Tag Archives: Social Media

Facebook and School

12 Mar

Business Communication Duplicate model

Facebook has been a great communication / marketing tool for our school community. According to Facebook “insight” stats – our record is 3700 unique people that viewed content on our Facebook page in one week – usually this averages around 2000 unique people every week.   Most are students –however there are a lot of parents and Year 13 students from last year who still like to feel involved with the school.   We also “like” other community groups.

Status updates are used to promote events / achievements along with uploading photo albums (photos are checked beforehand for any inappropriate pictures, gestures – you need to look carefully as there may be a student doing something silly in the background, and using your discretion if there is a photo that isn’t very flattering
especially with body image conscious teenagers).  A lot of students share our photos on their own profiles and “tag” each other in the photos, as well as being able to post comments on photos and updates.

In terms of a quick way of getting news out – its great – when we had a water shortage and had to close the school we put out a FB update to advise our community.

Students and parents alike asked questions about how to contact bus companies.
Because each person uses their own name – there is very little if any inappropriate posting or bad language.   I have had to remove two derogatory posts in five years of our FB page.

I see the following as being key points:
Making sure its kept up to date regularly and status updates are “as they happen”.    Students really appreciate photos going up quickly –
i.e. most events where I have access to the camera I will post the pictures the same day.   The problem lies with staff members who give you photos weeks later – by then its too late and “old news” and students don’t bother looking at them.    It’s a buzz getting news, videos and photos online before students do!

Keeping an eye on things – I have notifications set to go to my email and I can easily check them on my cellphone.   If there are issues you can react quickly and remove inappropriate posts.

Interaction – if a student posts a really supportive/positive comment– I’ll “like” their comment or occasionally comment as well.   It reinforces positive comments and the way we expect students to behave.  It is a reflection of our dispositions.

A quote I use often dealing with social media is from Eric Qualman (who has written a book on social media and society). “We don’t have a choice on whether we DO social media, the question is HOW WELL we do it.”

How well does your school “do” social media?

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Personalized learning and technology

19 Oct

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As I was out running yesterday I was watched the people in the local shopping centre. I thought about how people live now. It is all about them. “Me” not “you.” This is one reason why social media works. Facebook is about “you” building and connecting to “your” friends. It’s about sharing what you like, liking what others do, and showing off what you do. Twitter is even more about “you.” Yes, you can use these tools to think beyond yourself. You can use these tools to promote and share. But they became big because of how they are about “You.” Even Linkedin as a professional tool is about building up “you” to the world. It’s about how many connections you have and who these connections are.

When it comes to being connected, we are more connected today than ever before. Almost everyone must have a smartphone, especially teenagers. They must be available immediately to their friends. Texting is now bigger than email and using the phone. That’s old school. With unlimited texting packages, we can write back and forth whenever we want with as many words as we want. And we do.

Interpersonal relationships mean more to most kids than their own families. They check their phone often. This is why texting why driving is such a problem. Smartphones alert you when there’s a text, a tweet, or some other response or nudge about almost anything. You are “always” connected to your network unless you turn your phone off. If they turn off their phones, they lose their connections.

I loved this clip which appeared in my feed this week:

This got me thinking about the options we are providing for students.  We can focus on learning that is personal, but we need to teach and model compassion, kindness and empathy. We need to demonstrate what it is to be part of a social network and how to look beyond yourself. We also need to use these tools so kids can learn the way they learn best. Take advantage of them. But we also need to show them that they need to look up and out at the world. Connect with others to not only build connections but to share what you learn and learn from others. Teach the skills to recognize bias, validity and authenticity. Help them to be able to articulate intelligently and thoughtfully. This is their future and right now I’m a little concerned if they are ready for it.

 

Network

26 Jun

Business Communication Duplicate model

My wife and I are in very different industries. Yet we both value the impact of networking. If students and teachers work together as co-creators, then the traditional supply and demand chain of teaching and learning is usurped by a networking approach. We are in the midst of a paradigm shift in the way in which people are connected. We are moving from hierarchically arranged, densely knit groups to permeable, diverse social networks. Reminiscent of Ivan Illich’s learning webs (1971), knowledge is distributed across networks of connections and learning consists of immersing oneself in networks by creating and sharing. This networking ability is central to creative capability.
Students who make new connections beyond their immediate group or class demonstrate creative capacity building. These ‘border crossers’ who can access a diversity of networks are able to introduce new ideas and knowledge. Therefore effective teaching for creative capacity building will encourage students to actively network and build diverse connections.
Connective technologies such as Skype, Twitter, RSS feeds, wikis and YouTube offer enormous potential for teachers to introduce students to the concept of connected knowledge and networking. For instance, when students build their historical understanding of the Gallipoli campaign by communicating with students in Turkey it takes student learning into a whole different realm. The same could be said when we examined Syrian refugees.

As the old saying goes, “when the peasants learned to read, the kings began to look stupid.” Our understanding of the relationship between networking abilities and creative capacity building mean that using these connective learning technologies is central to effective pedagogy.

Illich, I. (1971) Deschooling Society, London: Marion Boyars

Getting Out on Social Media

3 Oct

index

Putting ourselves out there on social media puts us in the vulnerable position. Sometimes the act of pushing send or tweet can be a big one.  We can be judged by people who don’t even know us, and may never meet us. People may come up with their own narrative of who we are, and scold us publicly for the world to see. People we know can also become unhappy with us. They may view us as showboats, or big in our own minds. We can’t control these feelings nor should we.

Showing up can mean participating in a Twitter chat, following and retweeting others, or sharing a personal thought through tweeting. It can also be through online writing, or blogging. Blogging is a dual way to reflect on personal learning journeys, and receive feedback from peers on their personal experiences in education. In essence, you’re not going through the experience alone, as others can validate, support, or provide guidance from their own experiences by reading yours. Writing can also inspire others to share their vulnerabilities, questions, or have them pause to reflect on their “why”.

