Monday, June 6, 2011

Social Media in schools

Do you believe that social media is here to stay? I do. I see many applications in business as a way for businesses to connect with customers. In business, it may even evolve into an essential community building tool. But I am not so sure that social media will play as an essential role in community building in education for day to day teaching.

Social media is the technology that makes online community building possible, not the community itself. It allows for the creation of and service to, online communities, where dialogue and interaction among community founders and members are possible. Some examples include but are not limited to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr, YouTube, Wikipedia, Picasa and MySpace.

It is true that electronic communication and social media create new options for extending and enhancing education. However, in surveying my students, they unanimously said that they would prefer going to a class to interact socially and academically with other students. Also, they said that they would want to have content explained to them thoroughly and receive immediate feedback to their work to ensure they are on the right path.

There is no question that a website may be a very important part of your online presence, but it is not a very effective community-building tool. However, a website can become a platform from which you launch and serve your student communities. Think of your website as your classroom where you teach students using social media as the place you guide and push the thinking of students.

There is one critically important thing for a teacher to understand about both of the online student community types: The teacher cannot entirely control community behavior. Members – students and prospects – control the conversation in the community. The teacher can only create and influence the community by establishing and demonstrating school community values.

As an addendum, professional bodies such as the Ontario College of Teachers recently posted a Professional Advisory: Use of Electronic Communication and Social Media. The advisory offers advice to teachers on how best to use electronic communication and social media with students.

Where do you stand? What’s your story?

image via My Crowd

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Social Media Accessing the Knowledge About Teaching

How do teachers, collectively, improve the common standard of teaching? How do they build the professional knowledge base for teaching?

Currently and traditionally results of research are first validated, then communicated in research journals to educators who in turn have to figure out how to apply the research themselves in a classroom situation. The model below shows the cycle produced by research.

Lesson Study

The key to lesson study is accumulated in a different way. Lesson study is carried out in a classroom; therefore the problem of applying findings to teaching is eliminated. First teachers describe the lesson to be shared with sufficient detail to other teachers so that they can actually use the lessons. We avoid the barrier of having to communicate in journals or try to apply what we have read. Instead this sharing of lesson can be replicated at different levels and promote discussion at staff meetings to see how students are faring.

The use of technology can greatly enhance knowledge about teaching in that the most useful information that can be shared can include examples of classroom lessons linked to theoretical understanding of teaching. We already have the tools to link together video, audio, images of student work, and commentary by researchers and others into a single integrated database.

Social Media Database:

With the above database:
* Curriculum developers could establish large archives of lessons that are organized around the specific structures of the curricula.
* Teacher groups could work on perfecting lessons, then post results of their study, including a complete video record.
* Other teacher groups could access these archives to inform their practice.

The idea is not new, but it needs to be streamlined more. The use of twitter , facebook and other social media might be the grass roots movement to these larger databases. It might even begin in your own school. If it is I would love to hear about it.

What's your story?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Understanding the Social Media Landscape

Fred Cavazza
divides different tools and services and groups them into categories

Publication tools with blogs (Typepad, Blogger…), wikis (Wikipedia, Wikia, Wetpaint…) and citizen journalism portals (Digg, Newsvine…)
Sharing tools for videos (YouTube…), pictures (FlickR…), links (, Ma.gnolia…), music (, iLike…), slideshows (Slideshare), products reviews (Crowdstorm, Stylehive…) or products feedbacks (Feedback 2.0, GetSatisfaction…)
Discussions tools like forums (PHPbb, vBulletin, Phorum…), video forums (Seesmic), instant messaging (Yahoo! Messenger, Windows Live Messenger, Meebo…) and VoIP (Skype, Google Talk…)
Social networks (Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Hi5, Orkut…), niche social networks (LinkedIn, Boompa…) and tools for creating social networks (Ning)
Micropublication tools (Twitter, Pownce, Jaiku, Plurk, Adocu…) and alike (twitxr, tweetpeek)
Social aggregation tools like lifestream (FriendFeed, Socializr, Socialthing!,, Profilactic…)
Platforms for livecast hosting (, BlogTV, Yahoo! Live, UStream…) and there mobile equivalent (Qik, Flixwagon, Kyte, LiveCastr…)
Virtual worlds (Second Life, Entropia Universe, There…), 3D chats (Habbo, IMVU…) and teens dedicated virtual universes (Stardoll, Club Penguin…)
Social gaming platforms (ImInLikeWithYou, Doof…), casual gaming portals (Pogo, Cafe, Kongregate…) and social networks enabeled games (Three Rings, SGN)
MMO (Neopets, Gaia Online, Kart Rider, Drift City, Maple Story) and MMORPG (World of Warcraft, Age of Conan…)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Infographic - Are we Digital Dummies?

Are we digital dummies?

One thing is certain about human nature...we’re born talkers. Our urge to communicate is universal. And now with modern technology we can meet anybody… anywhere… at anytime.

“I don’t think I’ve met a single person who says they’re happy managing the technology pace,” says Tod Maffin, a Canadian expert on technology use. “One of the problems with living in an ‘always on’ society is we perceive the need to always be on.”

Are We Digital Dummies? examines the risks associated with using our tech gear behind the wheel of the car, at home, as well as at the office where cell phone use in meetings have re-written the rules of etiquette. We discover that there is growing concern that our technology use has turned us into a distracted nation. That the emphasis is shifting from deep thinking to getting superficial knowledge fast and that despite what we think, we’re not very good at multi-tasking with all those devices. Our brains simply can’t keep up with all the modern demands for our attention.

Excerpt from CBC

Thursday, May 19, 2011

SUMMIT: Science, Entertainment, and Education - Sir Ken Robinson

Summit on Science, Entertainment, and Education - Sir Ken Robinson from The Science and Entertainment Ex on Vimeo.

On February 4, 2011, a carefully selected group of individuals met in Los Angeles to help us discover how film, television programming, video games, and other entertainment media can be systematically adopted to enhance student learning at the middle school and high school level. For more information visit Summit

Life isn't a production line

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

"If you are not prepared to be wrong, you'll never come up with anything at all."
Sir Ken Robinson, PhD is an internationally recognized leader in the development of education, creativity and innovation. He is also one of the world’s leading speakers with a profound impact on audiences everywhere. The videos of his famous 2006 and 2010 talks to the prestigious TED Conference have been seen by an estimated 200 million people in over 150 countries.