Reflection

This course has been one of the most useful and beneficial courses I have taken in working toward my M.E.T. degree.  It was not an easy course by any means, especially taking it in the condensed format of the summer semester, but looking back over the past 7 weeks at everything I’ve learned and created has made me very glad I took this course.  We learned so much about so many different forms of social media that it will take me a while to really figure out which sites/applications I want to incorporate in my classroom and for professional development purposes.  Before taking this course I knew very little about social media.  Beyond having a personal Facebook page that I rarely use, I really never used social media personally or professionally.  

While there are so many great applications of social media in the classroom I have come to see that it favors some subjects more than others.  The applications in English and history classes are almost overwhelming, but when it comes to math (especially high school math), they seem much more limited both in variety and in quantity.  There are certainly ideas for incorporating social media into math classrooms, but considering the already incredibly limited amount of time I have to get through the basic curriculum and prepare my students for all of the new Common Core testing requirements unfortunately seems to leave little room for incorporating some of the types of projects I have found.  The smaller applications, like communicating with students outside of class via Twitter or a class site such as a Facebook page seem more manageable to me at this point, but I hope that as I continue to use social media I can progressively include more avenues.

Even though I don’t see myself become a social media guru in the classroom anytime soon, I am very excited about the professional development opportunities and resources I have learned about in this course.  From webinars to Google+ groups to following hashtags using Tweetdeck, I have seen so many different types of professional development options I was not aware of prior to taking this course.  I’m looking forward to expanding my personal learning environment and sharing what I know with my colleagues as a new school year is about to start.

In terms of my blog performance throughout this course I think I have done well.  I’ve never been one to blog for personal use (or professional unless required as part of a course assignment), so it doesn’t come very naturally to me yet.  However, I tried to meet each week’s blog requirements in a thoughtful way.  There may have been assignments where I could have gone more in depth in my blog, but with a brand new baby at home I did the best I could with the time I had available.  Overall I would give myself 70/75 because I feel as though I completed the blogging assignments on-time and to the assignment specifications, but I do see room for improvement.

Social Media Policies

To the best of my knowledge my school and county do not have a social media policy in place. There have definitely been discussion regarding social media, but they seem to be focused on how appropriate use of social media by teachers, or bullying issues between students. It seems like as social media is becoming more and more prevalent a specific policy outlining the counties social media rules and guidelines is important to have. With that being said, since there is no county-wide policy in effect now, I am going to focus more on guidelines I would like to follow for my school or classroom rather than the county as a whole.

For any policy to be effective there must be buy-in from the stakeholders. It is necessary for my students, their parents, and the school administration to all have a part in developing and enforcing the policy. Ideally I think it would be best to have a meeting with parents, students, and administration to collectively create and agree upon the policy. Without support of parents and administration it would almost impossible to enforce any policy, no matter how good the intentions. It would also be important to regularly review and update the policy as social media is constantly changing and the policy needs to be relevant. Policies will be enforced in accordance with the faculty and student handbooks.

The following guidelines are my proposed Social Media Policy for my school:

  1. Faculty and staff using social media for school or classroom purposes need to maintain professional social media accounts separate from their personal ones.
  1. Official school or student club/organization accounts are permitted but must have the approval of the administration and any use of the account must be monitored and approved by the club/organization’s advisor. This includes sports teams, in which case the coach is considered the advisor.
  1. Faculty or staff are responsible for maintaining a professional appearance when using social media, this includes checking for spelling/grammar mistakes as well as appropriate content.
  1. All social media accounts should be identifiable to prevent anonymity and increase transparency.
  1. Any content determined to be inappropriate will be removed and disciplinary action may be taken in accordance with the faculty and student handbook.
  1. Any type of harassment/bullying will be investigated and handled in accordance with the faculty and student handbook.
  1. Any dishonest or unethical behavior will be investigated and handled in accordance with the faculty and student handbook.
  1. All users of social media need to be knowledgeable of privacy settings to protect personal information.
  1. All users of social media should be cognizant of protecting the security of social media accounts by creating strong passwords and routinely changing passwords.
  1. All users of social media must respect copyright laws when posting content, and proper attribution should be provided to give credit to the original author or creator.
  1. Careful thought and review should be given to any content posted online as once something is online it is almost impossible to remove it completely.

