Social Media and Education

Archive for the ‘Cyber Safety’ Category

4 Tips for Integrating Social Media Into the Classroom

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In my last post, I linked a video from the the 140 Conference recently held in New York City. As I listened to the participants, I decided to begin learning a bit more about each of them. In his blog, My Island View, Tom Whitby put up a post he titled, Deal or No Deal. He hoped that his post would begin a focused dialogue on Social Media in Education. He has his readers off to a good start.

I’m not going to rehash his comments here. I would like you to click the above link and read the article. Next, read the comments. See how others are reacting to his points. Then, come back and tell me what you think. Let’s spread the dialog across the web by sharing ideas and opinions via our own blogs, Twitter, FaceBook, and more. Take the questions that are raised and the points that are made to your own PLN’s.

We need to begin forming a plan of action for the roles of social media in education. As the discussion continues on the internet, it must begin to move purposefully into the agendas of our PTO’s, administrators, and school boards.

Rick

Today was our school district’s annual EdCom celebration. EdCom stands for Education Communication. Students, individually or in groups, spend most of the school year doing deep learning on a project of their choice. More than 600 students participate in the project.

My students joined with another fourth grade classroom and my technology club to share their learning life as digital natives. They shared their Global Virtual Classroom website, their podcasts, FaceBook reports, animations, and Indiana research activities. They were clustered around their laptops as parents and appraisers questioned them about their learning.

One of my students was showing off a FaceBook template he had used to share the life and accomplishments of famed basketball coach, John Wooden. He was very much into the process and detailed how he had used social media to show the character of a very famous Hoosier.

As he took questions about his work, an appraiser sidled up to his laptop. The appraiser, an IT specialist from a large, local corporation, asked a pointed question. “If you and your family went on vacation, what would you post about it on FaceBook?” My student was quick with his reply. “I would never post anything about our vacation. I don’t want anyone to rob us because they know we aren’t home.”

More questions about cyber safety and social media followed. The two were engaged in a steady conversation. The appraiser came to me immediately and told me to be very proud of my student. I replied that discussions about cyber safety and proper use of social media were topics of regular discussion in my classroom. He went on to say that he had been asking the same question of adults and children of all ages for a number of years. My student, he explained, was the only one who had ever gotten the right answer.

A teacher always hopes that his students are listening and understanding the things they discuss in the classroom. I took my student aside after the presentations. He beamed as I told him about my conversation. He left the presentation full of pride and confidence. His good work had been affirmed by the adults in his world.

Rick

More predators prefer to target kids online.

This article is a must-read for teachers, parents, and kids who are old enough to understand.  I am an advocate of using social media applications for learning in the classroom.  Education is the key for keeping our kids safe on the web.  They are surrounded by technology and can access it from anywhere.  Parents and teachers must work together to teach children how to safely navigate the web.  Children will go there regardless of the rules in place.  Why not teach them by showing responsible and safe use of social media sites?

As I explore various opinions and perspectives on social media and education, it is important to create a benchmark of where my own school district stands on the issues. It is also important to say that many of those in our leadership are forwarding-lookiing, possibility thinkers. It is also important to say that the safety of our students is of the utmost importance.

Currently, cell phones are absolutely forbidden in the High School. Multiple violations of the policy can and does result in expulsion. We subscribe to Fortigard, a web filtering company, for the purpose of blocking inappropriate web sites. Social media sites are among those that are blocked. Some of those sites include Twitter, Facebook, WordPress, Blogger, Skype, de.lic.ious, Digg, and more.

There is a review policy in place, but feedback is not immediate or always approved. I have been successful in getting Skype and Twitter unblocked for my “Teacher” computer but little else. I have another WordPress blog on digital literacy that is now unblocked to read, but I cannot access the editing page. This blog is not yet approved for viewing or editing at school.

But progress is being made! And for that, many of us are appreciative. Our Superintendent, Dr. Craig Hintz is now on Twitter. He and I are now following each other’s posts. Warsaw now has a podcast server with a wiki and blogging feature. Students are now able to make blog posts and comment on each other’s activities. Currently the blogs and such are only available on the school network, but within a few days, that access will be extended to the rest of the world. Teachers will be able to post information to parents and healthy learning interactions we be able to occur outside of the classroom. This is a huge step forward.

New initiatives have begun using iPod Touches in the classroom. This is opening the door for the phone policies to be revised as administrators are learning that these devices can also serve as responders and have other educational values in the classroom. Discussions about the educational opportunities of Twitter and Facebook are also afoot. I look forward to the discussions that uses of social media will bring to our schools.

Rick Glass


The Educator’s PLN

Teaching Tech-Savvy Kids

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