EDTECH 543 Final Reflection

media-998990_1920When I first began this course on Social Media Learning, I was quite excited to begin the journey of including social media into my own classroom curriculum.  Prior to this course, I knew of some ways social media could be infused into the elementary curriculum; however, I did not have the expertise nor the drive to incorporate this technology into my class work at that time.  Subsequent to this course, I am confident in taking my learning experience to the next step by utilizing what I learned within my classroom agenda. I always used Twitter and Facebook personally but did not really dive into professional learning through social media.  Now I feel I am competent in finding relevant social media PLNs to help me improve my teaching methods and enhance my repertoire of resources.  This course not only helped me grow professionally, but will also be of assistance to my students’ learning and curriculum activities

These social networking tools are valuable to my program because I now utilize social media platforms for professional discussions and professional development.  One of the most rewarding experiences of this class was the Twitter for Professional Development assignment.  Having to dive into Twitter chats helped me grow in confidence that I have resources and knowledge that others find beneficial.  My Twitter PLN also shared great resources and ideas with me that I can put to use immediately with my students. I fully realize that planning lessons using knowledge base of my PLN, provides me the opportunity to create the best lesson possible for my students.  Being educated with collaborative ideas and fine-tuning them for my own, truly enhances the classroom experience for my students.

The webinar interactions offered another great opening for professional learning.  I previously dabbled in some webinars, but did not commit to as many as I did for this class.  I realize now how important it is to keep advancing my training, not only in my graduate studies, but also in self- directed learning as well.  I decide where I could use additional training and research a particular webinar that addresses my needs.  Where else can you get professional development such as that?  This pursuit of highly developed education is something that I will definitely continue into the future.  

Curation was a topic I really never heard much about.  Although I utilized others’ curations, I never took the time to see how important curation is and how difficult a process it can be.  I was inspired at a technology conference about games in the classroom, so I decided to do further research on this topic and use it for my curated topic. I found wonderful material and resources and I had the chance to share the work of someone who inspired me. Hopefully, it will help another teacher decide if games in the classroom works for their curriculum needs. I will continue adding to this curation and sharing it through social media PLNs.

Working with my PLN was a great opportunity to grow professionally and learn about myself.  Working with my classmates gave me a profound learning experience I cannot forget.  I was so used to working independently, so it was refreshing to hear from others and get ideas and share work with classmates.  I really enjoyed all the activities we did, but I especially liked creating a social media policy and a mini curriculum unit with my group.  Both of these activities will go directly into my lesson planning.  My group was open to ideas for my fifth grade class that I had prior to this module and let us go in that direction for our unit.  We were able to work together to devise a unit using social media for an upper elementary class. I am pleased with the final outcome for learning about Games Around the World using social media and the collaborative effort was a worthwhile experience that I would like to continue with others in my school and/or field. This unit will be completed with my fifth grade and I cannot wait to blog about how the experience unfolded.  It is rare to hear about social media use in an elementary setting, so I feel actually implementing the unit may help others.  I cannot thank my group enough for making this lesson come alive.

I want to thank Dr. Jackie Gerstein for once again, delivering a wonderful course and providing me with an excellent graduate experience.  This was my final class for my Masters of Educational Technology, and between Dr. Gerstein’s Edtech 541 (my first class) and Edtech 543, I have portfolio work that I am very proud to share for my showcase portfolio needed for a masters degree.  Although my journey at BSU is coming to end, my journey for professional learning will continue on, especially through the use of social media.  See everyone online!

P.S. As far as what my blog grade should be, I feel that I have completed all the required blogs with many personal experiences and to the best of my ability.  Therefore, I would give myself 75/75 points.

Social Media in Elementary Schools as a Learning Strategy

twitter-birds-flightSocial Media as a learning strategy has always been a topic of debate among educators and administrators. Social Media can definitely have its pros and cons for students, and some professionals fear the cons.  I believe that the best method to teach students how to use social media appropriately is to give them the opportunity to utilize social media in a controlled setting such as a classroom.  All too often you hear about young students who have social media accounts and there is no one guiding them along the way.  Just like you would never place a small child in a big city by themselves, you should never allow a child on the Internet without supervision. Parents and teachers must be involved in this process.  Therefore, it is imperative that we teach students how to use social media positively, using good digital citizenship, to help them achieve a positive digital footprint.  But the question is “how to we teach digital citizenship?”

The best method of learning how to use social media is to actually have students use various social medias in schools.  I teach fifth grade, so this seems like an impossible task. However, there are an abundance of sites created for elementary age students that are available for sharing work, collaborating globally, and publishing content.  This week, in my EDTECH 543 class, I was asked to find at least 10 Social Media Classroom lessons/case studies that have had successful lessons utilizing social media as a tool for learning.  This was not an easy task due to the age of my students. Not many teachers publish their lesson plans and experience with social media in an elementary school setting. I could locate lists and suggestions, but had a difficult time locating actual case studies. Therefore, curating resources took a great deal of searching and time. I am pleased with the end result of my curated lesson experiences, hence I am  excited to incorporate social media within my fifth grade classroom.