Resources

Anderson, S. (2012, May 7). How to create social media guidelines for your school. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/how-to-create-social-media-guidelines-school

Anderson, S. (2012). Social media guidelines. Edutopia. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/social-media-guidelines-steven-anderson

Hagerstown Community College. Social media at HCC. Retrieved from http://www.hagerstowncc.edu/about/public-information/social-media

Social Media Math Projects

This assignment was particularly difficult for me. We were to find 10-15 projects or case studies related to our content area and grade level that used social media or social networking as a key feature. I am a high school math teacher, so depending on the year I could be teaching Intro to Algebra, Algebra 1, Algebra 2, Geometry, Precalculus, Trigonometry, Calculus, or Statistics, but even with many subject options I still had a difficult time finding actual projects and a couple of the resources I curated are a bit of a stretch or use similar things (Twitter especially). I’ve run into this problem almost every time I try to find relevant examples of using Web 2.0 technologies, and doing this search just made it even more obvious that there is a drastically smaller amount of social media projects for math than for nearly every other major subject. If I were and English or history teacher I would have been set, because almost every project I found was for one of those subjects, even science had more options, but math was very limited. Through this assignment I have learned that social media can be used, but sometimes it’s a bit of a stretch (unless you’re doing probability and statistics, then Twitter is great!). I’m sure as these applications continue to become more prevalent in classrooms there will be more examples and ideas to choose from, but right now it takes a lot of searching and weeding out to find actual social media projects for a high school math classroom.

Here is the link to my curation on Pinterest, and below is the complete list of resources as there were a couple I was unable to pin.

  1. http://shegeeks.net/incredibly-unique-twitter-projects-ii/

This site lists a few different projects that use twitter, but the one that is relevant to math is the one using TweetStats. TweetStats allows students to collect data on how and when someone uses Twitter and then analyze the data and draw conclusions or look for correlations.

  1. http://hillcrestmsfei.weebly.com/teaching-blog/math-integer-project-student-work

This project uses sites like Go Animate, Jing, and Educreations to help students make videos or cartoons to explain concepts about Integers. The videos can then be shared using YouTube.   Students had the choice on how to display the information to differentiate and allow for creativity, some just did posters, some made raps, but a specific format could be set to require students to use social media.

  1. http://mrseteachesmath.blogspot.com/2014/11/awesome-quadrilateral-project.html

This is an interesting Geometry project where students had to use social media (like facebook, instagram, twitter) or create a dating profile for a specific type of quadrilateral. They had to use the dating profile or social media page to explain the properties of the quadrilateral.

  1. http://www.curriki.org/xwiki/bin/view/Coll_Group_GeometryBetaTesters/TEDTalkHouseoftheFuture?bc=;Coll_Group_GeometryBetaTesters.CurrikiGeometryResources

This project uses the very popular community of TEDtalks videos (as well as many other online resources such as Khan Academy) to provide students with the background information help them complete this project on geometry properties relating to houses of the future.

  1. http://ghs2011.ning.com/group/googleearthinmaths

This project uses blogs and Google Earth. Students create a blog to explain how to use Google Earth to do measurements. They must take screen shots of their work and post and explain on their blog.

  1. http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/virtual-field-trips

This project is specifically related to math but depending it could easily be adapted for the math classroom. The project uses Skype or other video conferencing software to allows students to take a virtual field trip or conference with a professional in the field.

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fco8OwqkCYU

This project uses YouTube as a platform to share rap videos about math. This specific project was creating a rap about Geometry, specifically polygons. There are many other examples of math rap projects using YouTube, but this is one that shows what the project is about.

  1. http://tbarrett.edublogs.org/2008/03/07/plan-tweet-teach-tweet-learn-smile/

This project uses Twitter to gather data to help explore and explain probability and statistics. In this case, a teacher asked his twitter network a question about the weather and the class analyzed the responses, but the project could be modified for students to use Twitter.

  1. http://realteachingmeansreallearning.blogspot.com/p/facebook-in-math-class.html

This project uses Facebook as the forum to create and answer math questions. Students were given a topic and had (in this case a specific function) and had to use Facebook to explain it.

  1. http://realteachingmeansreallearning.blogspot.com/2011/05/twitter-for-math-nerds.html

I was unable to add this project to my curation because when I tried to Pin it, I got an error saying the invalid image data url and there is no image. This project uses Twitter to gather data to use for a regression activity.

  1. http://realteachingmeansreallearning.blogspot.com/2011/05/glogging-in-math-class.html

I was unable to add this project to my curation because when I tried to Pin it, I got an error saying the invalid image data url and there is no image. This project has students use Glogster to create a Glob with images, videos, etc about a specific topic (this one is about Trigonometry).

  1. http://realteachingmeansreallearning.blogspot.com/2011/03/twitter-like-in-calculus.html

This project has students using Twitter to (or something like it) to ask students questions and force them to really think about their responses in order to be able to explain how to solve a problem in a concise way since their responses are limited to a specific number of characters.

  1. http://www.slideshare.net/travelinlibrarian/twenty-five-interesting-ways-to-use-tw

This slideshare lists many projects using twitter, but the couple that particularly relate to math involve using Twitter to collect data, either by asking questions to the students’ twitter networks or using something like twtpoll to collect and analyze data.

Personal Learning Environment

Another part of this week’s assignment was to analyze and diagram our Personal Learning Environment (PLE).  This was an interesting assignment as I had never really thought about how all of the things I do online are related.  Here is what I came up with for my PLE.

PLE

After thinking about all the different things I use and/or am a part of I chose three categories to organize.  The first category is “Sharing”.  Almost every one of these could be considered sharing because in some way each one allows for sharing; however, the ones I put in this category were Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WordPress, and YouTube because for me, the primary reason I use them is to share what I think and see.  The second category I chose was “Organizing”.  Again, many of these allow one to organize information, but for me, Pinterest, Scoop.it, Diigo, and Delicious are mainly organizational tools.  The last category I chose was “Communities”.  I went back and forth on what to name this and whether or not to separate it between professional and personal communities, but in the end I decided to keep them together.  In my communities category I have Reddit, Google+, LinkedIn, and EdWeb.  For me, the primary reason to join these sites is because they focus on creating communities.  One could make the argument that all of these are communities in one way or another, and I don’t disagree with that, but for the way I use them it is for the community aspect.

In comparing my PLE to those of my classmates I see a lot of similarities.  I compared mine to Jennifer Oestreich-Frost, Cassie Davenport, Nick Urban, Darin Gray, Logan Willits, and Rob Johnson.  Everyone had a lot of the same sites/apps such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, but the way they are categorized and organized varied.  My organization was similar to what Cassie, Jennifer, Logan and Rob did in that we all had things grouped fairly similarly and even shared some of the same groupings.  Nick’s and Darin’s were the most unique, both in how things were grouped and the design they used, especially Darin’s.  I really liked Darin’s idea of looking at his PLE as a gateway and depicting himself on a journey between the old world of traditional learning and the new world of social interactive learning, very clever!  Overall, comparing my PLE to my classmates has reinforced to me that my online presence and participation is not nearly as strong as it could be.  I kind of already knew that because I barely use Facebook, never had Twitter or Instagram or any of the really common things, much less the other types of social media.  Having seen their PLEs makes me all the more interested in growing and developing my own!

Online Communities

This week’s assignment was to join at least four new online communities. The ones I have chosen are two EdWeb communities (Champion Creativity and Adaptive Math Learning), three Google+ communities (Mathematics Education K-12, Technology in Education, and Educators on Google+), LinkedIn, and Delicious.  From the limited time I’ve had so far to try each one of these communities Google+ is my favorite by far!  I also had no idea that LinkedIn offered groups to join, I always thought it was just a place to post your professional profile and connect with other professionals.

I posted 3 new links on Delicious, commented in the EdWeb communities, shared links or posted comments in the Google+ groups, and posted comments to the LinkedIn groups.  Definitely outside my comfort zone to be a participant rather than a “lurker”, but this course is really helping me get out there and get connected!

delicious 1,2,3 edweb 2 edweb google+ post google+ post2 google+ post3 google+ post4 google+ post5 linkedin linkedin2 webinar 5

Twitter Chats and Webinars

Part of the assignments for the past couple weeks has been to participate in Twitter Chats and Webinars.  This assignment was particularly challenging for me because my 2-month old daughter wants my attention all day and doesn’t care if I’m trying to attend a webinar or participate in a chat 🙂  Despite real life getting in the way, I was able to complete the assignment and I learned some interesting and valuable things.  Below are descriptions of the sessions I attended and screen shots of some of the ways I contributed.

Twitter Chat #1 Sunday at 9EST, #blogchat

It took me a couple tries to find a chat that was actually happening. I wanted to participate in #probchat, but nobody was saying anything, so I tried #ccsschat and same thing there. I tried #blogchat and that was the complete opposite! incredibly active. It was a challenging first chat to try to participate in because I could barely read the tweets they were coming in so fast. The topic was on personalities and how it affects your blog. Very interesting, but would have been better if I could keep up!

Twitter Chat #2 Tuesday at 12pm EST, #edchat

This twitter chat was about authentic learning and how it fits into a 21st Century school system. This chat was just as fast paced as the first one I attended, but I felt a little more comfortable with it. Having never used twitter before this course I’m learning how it works as I go, but I’m still so slow. I felt like anytime I saw something I wanted to respond to or retweet it took me so long to do it that there were so many other tweets that came in that mine was irrelevant. I’m sure it’ll be easier each time, practice makes perfect!

Twitter Chat #3 (4, and 5), #teacherfriends

I started out trying to participate in #mdedchat, but nobody was participating. So then I tried #STEMchat, and same thing there, during the next hour I decided to try #teacherfriends and this chat was incredibly busy! The topic was writing and there were lots of teachers sharing strategies and resources for writing. The tweets were coming in so fast I couldn’t read them all, but I didn’t see much as far as writing in the math classroom, but there were lots of great strategies I could try to adapt.

Twitter Chat #4 Wednesday 1pm EST #ipadchat

At first it looked like this chat was going to be another dud like a few I’ve tried to participate in, but there were several people interested in participating (including some from our class!) so we had an impromptu chat. Someone asked about formative assessment apps and the chat took off from there. Lots of people sharing apps and ideas, it was very useful! I don’t have much experience using ipads in the classroom, right now I only have one, but within the next few years my school district is implementing a 1:1 ipad program so I definitely need to learn. I’ll keep #ipadchat in mind in the future to learn from other people and hear suggestions/tools for using ipads in the classroom.

teacherfriends chat3 teacherfriends chat2 teacherfriends chat ipadchat2 ipadchat1 ipadchat edchat3 edchat2 edchat blogchat2 blogchat

The four webinars that I chose to participate in are listed below.

The first Webinar I attended was through edWeb.net on Adaptive Math Learning, called Using Data to Support Teaching and Learning in a Blended Learning Math Program. The three presenters were all from an elementary school. They discussed Dreambox and MobyMax, but focused mostly on Dreambox. This program allows students to work at their own pace and ability and based on performance Dreambox generates appropriate questions/content. The teacher has access to real-time data to use for flexible grouping, which the program will do for you. The presenters discussed the process they went through to implement this blended learning approach as well. This was my first webinar so it was interesting to see how a webinar worked. It was also interesting to participate by asking a few questions in the live chat. I also saw my PLN group member Darin Gray asking questions, which was pretty cool!

