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A recap of a presentation that I gave at GaETC.



GaETC 2013November 7

Laramy WellsNewton High [email protected][email protected]

Social media offers great opportunities for learning; bringing together the ability to collaborate, access worldwide resources, & find interesting ways to communicate in one easily accessible place.

In 2011, Nielsen reported that cellphone users between 13 to 17 years old were the most avid texters among any age group. They account for around 3339 texts per month. According to a 2010 survey, more than half of middle & high school students (51% & 56% respectively) own a cell phone. In addition, 34% of middle schoolers & 44% of high schoolers own a smart phone.

So why are we trying to ban a device that so many have?

We want to ban them for the same reasons we should be using them. They can gather information, take picturesand are just ever-present. Above all, texting is the preferred method of communication of teens.

Texting appears to us as a distraction. If theyre textingtheyre not paying attention. Texting is the new way of passing notesso we as teachers dont like it.

However, with practice & guidance, we can use this tool for good. Youll need to create policies for acceptable use & guidelines on exactly what you expect. The tools we will discuss are mostly designed with the classroom in mind & even though Twitter isntthere are ways.

(Information collected from edutopia, the Pew Research Center, & Project Tomorrow)

Text Tools

Teachers are afraid to text because they dont want to share their personal number with the students. But you CAN text without giving out your personal number!

KikutextKikutext allows teachers to send text messages -- to students and/or to parents -- to offer reminders & updates for class. Students/Parents connect to your account via a special code that you provide. No one ever sees the others phone number. Kikutext allows for two-way communication. Messages can even be scheduled to send at a specific time. Unfortunately, it only allows you to send 60 messages per month to no more than 2 classes and 15 users.

Remind101Remind101 is very similar to Kikutext however it allows you to send unlimited messages to 10 classes and any number of students/parents. Unfortunately, Remind101 is only one-way communication from the teacher to the student/parent.

My Big CampusCombine the interaction of Facebook with the security provided by LightSpeed. Students can link their account to their cell phones in order to receive important information. Notifications can be set up be received via email or text message.

NOTE: If you are not familiar with My Big Campus, you should speak with your districts technology director to see how your school system can join.

Google VoiceAllows you to give out a phone number without giving out YOUR phone number. All you need is a Google account. You select a number & give that number out. There is an app for Google Voice as well as third party apps that will connect to your account. You can return calls from your Google Voice number as well as send & receive text messages. When someone calls your Google Voice number It can be forwarded to your home/cell phone. This is not required. Caller must state their name before you answer. It can be sent to a special voicemail message. You can prerecord an outgoing message. Messages are stored in your Google account. They can be accessed on the computer or through the app. Google attempts to transcribe the message.Twitter

Twitter may have started off as a fun social site for keeping up with friends & sharing updates about daily life, but its become much more for many users over the past few years as the site has evolved & grown.

Twitter Facts Twitter launched on March 21, 2006 Twitter has about 500 million users. There have been 170 billion tweets sent. 400 million tweets are sent per day. Average number of tweets per user is 307. 60% of Twitter users use the mobile app.

These days, Twitter is a powerhouse for marketing, communication, business, & even education, letting people from around the world work together, share ideas, & gain exposure.

I think [Twitter in the classroom] would be well received if it were used in a good way. I think if [teachers] are using it just for the sake of using technology, students are going to complain about it. Chris Machielse, student at the University of Michigan

Why Twitter is a good enough study tool? (A brief discussion) Teachers can connect to their students on a wider level as well as on a personal level. Interactions can be taken beyond the classroom as Twitter is omnipresent in our phones & laptops. Allows for customization of learning depending on the student i.e. differentiating learning for different students. Can be used to quickly connect to multimedia resources (e.g. YouTube or Vine) & turn education into edutainment. Gives new opportunities to connect to other learning communities & new educational content. The very nature of Twitter brief & to-the-point makes for rapid broadcast of learning.

Creating a HandleYou need a handle that people with associate with YOU! Avoid things like @BigNasty75 or @Rednecker4Life for your teacher/professional handle. Remember that you (and your students) are creating a brand. Your handle establishes who you are & youll be perceived. However keep in mind that with 500 million users, handles are hard to come by & you may need to be creative.

Using HashtagsHashtags are searchable keywords allowing you to keep track of a specific topic.

Ways to inform students of hashtags. Place hashtags on assignments & handouts. Post hashtags in the classroom. Tweet out a hashtag & its explanation/meaning. Students should be following you already. Put hashtag information on My Big Campus.

When creating a hashtag for your students or parents to follow remember Keep it short. Tweets can only be 140 characters & the hashtag takes some of those away. Keep it simple. Needs to be something they can easily remember or connect to you or the topic. Make it descriptive. The hashtag should explain itself.

Examples1. I number each of my assignments so whenever a student has a question, they can tweet it using the specific hashtag.a. Assignment 42 can be followed with #Wells42b. The hashtag gives my name so its linked with me & 42 is the specific assignment.i. YesI would have to change this if another teacher with the last name Wells did the same thing.2. Place hashtags in the notes.a. I put them on pages in their Interactive Notebooks.i. #INB8p6 refers to page 6 on the Unit 8 notebook.3. Create a hashtag for general questions.a. Student can use your handle to ask a question but my students know that #askwells tweets have the possibility of being displayed in class for group discussion.b. Try to make a hashtag shorter than your handle so the student has more characters to use for the question or comment.

HootsuiteManage your social media with this easy to use dashboard. Hootsuite allows you to manage multiple accounts including Facebook. Track hashtags as well as brand mentions without having to go in & out of the application. You are allowed to schedule messages to be sent at the time you want them to be seen.

Hootsuite can be accessed via the website or mobile app. The website & the iPad app will display several feeds at once but the phone app will only show one at a time. Each account will be grouped by tabs; however the tabs can be united so that you can view multiple accounts on one screen.

VisibleTweets & TwitterFallThese sites give a unique way to display tweets for your own use or projected for a class. These are perfect options to use as a back channel for your discussions. Just search a hashtag or keyword & any & all tweets will be displayed for discussion & review.

Okaylets be realour students are using Twitterour students have cell phonessome even have iPads or other tabletsIve even had students come to school with their laptopso


A Digital Bulletin BoardThis is probably the easiest way to get you, your students, & parents comfortable with Twitter, My Big Campus, or any other application you choose to use. Remind101 is best suited for this task since there is no need for replies. Remind students of an upcoming due date, quiz, or test. Start these a few days prior. I suggest at least a week. Let students know what materials they need for class. Students love to know whether they will need their book or not. Students like to know if a calculator will be needed in case they need to borrow one. Reminding them of a test date does this too since they cant use their phone as a calculator on the test. Inform parents when students will need special materials. Highlighters, clothes to pain in, shaving cream, etc. Tutoring sessions Remind students/parents of days & times that you will be conducting tutoring sessions. Let them know of unexpected changes to your tutoring schedule. Quicker than posting a note on the door. More like to be seen than be heard on the announcements. Helps students/parents plan in advance for transportation. Availability Online Inform students of times youll be available to quickly respond to tweets or posts. Tell them when youll be in the chat room on MBC for questions & discussion. Hashtag Info As discussed before, it is good to remind students of what hashtag to use so that their questions & comments will get answered. General School News Even if your school has its own Twitter account or website, its good to reinforce important school new by retweeting it or posting it yourself.