Social Media for Education

They may not be new, but they are new to me!

Rationale

Since I currently use Facebook for personal sharing, Twitter for professional sharing, and Pinterest for bookmark organization and sharing, I really don't feel like I need something new to take the place of these particular tools. Additionally, I've tried to use all three with students with no luck. Students simply do not want to #beuncool by sharing with their teachers in their personal digital space. Therefore, I decided to research some collaborative tools that would not invade this all important student digital space, and I found two wonderful resources that I could incorporate next year. I'm currently considering two possible new jobs, one at a 9-12 school and another at a K-8 school, and I've chosen one new network for each of these possible postitions.


Before settling with two biggies, I did some poking around in Tumlr, Google+, and Diigo but settled on both Google Classroom and Class DoJo in the end.

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9-12 Student, Parent, and Teacher Collaboration

Commendations:


Apps for Education are great because they provide a platform for customizable, secure collaboration with only one username and password. Students and teachers have been longing for this seamless integration, and the best part is that these resources are absolutely free. I have used Edmodo in the past, but my potential new school has employed the 1-to-1 concept with an attempt to integrate Google Apps and Classroom. Apparently, they have not been very successful with this particular endeavor, and I have my suspicions about the reasons for this. In my role I could help with this integration in order to encourage and support teachers in their creation of assignments, calendars, and an overall digital classroom space where they can make announcements, and start class discussions. The advantage of Google Classroom is that students can locate all of this information for each of their teachers in one location. Technology will help both teachers and students to work smarter--not harder.


Recommendations:


Google has not yet integrated Google Calendar to the assignment feature of Google Classroom, which is really unfortunate. Both Edmodo and Schoology both have this feature. Students should be able to see each of their assignments for all classes on the calendar, and teachers should be able to see these events as well. Essentially, Google Classroom could take the place of the all important lesson planning notebook which can be misplaced so easily. To me, this calendar is the most important part of the piece, and I cannot give it high ratings without it.


Reflection:


I would try this new space in the upcoming year, but I suspect that I would miss some of my Edmodo features. Because the school has already encouraged this platform school-wide, I would take it, run with it, and hope for the best!


Moyer Rating: ****

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K-8 Student, Parent, and Teacher Collaboration

Commendations:


ClassDojo is an online platform that allows for collaboration with parents in order to ensure the behavioral success of students. Students can earn points based on individual behaviors: time on task, participation, or even talking out of turn. One potential new position for me needs help with a behavior management system and philosophy. I suspect that I could ask for volunteers to pilot the program, offer them an ipad (there is very little technology in the school) and ask for reflection and documentation in order to encourage and ensure growth. Dojo will compile data based on teacher and parent input, and teachers, parents, and students all have accounts. Teachers can send private messages to parents and students, and teachers can collaborate when they share students. One strength of whole school use of this platform is that school leaders have access to all teacher and student information, so that administration can easily recognize areas of need and support (for classroom behavior). This would enable a more proactive than reactive discipline policy.


Recommendations:


ClassDojo makes for easy communication but could be used punitively which would defeat the purpose of the integration. Often teachers will make threats about negative DoJo marks which would turn this fun little idea into a simply merit and demerit system--yuck! However, if teachers were to provide feedback at different intervals throughout the day, it could be positive. In theory, every kid should earn more positive than negative DoJos, for no kid misbehaves ALL day--right?


Final Reflection:


I can see the benefits of using this program, and I would go for it, but I think that I would start small and then expand rather than initiate school-wide implementation. Small successes are more powerful than the potential for an epic fail.


Moyer Rating: ****

Rachael Moyer, AppState Doctoral Student

Each rating is on a 5* scale. As you can see no resources received all 5 out of 5.