Many of the lessons discussed blogging in the classroom.  Blogging gives the students a chance to share their opinion or work and have others comment on their blog post.  This provides the student with interaction and a chance to reflect on their learning.  KidBlog is a safe place to start my students blogging, which can be a private account for my class or a public account for the world. I know this will benefit students’ writing, realizing their work will be showcased for others to view. Throughout the blogging lessons I found, teachers discussed how important it is to teach the proper method of blogging and develop policies for respectable online behavior.  This is something I also feel strongly about, so I plan on incorporating these positive online experiences for the students.

My favorite lesson was Mystery Skype, where two classrooms in the world connect via a teacher account on Twitter.  The students ask the other class questions about where they live. From these answers the students use Google Maps to find the exact area where the other class is located.  Each student has an assigned task, and they are all involved in the project. This is great for cultural awareness, geography, collaborative learning, problem solving and social learning. Another wonderful lesson where students connect to another class around the world utilizes  Epals for communication. Students create kites with a buddy from another country while converting measurements from metrics.  Not only are the students learning a valuable math lesson, but they are engaged and excited to be part of this global project.  All of the lessons were excellent methods of infusing social media within the elementary classroom and I plan on incorporating each and every one of them. The common theme among all of these lessons were positive student learning outcome, responsibility, reflection, collaboration, pride, and motivation to learn and participate.

I wish, as a child, I had the chance to have friends globally, and publish my work and have my voice heard.  This is a wonderful opportunity for our students and we should not let fear hold us back from social media learning.  With the guidance of a supportive teacher and administration, the students will be facilitated through the world of social media and be ready to face the Internet independently and successfully in the years to come. Without this guidance, mistakes can be made that could impact a student’s life forever.  Digital Citizenship must be taught and practiced starting at an early age. I plan on blogging about my classroom experience using social media in elementary schools to help other elementary teachers see the impact that this method of learning can have on both the students and the teacher.  It should be easier to find elementary experiences than it was for me during this project, and hopefully my stories will make a difference and others will join in on sharing their experiences as well.

Click on Social Media Projects to see the lessons and experiences that I have found along with my insights on how each lesson relates to my fifth grade classroom.

Real Time and Live Virtual Professional Development

cloud-709105_1280Over the past few weeks, I participated in various Twitter chats and live Webinars to enhance my professional development.  This experience was rewarding and exciting for my personal learning.  I have gained an immense amount of new information and a host of resources for use within my classroom setting.  Although this was an assignment for my EDTECH 543 class at Boise State, I plan on continuing both Twitter Chats and Webinars in the future.  Below you will find a link to a Google doc which includes a summary of each Chat and Webinar, along with evidence of my participation.  I am hopeful that some of the resources I learned about recently may help you in your educational setting. 

Summary of Twitter Chats and Webinars

Games in Education Curated Content

new_games_for_change_logoLast week, in my EDTECH 543 Social Network Learning at Boise State University, I was asked to develop a checklist on Effective Content Curation Criteria.  From developing this checklist with my group, I learned a vast amount of valuable information about what content curation is and how to develop your own curated content on a particular topic.  This week, we were asked to create our own curated content on a professional topic of choice.  I used the techniques learned with my group to develop my own content curation on Games in Education using Pearltrees. I have been dabbling in researching games in education ever since I went to the 2015 Technology Conference at William Paterson University in NJ.  The keynote speaker was Matthew Farber who is an expert on game based learning and gamification and wrote the book, Gamify Your Classroom A Field Guide to Game-Based Learning.  The resources, methods, and tools he presented were extremely helpful within my classroom.  Matthew inspired me to further my knowledge on the subject so I can incorporate games more effectively into my daily curriculum.  My curated content is a variety of literature from various subjects that are knowledgeable in different aspects of game-based learning and gamification.  My goal is to have other educators asking themselves, from the readings and their own experience, if games have a place in their classroom and if so, how?  The curated collection has three parts: literature on the effectiveness of games in education, how to incorporate games effectively with various resources, and journal articles on the research of games in education.  I plan on updating this collection often so it is current and engaging for both myself and the reader.  Through my collecting and reading, I developed a question that I am having a hard time finding the answer to. Are there gender differences in the effectiveness of games in education.  I plan adding any literature I can find on the subject to my curated content and welcome any help I can receive. Here is the link to my Pearltrees Curated Content on Games in Education.  I hope you read through all the literature and resources and comment on your thoughts either in Pearltrees itself or on my blog.  

After creating my Games in Education Curation, I was asked to evaluate my curated content using the Effective Curation Checklist Criteria checklist created with my PLN from EDTECH 543. I believe a did a good job curating content that adheres to our criteria. Below is the link to my self evaluation.

