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 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 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 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 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.

EdTech 543 – Twitter PD

This week, I started following a number of new Twitter PD chats, including: #edchat, #7thchat, #2ndaryELA, #PBL, #edtools, #litchat, #edtechchat, and #21stedchat. While they all offer something new, I most excited about #7thchat, #2ndaryELA, and #edtechchat. These three chats pull at my heart and struggle of being a 7th grade English teacher.

#7thchat in particular is proving to be an awesome resource. I have already found a resource that I have saved to my school Drive – a collection of grammar fails. My students love these grammar mistakes, and I love that they know enough to spot and correct them. #2ndaryELA seems to be full of awesome blogs, tips, and resources for English teachers. I found a really helpful blog about mentor writing which is something that I have struggled with in the past because I have my own process of writing that I fear may complicate things for my students. I’m excited to learn more about the idea and adjust my practices to fit my students’ needs. #edtechchat seems to be an amazing resource in itself. It is full of some interesting edtech opportunities and research. In particular, I noticed a lot of posts about augmented reality which is something that I would love to learn more about, and I know my students would love to experience in the classroom.Screen Shot 2017-06-12 at 9.58.07 AM

Professional development can be a double-edged sword. It is awesome, but it can get tedious. Using Twitter for PD is an incredible idea because teachers can customize their PD to suit their needs, their school’s needs, and their students’ needs. It also lets teachers from varying subjects and experience levels come together and use each other as resources. Developing with my fellow teachers has always seemed to work best, in my opinion. Like-minds can not only build expertise but confidence, relationships, and open-mindedness.

EdTech 543 – Creative Expression Reflection

Connectivism, Communities of Practice (CoPs), and Personal Learning Networks have a lot in common. To guide my image search, I made a keyword list for each. Funnily enough, I seemed to keep repeating myself: network, community, learn, social. Each word applies to each concept, but the meaning/emphasis changes.

The Connectivist principles that I wanted to relay in my 3 images were the ideas of network connectivity, learner collaboration, and lifelong learning. George Siemens explains that the Internet and Web 2.0 tools have created a complex environment that has changed the way knowledge grows and learning happens (Siemens, 2007). This complex environment makes the three ideas represented in the images I chose crucial elements of learning. The wealth of knowledge online makes it impossible for one person to know everything about a subject, so networks of experts collaborate to learn together. As Siemens stated in his article “Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age,” Connectivism recognizes “the tectonic shifts in society where learning is no longer an internal, individualistic activity” (2005).

Communities of Practice (CoPs) and Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) have several similarities; however, the key aspect that I wanted to highlight in my image selection was that CoPs are more formal and PLNs are more informal. Both communities are of like-minded people that connect as a network dedicated to learning, but each approaches learning through different means. CoPs utilize “social participation” (Lave & Wenger, 2016) in which members are active participants; whereas, PLNs offer more choice and allow participants to contribute or simply exist on the periphery (Staff, 2016). That being said, I tried to choose images that had a more personal feel for PLNs and a more formal, business feel for CoPs.

Finally, I chose an image that portrayed connection and collaboration through technology and pulled key images from the three concepts to express how they all came together under a similar objective. The sharing devices image portrays the idea that technology allows people to share and learn from each other in new and exciting ways. Simply by tapping our phones together, we can connect, share, and learn.  


Communities of Practice (Lave and Wenger). (2016). from https://www.learning-theories.com/communities-of-practice-lave-and-wenger.html

Siemens, G. (2005). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, 2(1), 3-10. from http://itdl.org/journal/jan_05/article01.htm

Siemens, G. (2007). The changing nature of knowledge. [Video File]. from https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=YMcTHndpzYg

Staff, T. (2016). What Is A Personal Learning Network? from http://www.teachthought.com/pedagogy/what-is-a-personal-learning-network/

EdTech 543 – Experience and Expectations


I’m a naturally private person, so social media has always been a bit foreign to me. I know how to use it, but I do not utilize in my personal life like one might expect a 28-year-old Millennial to do. (I do love the hashtag though. It’s probably a side effect of being a middle school teacher.) Because I took a blogging course last summer that focuses on Twitter as a micro-blogging platform, my initial reactions to this course were far better than last summer. I just could not get in the mindset that Twitter was for anything but catty celebrities and showy people; however, after a summer of tweeting and a few e-mails with my professor, my opinion changed. Twitter, and other social media, are amazing communities for educators. There are so many opportunities for professional development, etc on these platforms; and even though my own school has not gotten on the “bandwagon” yet, I have hopes that my education and experience will bring some exciting, new opportunities to my students and co-workers.

As stated, my school is not too keen on using social media in the classroom. We continue to fight the good fight of no cell phones in class (#whyareyoustaringatyourcrotch #butmymomtextedme). However, I have been tasked this year with bringing our school into the age of social media with a school Instagram and Twitter. While these are not for instructional use, I think any progress is to be commended, and I have hopes that one day my students will have more freedom to use Twitter, Instagram, etc. for educational purposes.

My expectations and hopes for this course are to simply learn more about using social media with the objective of competently explaining the benefits to my administration. That said, I’d like to learn about the ways schools can protect its students while embracing social media as well as some practical ways to implement social media learning in my 7th grade English classroom.