Are these Social Media tricks for education? You won’t believe #3

Okay, I went a little “meta” with that headline, but bear with me.

Today I received a notice that my 6 month subscription to Weebly will expire for unless I renew. I’m left to wonder how I thought 6 months would be sufficient time to attain 100 participants. As of this blog post, I now have 6 participants, which equates to one participant a month. The problem is that my survey requires a minimum of 100 participants.

Why the trickle of participants? Being a teacher, it’s my nature to reflect why:

  1. Not reaching intended audience. It’s a worldwide survey. The only requirements are: 1) be a public school teacher from K-12, and 2) use some form of social media for classroom purposes.
  1. Nobody’s on the clock right now. The summer months are holiday time for most teachers, yet from what I can infer from my Twitter feed is that teachers never really stop PD during July and August.
  1. The generally accepted definition of Social Media. What I gathered from my literature review, is that social media is loosely defined as online interaction. I interpret this as communication, back and forth, between individuals, using some sort of interface, that could include (but not limited to) any number of online platforms. Here’s a few off the tip of my browser:
  • Twitter
  • Edmodo
  • Moodle
  • Pinterest
  • Hootsuite
  • Instagram
  • Yelp
  • Urban Spoon
  • Digg
  • Quora
  • Blogs
  • Facebook
  • Stumbleupon
  • Flipboard
  • RSS Feeds
  • Goodreads
  • Etsy
  • Youtube
  • Tumblr
  • DeviantArt
  • Skype
  • Instructables
  • Pearltrees
  • Periscope
  • Socrative
  • Google Education
  • Microsoft OneNote
  • Facebook

See what I did there? I listed Facebook last. Last. This is because I wonder if my request for use of online social media in the classroom leaves respondents immediately thinking, “Ah heck no…I don’t use Facebook in class because (insert excuse here)”.

Social Media use in the classroom is a diverse area to explore. Yet I can’t examine it in a pedagogical sense unless I hear from more colleagues. Like a former teacher once taught me, people helping each other starts with the simple act of “give”. So please, if you ‘re a public school teacher teaching any grade level and using social media, please give 10 minutes of your time and fill out the survey.

In the meantime, I will: renew for 2015-2016; I’ll keep on being positive and hope that the new school year will bring at least 8 participants a month; and I’ll do my best to not self-deprecate by equating my requests with that of a squeegee kid at a stoplight.

253037950_63e82a5699_oImage labelled for non-commercial re-use by google:


43: Periscope & Uncharted Educational Waters

I’ve never been interested in Snapchat. Someone takes a picture, posts a comment, only to have it fade **yawn**. Perhaps it’s a generational thing. Tonight, out of boredom, my aged posterior decided to try an app called Periscope. It’s similar to Snapchat’s fade option with text. Periscope is a direct live-stream video that allows the viewer to either broadcast, or respond via text messaging, something visual to complete strangers and their respective interests. Sorry non-Twitter users, if you don’t have a Twitter account, you are unable to sign up.

As a teacher, I began to reflect on how to use this in education. It’s similar to the “global classroom”. But let’s face it…when it comes to formal vs. informal learning, informal always wins due to ease of access. A few, quick thoughts follow.

Pros: People are able to watch an event anywhere in the world. Tonight, I watched a fellow bored with his night shift at a shipping yard in Pennsylvania. I discovered that a shipping container weighs about 60,000 lbs.

Cons: Every immature doorknob and their dog usually comments with a quick, inappropriate, comment. For example, the inebriated British girls travelling in a cab were asked to show their “bewbs”. Luckily, I consider myself a mature doorknob, and my dog has no opposable thumbs.

Suggestions: Periscope needs to offer a version of this app as an educational model, replete with appropriate texting procedures and secure access. In addition, school divisions need to acknowledge the reality of emerging social media and work towards reducing restrictions while continuing to educate teachers about responsibility, accountability, and the due diligence necessary to investigate an app before use. A such, for me, for now, the cons of Periscope outweigh the pros when it comes to teacher responsibility.

I’ll keep thinking about it, and revisiting how teachers may use this. Maybe someone out there already is, and I’ve yet to witness it.

Final thought: I was once told that “The internet is no longer the Wild West’. My response to that? “The internet is also not controlled by North Korea”. If educators aren’t showing moral, ethical responsibilities to students, the students will just develop their own rules.

Then someone drops a boulder on Pinkie.

Social Media and Student Engagement Research Study

I’m high-fiving myself in public here, and I’m okay with that. I can explain why.

Last Thursday, after two previous attempts for ethics approval from the Brandon University Research and Ethics Committee (BUREC), my approval to proceed with my Research Study on “Social Media and Student Engagement” was finally granted.

The very next morning, I sent my first Tweet out—outlined as per my ethics application—in my efforts to invite 100 teachers to participate in my study. The only definitive requirements are: 1) have to be a teaching in MB, and 2), should be using Social Media in their classroom efforts. If you meet these two requirements, and have a Twitter account, you may check out my feed here.

Then…there was silence for two days. Just a little unnerving. Then today, I received my very first Direct Message via Twitter!  The question I received was simple: What’s my research study about?

Well, the purpose of my study is: to identify what teachers’ understanding of social media is; to identify what qualifiers constitute as student engagement; and to determine how social media is used to affect student engagement.

I hope the participant chooses to complete what they can. And after that? Only 99 more to go!