Self Evaluation on Curated Content


Effective Content Curation Criteria

500px-echo_curation_alt-svgCuration is not simply collecting resources with a common theme, in one place, for easy access. Curation is developed by “deeper thinking through synthesis and evaluation of the collected items”  (White, 2012). Content curation was a term that I was familiar with, but not something that I completely understood until this week.  I was asked by my professor to create a checklist of effective content curation criteria with my class PLN group.  Immediately, I dived through the resources given in my online class website to study more about curation. Although I have used many curators’ resources, I didn’t really recognize to what extent the curator was required to work to house this list together.  Curation is not something completed in one day.  It takes many hours and constant research to analyze the massive amount of information available online, while compiling a thorough and educational curated list of the most important information.  I learned through my readings and classmates’ checklists that curated material should be organized, accessible, current,  valuable, cited properly, and promoted for other professionals to view and comment upon.

I had the opportunity to work with Jessica Allen and Jana Warner on our Effective Content Curation Criteria Checklist.  In order to work effectively with my PLN, I created a Google Doc and shared it in the beginning of the week so everyone could work on their efforts when convenient for them.  I started out the list and found the first 6 items that I felt were necessary for a good curation.  Jessica and Jana added their contributions and we came up with a list of 17 items for our checklist.  With reflection and edits we finalized the list to create our finished product.  I always appreciate working with a group because I learn so much about myself.  I realize I am a perfectionist, and have to let go when necessary.  Everyone works differently and at different paces. Finishing with time to revise helped me feel confident about working with my group in the future.  I know we will make deadlines and be able to critique and review each others’ work.  I realize everyone is busy, so we will have to divide and conquer and I am sure we will be successful. Below is the link to our Effective Content Curation Criteria.  I trust you will enjoy reading through it, and look forward to your comments on this topic.

Effective Content Curation Criteria

White, N. (2012, July 7). Understanding Content Curation. Retrieved September 25, 2016, from http://d20innovation.d20blogs.org/2012/07/07/understanding-content-curation/

My Digital Footprint

human-footprints-in-the-sand A digital footprint is a permanent mark you make on the Internet as you search, post, share, or collaborate.  Everything you do on the Internet can be traced back to you.  It is important that we keep this in mind at all times, whether you use the Internet for professional reasons or personal leisure.  As a professional, I need to be extremely conscious of the mark I make, and intentional about what I want it to say about me.  I must take certain steps to create the digital footprint that I want others to perceive about me by being proactive.  This seems a bit scary and overwhelming.  A person can easily make a mistake and post something they regret later, only to realize that they cannot delete this unfortunate event.  It is important that we teach this to our children so they are aware of the repercussions that could happen towards their future.  Luckily, once I began having social media platforms in my name, I always kept them private.  It wasn’t until graduate school, that I started using social media professionally, so nothing much came up in a search engine other than my username at that time.  Now, I am conscious to assure that what comes up in a search is positive for me and my professional reputation.

For my EDTECH 543 class, I was asked to complete a search of my name using various search engines.  I was intrigued by what I found.  The first item that came up in my Google search was my EDTECH 541 Integrating Technology into the Classroom website that I made for a weather unit for first grade.  I was glad to see that something of a professional nature showed up first.  Facebook showed up next, followed by most of the graduate work that I completed at Boise State University, including my EDTECH learning log on WordPress.  Next, I found my teacher’s website and LinkedIn profile.  This all proves to me that on Google I have a positive digital footprint and that I should continue on this path.  I would like to see more of my work show up; however, there is a doctor with my same name that appears often as well.  When I put the word teacher after my name, so much more of my information is revealed.  My NASA Education award and other achievements were then visible.  I would like for this Information to be more prevalent in my digital footprint in the future, without having to add the word teacher.  I was pleased to see that some of my resources are being used on other professional blogs and websites.  I felt honored to be of help to someone, and I am pleased I discovered this now. It is the concept of collaboration that keeps me working hard and sharing that information with others.

When I searched my name on Ask.com, my salary comes up first.  After that, I found that I was honored to have my blog linked on Cybraryman’s Website.  This site is a website that I use often for resources and information, and I had no idea that I was one of the blogs listed as a resource. My STEM LiveBinder for iPads seems to come up repeatedly which I had forgotten about.  Again, this was a pleasant surprise and assures me that I have a positive digital footprint here as well.

When I searched Yahoo, Bing, and Duck Duck Go, I once again found all the graduate websites that I created.  I was amazed how many pages of my work I could find.   I also found the STEM award from NASA, which was one of my favorite experiences professionally.  I am thrilled that this is part of my digital footprint. I was surprised to find more websites that link to my work.  

Overall, this digital footprint assignment was a positive experience for me.  There is one picture that I wish did not show up on images simply because it is not my best hair day. Oh, vanity, I know!  I also realized that I have to keep up with my Google Plus account so all the information is current. Otherwise, I couldn’t have asked for a more positive experience.  Again, I would like to see my information show up faster without having to add the word teacher after my name, but to have a professional, well respected doctor with my name show up also isn’t an issue.  If someone confuses us at least we both have good online reputations.  I plan on being proactive and ensuring that I create a positive digital footprint by being more aware of what I post and joining additional professional online organizations.  I also plan on sharing more of my work, which seems to help grow a positive digital footprint.  This exercise is something every person should do.  I invite you to go search your own name and see what you find.  You may also be pleasantly surprised, or, you may find you must be more cautious with what you post in the future.