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.

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. 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.

42: Professional Training Wheels

This week, we had Donald Girouard and Shannon Horne present to our #I4Ed class at BU. Both individuals are the respective consultants for the Instructional Design, and Implementation of Web-based Courses (Manitoba Education Distance Learning).

Their presentation informed the class of courses available online, that could be used in three different ways: Distance Education, Classroom-based, or as a Teacher Resource. The recent iteration of the site our class was introduced to is easy to navigate, and has accessible, approved, course-related, outcome-based content. Apparently, alternate versions were available in other incarnations for the last 10 years or so. I was thrilled to be introduced to this intuitive version.

I’m not sure if anybody else in class realized the importance of this as a resource (mostly because I’m not telepathic). However, I do, based on my experience: I was hired 7 years ago to teach a course that I specialized in. After that first year, I was shuffled over to teach other courses. Not an ideal situation, but conflicted thoughts were easily resolved by acknowledging that a good teacher is student-centered, not subject-centered. That being said, I was not an expert in the content of the subject area I was to teach. To complicate matters, finding resources proved difficult: interpreting past teacher notes (kind of like walking in used shoes without laces), inheriting textbooks that were already nostalgic, and trying to determine outcomes for the course—all in the beginning years of a career. The stress was unbelievable, and the hours spent acquiring knowledge was incomprehensible.

Word of caution: When signing up for the Blackboard access, hit the submit button only once, or else you’ll run the risk of receiving multiple acknowledgements (in a day or so) in your e-mail.


Next year, I hope to teach ELA as a course of choice in a secondary school. I also know that the ELA curriculum is under review. For now, as a teacher about to teach a new subject and knowing that there is a resource such as this available, I can’t help but feel secure about accessing established content. Once the base is established then I can continue to grow as an ELA teacher and eventually pick and choose relevant content to achieve outcomes.

41: User Interfaces and Other Observations

Today in #I4Ed class, one Mr. John Evans, a Web Technologies Consultant with Manitoba Education and Advanced Learning, informed the class of many different online resources for educators. I found his presentation to be highly knowledgable and informative. In fact, you’ll notice my links to the left now include links to my page, and my account.

Some things about today’s lesson:

1) I’m still uncomfortable having my real name published online for various reasons.
2) would be a lot more revered (by my wallet) if it didn’t charge for full functionality. Yes, I read how to get “free” upgrades, and I only have one hour for prep in the school day.
3) Who designed the cumbersome interface for

Evans did state that the value of the sites presented today were based on the recommendations of other educators. I do not dispute this statement for one bit. I believe Evans when he states that there is plenty of value in the site. However, if I can’t find what I’m looking for with a couple of quick, fumbled clicks around a site, then I’m gonna make like a pair of jeans and fade. Yes, there is a plethora of online sites to help build Personal Learning Environments, yet it is up to the individual nature of educators, to decide which sites may or may not work to their needs.

Teacher’s are in a profession that can recognize, foster, and appraise human abilities according to Bloom’s; complex stuff, categorized. So why can’t a site in 2015 be built according to a few simple interface guidelines?

40: Teachers as Designers

Started second semester today, of my B.Ed studies. A full 6-course workload. I would say “That’s a busy semester”, but I’m going to more accurately say, “It still doesn’t match the teaching workload”. So far, I’m enjoying the information presented, and some of it will be actually used to help fine-tune my thesis efforts.

Like this site that is progressive in it’s attempts to promote engagement with students, with claims that “teachers should see themselves as designers of work and leaders of students in the conduct of that work more than as instructors and primary sources of information for students”.

True to that, my friends, true to that.