The second webinar I attended was called Contemporary Technology for the Autism Classroom. While I am not a special education teacher, almost every year I have had at least one student on the Autism spectrum in one of my classes, so I thought this might be beneficial. They discussed SMARTBoards (the projection system) with the Smart notebook software, SmartResponse system and SmartDocument reader, Gazepoint GP3 Eye Tracker, and software including TeachTown, Zac Browser, Boardmaker, Vizzle, video editing software (iMovie, Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere, Sony Vegas 13), and augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices such as Dynavox, tablets, many apps, and finished with emerging technologies (wearables).

The 3rd webinar I attended was on Strategies and Tips for Getting Started with Digital Storytelling. This webinar provided some tools, ideas and techniques for using digital storytelling with students. The presenter discussed giving students a picture and a sentence to go along with it, then changing the sentence to see how the story changes, “Storytelling Speed Bump” (new character, change setting, etc.), giving them a sentence that has to be in the story somewhere. This webinar was not very helpful to me professionally because as a high school math teacher we don’t write stories or have time to do things like this, and most of the ideas seemed geared more toward elementary grades. I also preferred the format of the other webinars I attended more as they did not require a paid subscription to obtain a certificate of completion.

The 4th webinar I attended was called Minds and Hearts Together – Essential Tools for Learning: Nurturing social-emotional learning in the early years. Even though I am a high school teacher I thought this might be a beneficial webinar because my school has recently started to emphasize relationship driven classrooms and making sure we are meeting students social-emotional needs. Also, as a new mom Iam interested on a personal level. The presenter discussed how to connect mind and heart in education. “Brains are built, not born”. She discussed SEL and the five domains of heart-mind well-being from www.heartmind.org as well as the importance of circle time. She also talked about the 7 C’s.

Webinar 1 Webinar 1a Webinar 2 Webinar 4 Webinar 4a

Digital Footprint

As a teacher I constantly hear my students talk about what they’re doing on social media. Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and anything and everything else, they are constantly posting, tweeting, uploading content about themselves and their friends. I grew up at the time when computers and cell phones were gaining popularity, but until college I never had much access to it. I grew up on a farm, we had dial-up Internet, no cable/satellite, and no cell phone. I never had the chance to document my whole life and share it with everyone, and I’m glad for that. I was a good kid and never got into trouble, but I can imagine I might not be thrilled with some of the things that could have been online if I was growing up today.

When I Google myself, both my maiden and married names, almost nothing comes up. There was a Whitepages listing, the faculty page for my school, a few old newspapers articles from the local paper for things like graduation, and my wordpress blog and LinkedIn profile I had to make for a previous class. Definitely nothing I mind being out there for everyone to see, and I’m glad about that. It took some time and trying several different things with my name, like my old high school, the high school where I teach, my hometown, etc., and I had to go through several pages before finding them, none were on the first page of the Google search. I know having an online presence can be a good thing nowadays, but I’m ok with there not being much about me online, and I’m definitely glad that there is nothing out there (at least that I’m aware of) that I regret.

I like that I have basically a blank slate to create the digital footprint that I want, and being nearly 30 I have the maturity to make sure it will benefit and not hinder me. For my students now, and my daughter in the future, I’m nervous for them. They don’t necessarily have the maturity and foresight to see how the things they’re doing and sharing today will affect them in the future. Even before my daughter was born my husband and I have already had several conversations about how to try and protect her when it comes to this type of thing. Who knows what type of technology or what the “new thing” will be when she’s old enough to start doing things that could impact her future, but hopefully we will be able to teach her to be smart about what she says and does online.