Social Media and Education

Posts Tagged ‘Leadership

Should teachers be rewarded for their students’ success? School funding is largely dependent making yearly progress so shouldn’t our teachers’ pay be dependent upon those same tests? After all, if our students aren’t successful on those tests, isn’t it the fault of the teacher? Aren’t they the sole determining factor for a child’s success or failure? Please read this blog post by Michael Gorman. This is where education in Indiana is going.

Merit Pay: Forget Learning… Just Start Learn’en’ Them More!

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This presentation by Steve Anderson is well worth a viewing. Key areas he discusses are student-centered classrooms, professional learning networks, technology as a tool that increases learning, and standardized testing. Watch it here.

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

This video, created by the Consortium for School Networking (COSN), highlights a number of issues that must be considered in educating today’s students. These technology leaders share their thoughts and imperatives for effective education.

Scotland has been making enormous strides in developing Professional Learning Networks (PLN) among its teachers. Social media plays an important role in their endeavors. I follow several Scots and other UK bloggers on Twitter. Their insights and sharing of experiences help me grow in my understanding of educational technology and social media.
Ewan McIntosh shares some valuable insights into both the digital divide and the learning opportunities that are available through social media applications.

Creativity expert, Sir Ken Robinson, speaks about a global educational system that values mathematics and literacy far more than creativity.  He challenges us to rethink our educational imperatives.  He makes a compelling case for reform, maintaining that the future of the human race is at stake.

As I listened to his talking points, particularly the ones about creativity and music and the arts, I wondered how many administrators and board members would assign social media the same low level of importance.  When cuts are made during economic hard times, the performing arts are among the first areas affected.  Interestingly, our own corporation is seeing a growth-squelching budget cut in the months ahead.

Give a listen and post a response.

Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity.

To what extent should school technology policies permit the use of social media applications?  How does the use of social media in the classroom increase student learning?  To explore the range of answers to these questions and formulate a defensible opinions, I have created this blog.  This blog will reflect a variety of insights from parents, classroom teachers, tech integration specialists, and administrators.

According to Wikipedia,

“Social media is media designed to be disseminated through social interaction, created using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques. Social media uses Internet and web-based technologies to transform broadcast media monologues (one to many) into social media dialogues (many to many). It supports the democratization of knowledge and information, transforming people from content consumers into content producers.”

Stated in that way, one might think a course in social media might have a place in a high school communications program.  One might see the definition a bit differently and speculate that social media could have a role in the education of all students, moving them from “…content consumers into content producers.”  After all, isn’t much of teaching about evaluating student products?

Opinions of social media in education begin to shift when some parents, teachers, administrators, and board members first hear examples of social media programs:  Blogger, WordPress, Xanga, Facebook, Twitter, Hi5, MySpace, Delicious, StumbleUpon, Digg, Mixx, You Tube, Skype, Flickr, and Second Life to name a few.

Some school corporations have an outright ban on all social media applications.  Others open particular applications on a case by case basis.  At this point in time, I do not know of a corporation that allows unrestrained access.

It should also be pointed out the social media is rapidly becoming the primary growth tool for many businesses.  It also plays a powerful role in politics as politicians learn to use it to communicate their platforms.

I am excited about the potential of this blog.  I hope it encourages thoughtful reflection, evokes profitable exchanges, and results in purposeful evaluation of practices and policies in education.  I look forward to your comments and our discussions.

Rick Glass



The Educator’s PLN

Teaching Tech-Savvy Kids

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