I had to start this reflection by literally reflecting on my first blog post in this class. For example, at the beginning of the class, when I was asked what my experience was in terms of using social media for my own professional development, I stated, “ I never really thought about social media as a professional development tool.”
I literally laughed out loud at myself for that response. Oh, sure, it was an honest response to the question at the time (just a little over 3 months ago), but my laughter came from the learner I have become reflecting on the learner that I once was: a naïve participant in social media for very little purpose but to connect with others on a superficial, although sometimes personal level.
Here is how I would answer this question today:
My experience with using social media for my own professional development has evolved through the use of social media; in fact, it has been magnified by utilizing Twitter, webinars, Google +, among other sites. I continually make connections with educators from all over the country, and I learn new things everyday. These connections have become my authentic professional development; in other words, the trainings I have been required to take part in for the past 16 years pale in comparison to what I learn from my peers through social media. I can’t begin to keep up with all the new things I learn! I’m excited that my PLN is growing, and when I am finished with my Masters, and I can focus even more on my professional growth, I am going to start seriously blogging.
I really learned so much in this class; I am extremely happy that I chose this course and I have to say that I am proud of myself for choosing it because I knew that so much of the course content was going to be new to me, and I also knew it would be a huge challenge. But that is what this degree, at least for me, is all about: challenging myself to be a better teacher and a better collaborator. I have to say that with every semester, that goal is being achieved.
I think that I should receive 75/75 for my blog. My responses were thorough and I completed my blogs on time. I also included all the necessary evidence and met the necessary criteria.
Social Media in the Classroom
Social media is more than just sharing information; it is the way in which Millennials learn, and its usage is growing; therefore, teachers are finding ways in which to incorporate social media into their lesson plans. However, there are a lot of cautionary measures that need to be in place to protect both teachers and students. This means that districts need to come up with social media guidelines to add to their Acceptable Use Policies in order to protect all the stakeholders.
1. Form a team of innovators whose job it would be to research other school districts and come up with a list of best practices.
2. Create a survey to involve the stakeholders in the process; in fact, surveying the school board, parents, students, staff, administrators and community members is the best way to initially involve the stakeholders and to get the process started.
3. If the pool of stakeholders is too large, use a sampling method to collect data.
4. Invite stakeholders, perhaps two individuals from each group, to analyze the data. Consider inviting an individual from another school district (who has gone through the implementation of social media guidelines) to guide the process.
5. Narrow down the guidelines and clarify.
6. Train teachers, administrators, and students.
7. Pilot the guidelines in a select school.
8. Survey stakeholders.
9. Make necessary changes to the document.
10. Implement and revisit at a set time. Revise as necessary.
Clark County School District
Clark County is the 5th largest school district in the country; however, as of this year, there is no social media policy. Currently, using social media like Facebook and Twitter is discouraged, but the district has embraced Edmodo and teachers are allowed to integrate smartphone usage in the classroom. The new superintendent has a team of innovators working on a social media policy, but I do not expect any changes to take effect in the 2013-2014 school year. Therefore, I researched the other large school districts, including New York and Los Angeles to come up with 10 basic guidelines to use as a starting point. The policies that I researched are 8-9 pages long, and I think Clark County’s policy will have to be as inclusive as New York’s and Los Angeles’ policies in order to ensure safe and appropriate usage of professional social media.
Social Media Guidelines to Consider
1. When staff is using professional social media for their classroom, they need to maintain separate professional and personal email accounts. The professional social media presence should utilize a professional email address and it needs to be completely separate from any personal social media.
2. Staff is not permitted to communicate with students utilizing personal social media.
3. School based professional social media sites and non-school based professional social media sites must have a reasonable connection to the common core standards being addressed.
4. Teachers must notify parents as to what social media sites will be utilized in class and for what purposes. This should be done at the beginning of the school year.
5. The social media sites and the purpose for using the sites must be approved by an administrator.
6. Professional social media communication must follow all regulations set forth by the existing AUP.
7. Students cannot post any personal information regarding their identity.
8. Students may not post pictures of other students.
9. Administrators will monitor staff usage of professional social media sites.
10. Any employee who engages in inappropriate behavior on any social media site is subject to discipline.
11. Staff should have no expectation of privacy regarding their usage of district property, network and or Internet access to files, including email.
