Posts tagged Twitter
We all have to make choices. As teachers we must constantly make them. How will we spend our time in and out of class? What resources should we use with our students, and where should we go to get them? How will we foster effective learning? Social Studies educators, like me, often wonder, how will my lessons foster responsible citizenship among my students?
Implementing Social Media into the Classroom
I recently chose to investigate the possibilities and challenges of utilizing social media to improve my social studies teaching. I define social media as any service where content is user generated and shared with fellow users of that medium. I was already using several social media services (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Instagram) in my personal life, but I did not utilize them professionally. While I didn’t understand it at the time, I’ve found this choice, albeit a quite a bit less dramatic and violent, like the one Neo faced in The Matrix (1999):
Like Neo, I had no idea of the ramifications my choice to select the red pill of social media. When I began to use it I discovered a world that I did not know existed, but, fortunately, it was not the painful reality of Neo’s “real world.” Over the last couple weeks I have uncovered a wealth of resources, ideas, and colleagues. Yet it has not been without challenges. I will provide a brief summary of my some of my experiences using social media for school. I hope these experiences might provide some insights for others embarking upon a similar journey (or maybe even remind social media veterans what it is like for neophytes).
Exploring New Forms of Social Media
While I made the choice to investigate social media, I have not been alone. For the past week I asked my senior social studies methods students to accompany me. I began a week before our first class by immersing myself in a variety of social media services by using them 5-10 hours a day. I created a Facebook page, a new Twitter account (@WSUSocStudies), an Edmodo account, and sought out people and organizations on these forums. I checked out books from the library and searched databases for academic articles on the topic. The academic materials provided some interesting perspectives, but they didn’t show me what to do. Just like Morpheus explained to Neo, “no one can be told what [it] is. You have to see it for yourself.” Only by using social media can one really understand the possibilities it might afford teachers and students.
I initially used my linked Twitter and Facebook pages to collect and share resources with others. I searched organizations with which I was already familiar (e.g., the History Channel, the Gilder Lehrman Institute). I retweeted interesting links, or posted YouTube videos or websites that I had previously used in my own classes. I made use of Scoop.it to find new and interesting articles.
I found many good resources, but I also felt overwhelmed. I was inundated with a mass of information, and keeping up with everything on just scoop.it and Twitter seemed like too much. I enjoyed much of what I was finding, but I found myself without enough time in the day to keep up with all my professional responsibilities along with this new cyber world. Not only was I overwhelmed, but I also wondered, what is really different about social media then just searching the internet? I was also nervous about how my students would feel accompanying me on this journey (see next blog post). The social studies methods course is designed to help students think about theoretical and practical aspects of teaching social studies, and I was dedicating the first few weeks of our course to exploring these tools so we could practice using them all semester. I certainly did not want to waste their time, and there’s always anxiety when you try something new and different with your students, especially something that is banned in many schools. Like Neo, I was initially unsure of my role in this new world.
The Turning Point: Connecting with Other Educators
The turning point came when I discovered that the real power of social media was not in simply collecting resources and ideas, but in connecting with others whom are on the same journey. I have met a community of social studies educators passionate about teaching, and using social media tools to improve their craft. All of a sudden, I not only found resources, but support, insightful recommendations, answers to questions, and invitations to opportunities to continue the conversation. I didn’t just search for resources, I began receiving and providing them to people as we had conversations about wise practices. My online use went from a largely one way gathering of resources to the development of transactional relationships and the discovery of an online community.
After 10 days of social media use I found myself participating in a Twitter social studies chat (#sschat) where educators from across the country were sharing resources and ideas. Four days later social media leaders in the social studies – Shawn McCusker (@ShawnMcCusker) of Illinois and Melissa Seideman (@mseideman) of New York – were imparting ideas and answering questions with my class via Google Hangout videoconferencing. They showed my class and I specific ways we could successfully use social media and technology to become better teachers. As they answered my students’ questions I was amazed how social media made this all possible.
I still have an incredible amount to learn, but after only two weeks I can’t help but feel like Neo at the end of the Matrix – after he finally believed and understood how the Matrix works. He realized that the rules of the old system didn’t apply to anymore. He saw that a new world of possibilities existed. I am excited and unquestionably satisfied with my choice to journey into the rabbit hole of social media. I recommend that you make the same choice.
- Participate in social studies chats on Twitter using “#sschat” every Monday for one hour beginning at 7 Eastern/6 Central; Follow moderators: @ShawnMcCusker, @Ron_Peck, @Becky_Ellis_
- Although I’ve had some problems, I’ve found Edmodo to be an interesting way to set up a class. It has a Facebook interface, but provides a closed, and presumable safer, environment for classes.
- I have found Google Drive (formerly Google Documents) and Google Hangout invaluable resources to connect with students and colleagues.