Oftentimes, people feel they have nothing to write about of importance. They listen to their inner monologue that tells them that their experiences aren’t unique to them, that others experience the same thing. I argue that sharing similar experiences brings people together. Each one of us is unique. Our experiences, though similar in nature to others, are unique to us in that we’re the ones experiencing them. It’s easier to reflect and process experiences when we have a support system, like a professional/personal learning network to help us get through them.

I hope you feel empowered to share your educational thoughts. It is important to share. It is all part of that journey of being Ako.

Cold Turkey

8 Jun

After being inspired by Supersize Me (viewing for the second time on NetFlicks) I decided to go cold turkey and give up social media for a week last Monday.

I was prepared to experience withdrawal symptoms once I switched off my phone/pad/computer, including a strong urge to check my phone/email/social media, a feeling of boredom, and a sense of unease. A sense of being unloved. Yes I know unloved. These feelings should pass.

So Day 1 at 7am I felt immediately what was I missing out on. Something spoke to me A zen moment. I am in control.

By 10am I thought I wish I had planned this better. I needed to text. I saw something and thought hey a tweet around that could be…

By 11:15 it was over. I had convinced myself there was a text that needed answering. There wasn’t but the game was up. Tweeting, Emailing, texting I was back.

There will be a next time though.

Maybe a night for two hours. I should plan some interesting activity in place of screen time. Blogs advocate a digital detox week but this is not for me.

It did make me think. What is my relationship with the screen? What is yours?

#JustSayin

31 May

Before social media, there were pockets of brilliance in our education system but very few people knew about them.  We are as teachers not good at sharing. Hopefully tools such as the Pond will help us all do this better.

Schools competing with each other do not share ideas and, as a result, they do not grow as effectively.  What social media has done is allowed the spreading of great ideas in more efficient manner.

I am connecting with educators the world over abd can connect and learn from practices taking place anywhere in the world; in addition, they can receive feedback on ideas from any people interested in education.   Good ideas not only become viral but these same ideas also grow to become even better.

No Need to Tweet

23 Feb

 

Do you tweet? I know my Grandma used to tell me to stop twittering and be specific. This was well before the era of social media though. Twitter is more than people philosophising about what they had for dinner. I believe if you teach, then you should tweet. I was once cynical but I have changed. You might be thinking, do I really need another ‘online place’ to look at? Well, you don’t have to tweet, but you will love it once you give it a chance. Read a variety of posts and you will realize that sometimes 140 characters delivers a great resource, classroom idea, colleague collaboration, or even instant feedback. I have noticed that I usually read about the most current research on Twitter first.

Twitter has allowed me to meet other educators and collaborate with them. Be it through a weekly chat or once a month we are able to discuss current topics. People from all around the world are sharing ideas. This is awesome. Some of my best staff meetings have come from this.

If you are not a believer try the following to give it go. And I mean a fair go:

* Give it two weeks. Two weeks is the rule with most things.

* You have to “follow” people to read great stuff. Get alongside a peer and take some suggestions.

* Look for hashtags like #edchatnz or #SLTchat or scichatnz. Hashtags will connect you with educators like you. Cool eh.

* And remember social media get bad press. It’s not all about mindless photos and cyber bullying. It is a great educational tool.

Still not convinced? Just try it. Or maybe I have the wrong audience. I am sure you all are already ankle deep in it.

My iPhone and My Teaching

22 Feb

While many technological innovations have undoubtedly transformed the position in a relatively short period of time, perhaps there is none greater than the advent of the Smartphone. In my case the iPhone. Some of these are for good and some not so good.

Email:

I am still blown away by the number of school leaders who shut their desktop computer off on a Friday afternoon and come back to over a hundred emails when they return on Monday morning. By accessing emails in this fashion, I can give immediate attention to an issue, concern, or complaint instead of letting it sit. The negatives can be that you never leave work.

Twitter: I love it. Connecting, collaborating and great PD. Those who use it know. Those that ignore it are missing out.

Facebook: The iPhone allows users to fully maintain and update a school’s Facebook page while tracking usage and views through a user friendly “Facebook Pages Manager” app. I regularly use the camera feature to post pictures of various school events and also provide community members with “live” Facebook updates at different sporting events.

Google Drive: This powerful “cloud-based” platform has single-handedly changed the way that we think about word processing and collaboration. I regularly access the Google Drive app on my phone to take notes during classroom observations, to “collaborate” with colleagues throughout the day. Office 365 follows closely behind.

Facebook

10 Sep

This year we have made the jump into the unknown with the exploration of new media in a school setting. We are on Facebook.

Wanting to take a little bit of control over what is said and posted under our school’s name in the Facebook world I have set up an official Facebook page. The experiment is now nine months and 800 likes old. It is time for evaluation. Here are some of my thoughts:.

Communication with the community is important. It is part of the National Education Goals (NAGs) and annual goals this year. By the way they love the photos.

I want to role model to the community, not only students, that Facebook can be positive.

For a long time I have worried about the large number of our students set up a Facebook accounts and been in my office after misusing it. Often these accounts have no privacy setting activated and these kids are far too open with what they post and reveal. I am thinking a few of them will end up ‘liking’ our page, thus offering a great chance for me to have a good solid cyber safety conversation about why the heck they are on Facebook (with them and their parents).

It will be nice to engage parents, staff and ex-pupils in the vibrant life of the school.

So it is all about showcasing – and also pushing social networking accounts into a defined workplace arena which will stimulate considerable reflection on privacy and content. The following link is worth visiting. It is also well worth using as a staff meeting.

http://www.teacherscouncil.co.nz/content/teachers-social-media-website

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