How to create social media guidelines for your school. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/social-media-guidelines-resource-guide
Michelle King , Senior Deputy Superintendent. (2012). Los angeles unified school district policy bulletin (Bull-5688.0). Retrieved from Social Media Policy website: http://www.lausd.net/lausd/offices/Office_of_Communications/BUL-5688.0_SOCIAL_MEDIA_POLICY.pdf
Price, G. (n.d.). New york city dept. of education releases social media guidelines for teachers. Retrieved from http://www.infodocket.com/2012/05/01/new-york-city-dept-of-education-releases-social-media-guidelines-for-teachers/
Key Characteristics of My Curation
I set out researching for case studies that involved teachers or students using social media in the English classroom, specifically high school, and I was glad to find an array of resources. For the most part, I discovered that there is a huge push all across the country to allow teachers and students the access they need to utilize social media tools. I was envious that I was no longer in a district that was at least somewhat open to this; now, my students can’t even access their own email, at least on the school computers. However, my students have found a way around this by using their smartphones!
One of the projects/case studies that I read about involving social media included a high school senior, Paige Woodard, whose mission/project is to collaborate with administrators and teachers “who encourage their students to use social media in the classroom because they believe technology and social media is a tool necessary for a beneficial education in preparation for the 21st century workforce.” This activist has even presented her results and future goals at Stanford University! Currently, Paige is working on a DVD project that not only promotes social media in the classroom, but also teaches students what NOT to do when using social media. She hopes to sell her DVD to school districts around the country.
How I will Use it in My Classroom
Paige’s work is an exemplary example of how educational projects using social media can teach and promote 21st century learning strategies. I definitely would like to share her project with my honors kids because they choose an honors project that can incorporate altruism, personal development or job shadowing, and Paige’s project seems to be a combination of both an altruistic endeavor and personal development. The purpose of the honors project is to challenge students to be resourceful, and Paige’s involvement is a perfect example of how social networking can aid in this. My students have to find a mentor, and they are all on Twitter; by demonstrating her maturity and professionalism my students will see that they can access resources from arenas that they may not have even considered.
Another case study focused on how college professors are using social media in their classrooms; in fact, 41% of college professors use social media as a teaching tool. The problem that these professors are finding is that students really have no clue as to how to write meaningful, insightful posts.
How I will Use it in My Classroom
This hits home with me because I know I need to prepare my students by teaching them how to write and reflect on content.
I would love to have the opportunity to prepare my students and teach them this skill utilizing social media sites. It would be a more authentic experience than just sharing this case study with them and then incorporating an activity that requires this skill. However, I can be creative, and we can create posters for this that demonstrate examples of irresponsible or unprofessional feedback versus professional feedback. I saved a rubric I found while researching, so I can have my students score the responses.
Finally, another case study involved a teacher whose passion is to have her students write a blog post every week. The key idea here is that blogging can really help students love and care about what they write and this is a great example of how one teacher realized how true this is. Students realized that they had an audience other than their teacher for their blogs, so they bought into the process on a whole new level. This educator also reported that she saw improvements in their mechanics because they cared enough to fix their mistakes before posting.
How I will Use it in My Classroom
Even though we cannot access blogging tools, we do have access to weebly.com. My idea here is to have my students set up an account (they might have to use their smartphones to get around the email issue I mentioned earlier), and write a weekly post, sharing their website with the entire class. In a way, this is better than a blog in terms of privacy because kids can’t reply directly onto the website, easing my stress of worrying about misconduct. To keep this organized and manageable, I can have them create categories of study; for example, right now we are studying Romanticism/Transcendentalism, so they can write their blog under the specified category. I am very excited about this because I have read their writing thus far, and I’m dying to see if I too will be pleasantly surprised about their adherence to sentence structure rules and paragraph development! My kids are already pretty insightful; they just don’t always apply the writing skills that I teach them. Finally, I’m going to have to create a permission slip and come up with an alternative assignment if a parent does not want their child to have a website.
The Process of Creating My PLE Diagram
The process involved with creating my diagram of my PLE was fairly simple in that I took screenshots of the icons of the networks and then imported the screenshots into Indesign. In order to post the diagram, I exported the diagram into a PDF.
I put myself at the center of the diagram, and then I sized the icons based on how much I access the networks. In other words, the larger the icon, the more I use that particular network. Next, I used solid lines to represent my connection with the networks, and then I used dotted lines to represent the interconnectedness of the sites. I imagine the interconnectedness will grow, but I wanted to demonstrate for myself where I am at right now in terms of my PLE.
What did you learn about yourself when looking at your PLE?
The first thing that I learned about myself as I created my diagram of my PLE was that I’ve come a long way since the beginning of this class when it comes to being involved in social media and actually forming a PLE! To be honest, I’m not sure I even knew what a PLE was. Not only do I see myself evolving, I see myself growing as an educator because I am inspired by educators from all over the world. I think what makes this new-found knowledge even better is the fact that I am not intimated anymore; I’m having fun, and I’m not “afraid” of making a mistake anymore!
Visit your classmates’ PLE posts. How does your PLE compare to other peers in class?
After viewing my classmates PLN, I noticed a lot more similarities than differences. For instance, at least five of the icons on each of the six PLE’s I examined were the same as mine, which basically tells me that these sites are both the most popular and the most conducive to our purposes as educational technologist. What gets interesting for me as I view these sites is the differences in terms of the content because this is where our personal interests and differing backgrounds come in. In other words, my PLE is pretty basic with icons that most educators will recognize, except maybe Diigo. This isn’t a bad thing; it just means that I’m just getting started in the construction of my PLE, while I am honored to learn with others who have a lot more experience than me.
For example, my classmate, Nona, is an obvious pro, and so her PLE is complex, so complex that she uses the arteries of the human body as a metaphor for her diagram. She incorporates Web 2.0 tools as well as social networking tools, and I didn’t even consider that, though I agree with her that 2.0 tools are also vital in what we, as 21st century educators, do everyday in our classrooms.
Daniel’s content is both personal and professional because his worlds overlap so much. In viewing his PLE, I truly get a sense of what his interests are and what he does for a living and that they are one in the same. I see a more personal connection to his content than I see in mine.
Rebecca’s 3D model consisting of building blocks and primary colors screams EDUCATOR, and while the apple with the soldier conquering it in front of the model isn’t necessary, it clinches the deal. Again, we have similar networks, but her model also incorporates eLearning, Green Education, and Project Based Leaning. I think Rebecca’s content demonstrates that she is definitely comfortable in PLE world; she is very much involved in social networking.
Jodi’s and Jason’s content is similar to mine, though Jodi incorporated a busy bee metaphor that I thought was really creative. Moreover, while Jason put himself at the center of the diagram like I did, Jodi is the buzzing bee throughout the diagram, and I think this definitely demonstrates the interconnectedness between herself and her networks.
Finally, Greg’s PLE diagram demonstrates his passion for Adobe connect and Adobe tools because they are vital in his work and in his life. He placed those at the center of his diagram and created a circle of networks around them, demonstrating an obvious hierarchy. For right now, my PLE just demonstrates which networks I use the most, but this will evolve for me, and I imagine that if I draw another PLE at the end of the semester, it will look more like a spiderweb, at least, that is my goal.
Here are some of the online communities that I have joined and participated in:
This is a community that I am learning so much from!! I have limited knowledge when it comes to Google Apps, so this is really a home run for me, and I think I can also share a lot of this info via Twitter.
I think this community will benefit me in many ways, especially when it comes to new technologies and webinars.
Edmodo Groups: Social Studies, Language Arts, and Career and Technology
I love Edmodo for so many reasons, and as you can see from the posts, the teachers in this community are so helpful and supportive.
I didn’t know if I would like this online community, but after spending some time on it, I think it will benefit me, especially when I want to advance in my career. I have already reconnected with a former colleague who is now a leader in my former district. Maybe he’ll recruit me to be an integration specialist!
Twitter Chats for Edtech 543
1. #denchat: Is a discovery educator network that has weekly chats and guest hosts from around the globe. This was my first Twitter chat, and I wasn’t very good at it, but I did enjoy it. For the most part, educators just chatted about ideas to enhance learning and student engagement. I asked for some advice about joining other PLN’s. I learned how to participate in a live chat and I made the mistake of not including the hashtag a few times, but I corrected that as I realized my error. I did get some great resources, and I followed a few of the participants.
2. #sunchat: Is a PD weekly chat that often has a theme to discuss. This week’s discussion was on authentic learning, but other topics came up. Very interesting, and I am definitely getting better at tweeting. I felt a little more comfortable, and I explored some of the profiles of the participants. I didn’t make as many mistakes as the first chat session, and I learned that there really are so many amazing, talented educators out there. I felt inspired all throughout the chat.
3. #techeducator: This was interesting. It was listed as a Twitterchat, but it is also a Podcast. So I listened and participated in both! The presenters were a bit goofy, but once they got down to business, it was interesting. I learned about an app that allows students to create puppet shows. I definitely want to utilize it.
4. #21stedchat: The best Tweetchat yet!! I felt more in control and I also felt comfortable with offering opinions and ideas. It was wonderful to discuss digital footprints because I had just learned this concept, and I felt like I could contribute.