Dan Krutka, Ph.D. is middle level/secondary social studies chair at Wichita State University in Wichita, Kansas. He taught high school social studies for six years previous to beginning in his current position in 2011. He can be followed/contacted at www.facebook.com/WSUSocialStudies, on Twitter @WSUSocStudies, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Unfortunately, teaching has the potential to be an isolated career in terms of collaboration and support. Before I discovered Twitter I felt alone with my teaching and was most certainly not as reflective. I feel extremely privileged to have discovered #sschat on Twitter. I love observing people’s reactions when I say I use Twitter for professional development. When I was interviewing for my job my husband and I sat down and carefully constructed how I was going to approach the way I introduce twitter as a PLC. I wish more preservice teachers knew about this wonderful asset. Twitter has provided me with a wonderful opportunity to connect with dynamic educators from around the world and learn interesting ways to engage my students.
Twitter (#sschat) has truly become one of the most inspirational ways I have created my own profesional learning community. Every Monday night at 7 PM EST teachers from around the country log into their twitter accounts and follow the hashtag #sschat. Every week there is a new discussion prompt or topic. It’s pretty AMAZING to say that I connect with hundreds of AWESOME social studies teachers from around the country EVERY week… actually everyday. Some people joke that #sschat is one massive department meeting, one in which I truly enjoy “going to.” Monday become my favorite day of the week, which is pretty rare for most educators.
In addition to the wonderful #sschat discussions and the #sschat Ning Website has become an amazing resource! If I am teaching a lesson and need help I can post a question or a problem and I instantly get a response and resources from teachers who teach the same subject. My lonely job is no longer isolating but inspiring! I hope to “see you” Monday Night!
Video Introduction to Twitter #sschat - http://www.screencast.
Unfortunately, teaching has the potential to be an isolated career in terms of collaboration and support. I feel extremely privileged to have discovered #sschat on Twitter and the EdCamp conference model. I love observing people’s reactions when I say I use Twitter for professional development.Twitter has provided me with a wonderful opportunity to connect with dynamic educators from around the world and learn interesting ways to engage my students. Twitter (#sschat) has truly become one of the most inspirational ways I have created my own profesional learning community.
On Saturday, May 5th, 2012 I attended EdCampNYC at Francis Lewis High School. EdCampNYC was one of many unconferences occurring in the United States. For me, EdCampNYC and EdCampSS was an amazing experience and one in which expanded/reinvigorated my teaching methodology and repertoire. It is important to remember we are all learners – teachers and administrators as well as students and we must constantly adapt and reflect on our own teaching and learning. Here is the reflection page from EdCampNYC, where there are free resources, websites, presentation links, etc.
I plan on attending two EdCamps this year:
- EdCamp Lower Hudson Valley (New Paltz, NY) August 14, 2012 website
- EdCampNJ (North Brunswick, NJ) December 1, 2012 website
I led the session about mobile devices in the classroom at EdCampNYC. Here is my Powerpoint from the session.
Twitter is a wonderful professional and educational resource for education.Twitter has assisted our students and teachers to extend learning beyond the classroom. Students learn better when they are engaged in the curriculum through a social setting because the environment is inclusive for all students.
Twitter has revolutionized the learning environment and truly brought the world into the classroom. The ability to “watch” the events as they happen around the world is so valuable. My classes “watched” the twitter feed as #occupywallstreet movement occurred and the #syria hashtag of the uprising in Syria. The experience was priceless!
Unfortunately schools across the country have blocked Twitter, which is preventing our students from collaborating and interacting with each other in a 21st century medium. That’s where Twiducate comes in!
For schools where Twitter is blocked or students are too young, teachers can incorporate Twiducate into the classroom. Twiducate is a wonderful FREE resource for teacher to incorporate a twitter like program into their learning environment. It is a safe medium to extend the classroom beyond the school day and incorporate social media into the classroom. Using Twiducate, teachers and students can be in a specific group, post, comment, and view classroom discussion. Twiducate is a private and safe social network to engage your students. Check it out today!
Citation and images: Twiducate
After school I board a train to go to #EdCampSS held in Philidelphia on Saturday March 24th. I don’t think I’ve been more excited for a conference/workshop. I am very excited to meet teachers from around the country that I have been socially collaborating with on Twitter.
When I tell most teachers about Twitter for professional development I often get a head scratch or two. Most people assume Twitter is how friends stay in contact or a place to share what you had for lunch with the rest of the world. Twitter has enabled me to enhance my professioanl learning community and most of all it has improved the way I teach social studies. I have found twitter to be one of the best ways I collaborate with other teachers and I have truly discovered a network of other teachers just like me.
Here is a list of Educational Hashtags
Social media is becoming embedded in our lives. Research has shown that there are many benefits to using social media to enhance instruction in the classroom. Students are more engaged using social media, and it is truly a wonderful way to spread information and make connections with students. Implementing social media into the classroom is very simple and can be done using a variety of simple to use resources: