ideas on the matter and am interested to see others’ projects and how they are incorporating it.


EdTech 543 – Content Curation

For my content curation project, I focused on the “why” and “how” of implementing Breakout EDU in the classroom.

  1. Seek Specific, Current Content – Breakout EDU is a relatively new trend in education, so the majority of my sources were from 2015-2017 range. While there are a lot of articles about Breakout, I tried to focus specifically on what teachers need to know to implement this trend in their classrooms for the upcoming school year.
  2. Select Content with an Evaluative Eye – This curation topic is a little bit difficult to demonstrate, but while I was selecting content, I tried to cull based on information most important to implementing Breakout.
  3. Think Critically – To incorporate critical thinking, I tried to include multiple media forms and some questions in my insight to inspire viewers to interact with the curated content and seek more.
  4. Sort Content in a Meaningful Way – To sort my content, I decided on two key ideas – why and how – with my first focus on explaining why teachers should use Breakout EDU in their classrooms and then how they can do so.
  5. Arrange Collection in an Organized Manner – Based on my two key ideas, I arranged my content practically. Specifically for the “how” content, I arranged the basic information first, followed by supplies, and then creation.
  6. Editorialize to Ensure Sources are Credible – I included my insights to introduce viewers to the content and give them a gist of what they content included, its relevance, and reliability.
  7. Create a Meaningful Story Out of Your Content – Scoop.it was frustrating at first, then I found the editing features that allowed me to customize and upload images, titles, insights, and more. All of these things contributed to creating my “story.”
  8. Share Content in an Accessible Way – My content will be shared on my WordPress Learning Log, our 543 Facebook page, and my Twitter account.
  9. Invite Viewers to Join the Conversation – In my insights, I included some comments directed towards viewers to try and create a conversation or inspire a reaction to my curated list.

Overall, I think my curated content expresses exactly what I wanted it to – the “why” and “how” of implementing Breakout EDU. However, I think demonstrating an evaluative eye during my selection process might not be as strong as it should. I fear that some content is repetitive.


EdTech 542 – Week 4 Reflection

Is it still PBL without an authentic audience?

When I think about project-based learning, one of the first things that come to my mind is an authentic audience, context, or issue. This audience, context, or issue acts as a foundation to PBL and is, therefore, a crucial aspect of it. Without one, it’s not PBL; it’s just an extended project.

The element of authenticity allows students to see the purpose and relevance of a project and find greater meaning in completing it. The authentic audience/context is what differentiates PBL from other types of learning and assignments. Having an authentic audience or context is also what makes PBL successful and engaging in the classroom. If students can see an assignment as worthwhile, they are more likely to invest themselves into learning and creating. What else could we want as teachers? 

EdTech 504 Final Reflection

EdTech 504 has strengthened my understanding of educational theory outside of the traditional three: behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism. While I am not sure that it has changed my style of teaching or professional practice, I can say with certainty that I have new knowledge of today’s educational climate. Evaluating the emerging theories opened my mind to how theory should and is changing with the needs of students. This understanding is probably the most significant thing that I learned. Connectivism, in general, expanded my understanding of technology usage in the classroom. It is still something that requires a great deal of brainstorming in terms of implementation; however, as our current technology-centered society continues, I believe that Connectivism will rise and gain more traction in the education world.

Connectivism was a real “a-ha” moment for me, and funnily enough, learning about it in this class has given me a “leg-up” in some of my other summer classes. My idea of a network and the definition of an expert totally changed after researching Connectivism. It really put into perspective how our students’ minds are working now and how, with guidance and scaffolding, we (teachers) can prepare them for their future. While I believe that the idea of Connectivism will arise more and more in education, I also believe that it will take some trial-and-error for teachers to fully embrace it and see it for its potential rather than its complete upheaval of the old system.

As mentioned, I am taking other classes this summer with BSU and learning about Connectivism in this first 7-weeks has helped me understand its discussion in my two 10-week classes. I think that the knowledge and research developed in this class has given me a “leg-up” as well as helped me to find better resources for my other classes. I am still unsure how Connectivism will play out in my current professional setting. My school is limited in its technology; however, I can definitely see how it would have positively impacted my online classes if I were still teaching in that format.

Upon reflection of my assignments and activities in this class and the AECT standards, I found that the standards most demonstrated in this class are 1 and 5. Particularly with my annotated bibliography assignment and the research assignment, AECT standard 5, as it relates to conducting research, using research methodologies, and applying those methodologies to a line of inquiry. The discussions we participated in seem to fit AECT standard 1, as we had to ethically and effectively collaborate with people using our Moodle learning environment. Also, defining Educational Technology itself demonstrated mastery of both AECT standards 1 and 5, as we utilized research and background knowledge to express understanding of the concept.

EdTech 543 – Digital Footprints

digitalfootprintThere’s nothing like Googling your name. When I Googled, I realized that I share a name with an author of some interesting romance and paranormal fiction. My actual Facebook profile was on the first page as well, but it was not for several pages later that I found my school work and other links related to me. Part of me is relieved that so little about me is available upon first Google; however, for the purposes of this assignment, I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing.

I’m a very private person. On any accounts that I do have online, I spend a lot of time customizing the privacy settings, making sure that anything on the Internet is representative of who I am. I have not always been the best at it, but as someone who lives with an HR man, I know the impact that my online presence can have on my reputation and first impression.

My opinion on digital footprints changes from day-to-day. I’m neither pleased nor displeased with my “Google-bility.” However, I am proud of all the products that I’ve created in the MET program and would not mind for them to be more public than they are. Unless closely monitored, I think digital footprints are like quicksand – you’re drowning before you know the danger you’ve walked into. Professionally, I think digital footprints can help as much as they hurt, and I wish more people would consider the impact they are having on their reputation before they post.

My own digital footprint is very small. Like I said, I’m very protective of my online image because I worked online for so long and that was the only way people across the country could get a feel for who I was as a person. I do think, given my interest in technology, that I need to do a better job of building that image, perhaps through LinkedIn and other professional sites. I have also wanted to create a classroom website for quite a while but have not had the time. Perhaps that professional website would increase my digital footprint in a positive (and comfortable) way.