Which shouldn’t be too hard, right? After all, MTS states that there are at least 15,000 active members in Manitoba.


TT No. 12: I’m no Ed Snowden, but…

According to the Horizon Report 2014 K-12, I believe the future of education to be transformative. I think that schools need to address the professionalism of teachers, and address that the roles of teachers are changing. It’s 2015, and technology is exponentially evolving. So should teachers.

However, the simple adoption and implementation of technology in the classroom is not enough. Teachers need to address their approach to deeper learning. The importance of deeper learning cannot be stressed enough. For me, this was the most engrossing section. I wasn’t surprised to read that this chapter also posits the creative process as a contributor to deeper understanding. Two thumbs up for this area of the report.

The report wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns though. I did experience umbrage with other findings. Although I have encountered copyright in the creation of some of my materials with the I4Ed class, I wasn’t entirely sold on the Open Educational Resources argument. I believe that the existing structure of copyright causes students to critically examine what they can, and cannot use in the creation of their assignments. In short, I kind of like the existing copyright laws as they apply to education.

Personalized learning, intuitive technology, these are the realities of today. In fact, I am interested in reading (perhaps even one day, providing) research concerning the necessity of intuitive interfaces for technology use in a classroom. Perhaps this is because of my Graphic Design background. I will quickly become disinterested in any technology that is cumbersome, no matter what my personal interest is.

I was happy to see that rethinking school environments, and implementing technology in schools are two other areas that are still constantly addressed in reports. The best quote I’ve heard or read is that (and I’m paraphrasing here), “teacher’s are teaching 19th century subjects, in 20th century buildings, using 21st century technology. ‘Nuff said.

There many more aspects to address in the report, and these are just a few. In fact, one could argue that some chapters that follow are just alternatively stated, similar concepts. I did wonder why the most important information was buried in the back 1/3 of the report. Well, most important to me, I guess. I consider the most important of all the information presented, is safety of the students. This means information, well-being, personal use, etc. the legalities and ethics all have to be morally considered when it comes to student safety.

The report is approximately 48 pages long, a little light reading before bedtime. I recommend it for anyone interested in authentic technology use in classrooms. 48 pages that are chock-full of the right areas for discussion. In fact, there’s a great graphic at the beginning of the report that seems to encompass all the ideas presented. I think the Horizon Report does a great job of addressing the present, so that education can be prepared for the future. As for me, I believe that teachers are changing, and in some schools this change includes being innovative with their use of technology. This engages students; I’ve seen the results.

TT No. 11: Show, Tell it on the Mountain

This “Tech Task” asks students from the #I4ED BU course to talk about their favourite app. On this site, I sometimes link to apps I thought were beneficial for classroom use as a teacher.

In all honesty, I do not know why I have not yet posted about my numero uno, got-to-go-to-app, the app I’ve made room for on my iPad taskbar, the app I could not live without, THE app that deserves all the hype it receives.

That app is Notability. Seriously, if you do not have this app on your iPad, go buy it, use it, then bang your head on the wall for not finding out about it earlier. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Glad you’re back. See? Told you it was great. For the following reasons:
1) intuitive interface
2) organizes like a dream
3) picture inserts
4) voice recording
5) typing
6) sketch capabilities
7) uploads to darn near everything

…and more, but this guy gives the best video review.

For the sake of joyous pirates everywhere (y’know, ships and giggles), here are four screenshots of relatively recent activity I’ve used on my Notability app.

IMG_1020 IMG_1021 IMG_1022 IMG_1023

Wait…you’re still reading this? Make like a musician, and go create notes.

TT No.9: Using Online Video in the Classroom

One video that I like to use in my SY Fine Arts classroom is the “Crumpled Paper” challenge. It’s a great way to show students how value can be applied effectively, for a purpose (instead of asking students to complete mind-numbing value charts *yawn*) It’s also a time-lapse video, which means that the student comprehends that their own time spent applying values will be more substantial.

Basically, it’s another way to demonstrate expectations of skill development to a class. After that, then the students can create their own works of art, using the skills acquired.

Now that I’ve explored free and easy video production, I’m going to ask students to use Hyperlapse .Students could then create their own time-lapses videos, add copyright-free music, and to present their efforts to the class. The only difference I would request, is that they change the subject matter to that of a simple geometric object with an obvious light source, an apple, a water bottle…whatever.

That being said, I will always reserve the right to encourage a student beyond their comfort level of skill. It’s what teachers do.

TT No. 8: Podcasts


“Welcome to my Podcast review. For this assignment, I’m actually creating an audio review of my favourite Podcast, “Under The Influence”, by Terry O’Reilly. It’s a CBC Podcast, so naturally it’ll have some pretty slick production values.

Along with the production values, O’Reilly is diligent in collecting and presenting facts about his subject matter. The subject matter, by the way, is all about advertising and marketing. Basically, how do the corporations bleat to the consumerist sheep of a capitalist society.

It’s an eye-opener—take the red pill.

I’m not saying capitalism is bad, but it sure is nice to know how traditional advertising has been effective, made mistakes, and evolved with media over the years.

I’ve taught a few Business courses over my last 6 years of teaching, and I have always managed to include a Podcast of O’Reilly’s. It engages my students in critical thinking about product image. However, after building this quick little audio file myself, I know that in whatever course I will teach in the future, creating a Podcast is now a viable option for presentation…replete with slick production values.”

Podcast of this transcript available here.