My area of interest is the integration of technology in the classroom. This means that I was looking for examples of ideas for teachers to implement social media and collaborative tools in the classroom. The use of social media in the classroom helps support the ISTE Technology standards which are used by my school.
As I work in elementary, my students are not permitted to create accounts on their own due to company policies, GDPR, COPPA, and a host of other regulations that have been developed to keep students safe.
That being said using social media and collaborative tools in the elementary school, is not impossible but does require extra consideration. For example, with Padlet students are not able to create their own accounts but teachers can create walls for students to use provided they follow a set of guidelines developed by the school to ensure their safety.
Additionally, finding a full outline of a project proved to be difficult. Most sites provide ideas for using social media without necessarily providing a whole unit overview. This is understandable, especially in the private schools where such details may be considered property of the school. While I don't necessarily agree with this stance, it is understandable.
The Big Take Aways
The examples I found can be seen on Scoop.it (please use the filter to see the articles on social media).
The common thread that I found in most is that social media in the elementary classroom is used to open the world to the classroom and the classroom to the world. This is typically done through Twitter, Instragram, Skype etc.
The most interesting resource I found was the Mad about Mattering project. While this project is aimed for older students, it does provide a blueprint for teachers to develop their own globally collaborative project. It will probably be referenced as I work on the final project for this course.
Expanding my PLN
This week for my course, I had to join at least 4 new PLN groups focused related to my professional interest. My main focus professionally is technology in Education and I was easily able to find 4 groups to join and begin participating in.
The groups that I joined were all on Facebook and varied in terms of content and quality. Each group is a little bit different in terms of frequency of posts, interaction, size, etc. Part of this is due to the wild west nature of groups. Anyone can create them (which is great), but this also leads to a tendency for groups focusing on the same goal to be created. I noticed a lot of cross over in terms of the type of content and even focus across these groups. Perhaps one day someone will come up with an easier way to organize these groups.
I noticed that I tend to prefer to respond to people, rather than put myself out there. Especially if I know of a solution. This typical of my personality as it allows me to contribute and interact with others while not revealing any challenges or criticism of my ideas. I know I said that before but it does take time to get over insecurities.
Anyway, pictures of the groups I joined and the interactions that I made are in the slideshow below.
Visualizing my PLE
Another part of the assignment this week was to create a visual representation of our PLE or Personal Learning Environment. I specifically tried to focus on the tools that I regularly use to learn from other educators and to work with others.
I noticed a lot of overlap with the use of tools (hence some of the clutter in the middle. I also tried to represent my frequency of use with platforms (the larger the icon, the more interaction I have with it on a weekly basis.
It is no surprise to me the GSuite take up such a large portion of my own PLE diagram. I use it heavily each and every day for work (currently at a Google School). I wondering if this will change in the coming years as I move to a Microsoft Teams school.
I was surprised that Facebook came in second. However, during shutdowns it become a wonderful source of ideas. On top of that the Seesaw community groups are simply top notch.
In this weeks assignment, we had to look curate 25 articles about a topic of our choosing. For my projects, I decided to focus on makerspaces. Specifically I decided to provide articles that could be used to make a case for developing a makerspace in a school and considerations to take into account. To do this I made liberal use of the subtopic features.
The process of creating my curated topic was timely for me. I will be transitioning schools and will be responsible for developing two makerspaces. Having these articles clearly organized with questions, will help me when it comes time to make my case to admin and teachers.
Curating topics requires car and consideration. Unlike, the act of retweeting, liking, or sharing work using any of the variety of typical social media tools, curation tools, provide the opportunity for the curator to structure the articles in a way that promote deeper thinking, makes logical sense, etc. After going through this exercise I'm convinced of the importance of curation using curation tools.
For my own evaluation of sites to use for curation, I think some aspects will need tweaking to make it more applicable in the professional realm. I should add a section specifically for evaluating blogs as they can be a vital source of information.
Brendan Lea is an international educator with over a decade of experience working in Japan, Korea, and Kenya.