Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Social Networking: Final Reflection

Final Reflection:
When reflecting on this course, I quickly realize how much more beneficial it was than I ever expected it to be. I originally chose to take this course knowing that I was pretty familiar with a lot of social media sites, but knew I wasn't quite sure on how to successfully bring them into the classroom. This course was able to really help my confidence with that and I'm excited to try using some social media in my classes in the future.

Even though I came into this course knowing how to use tools like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google apps, I also realized that there was a lot I didn't know or had never considered. One huge takeaway for me was the importance to create a positive digital footprint. Not only is this important for me as a teacher, but it is also important for me to teach my students. I can learn even more myself by growing my personal learning network and being a positive member online. Through doing this, I can be a positive influence for my students for their own social media usage as well. I also was able to see how much help virtual professional development can be compared to just a few years ago. Technology is becoming so much more prominent in schools that it is also allowing virtual professional development to be given the opportunity to help teachers by giving them an easily accessible place to encourage one another and share thoughts or ideas with each other.

The assignment that required us to make our own social media policy was also extremely beneficial. The school I work in will have a Chromebook in every student's hand in two years time. With that said, it's extremely important for me to begin to think about the policies that will need to be in place as we continue to use technology more and more. Whether that's just a policy for my class or even for the school, it definitely needs to be a subject that is brought up within the staff over this coming year. This assignment will give me the opportunity to bring ideas to the table and just allow me to remember the importance of safety on the internet for students as I begin to use it more in my own classroom.

Overall, I feel there are huge benefits from all of the assignments we had. They allowed me to learn a lot of things I didn't know and they also give me ideas on how to incorporate social media into my classroom while still allowing learning to go on. Some ways I see me using what I've learned in this course within my own classes are with the use of Twitter, Google Apps, Google Classroom, and blogging (just to name a few). All of these platforms allow students to share their own work, collaborate, and give feedback to one another. I've found with teaching high school students, Facebook really isn't "in" anymore, but using these other platforms could definitely work and allow them to have fun while learning. 

I would also say my main goal from this course to take back into the classroom is the student creativity and reflection pieces. When looking back on this course, I see how beneficial the blogging portion has been. It's allowed us to show our creative side with making our PLN diagram and creative expression while also letting us reflect on our own work. These are huge components of the learning process and could allow students the ability to think more on their own about the material and express their thoughts in writing. Considering that I'm a math teacher, getting students to write about their work and enjoy doing so could be a huge benefit for them. 

In the end, I'm more thankful for this course than I could have ever imagined being. I truly can't wait to take and apply what I've learned within my classes to benefit my students' learning while also making the learning fun.

Self-Assessment:
When assessing my own blog performance for this course, I would give myself 75/75 points. I may not be the best writer (again, remember I'm a math teacher), but I posted on time every time I was supposed to. I also made sure to include all components that were required of me. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Social Networking: My Classroom Social Media Policy

Below, you will find the social media policy that I made for my classroom. I decided to make one specifically for my classroom with the help of my school's Bring Your Own Device Policy and other resources referenced as well that can be found below. When searching my school district's policy, I could never find a clear-cut social media policy and therefore decided to make my own for my individual classes. Before ever using this, I would definitely want to get feedback from my coworkers, administration, parents, and students. I also believe that my fellow peers in this class could provide great feedback as well considering we are all researching the same material right now. I feel that this type of policy is a very serious yet needed one so I would want to make sure it covers everything that it would need to. I could easily share this in person with others to get feedback or even make a Google Form that could allow people to leave feedback with their name or anonymously even if they prefer.

When it came to making the actual policy, I decided to pick a theme as I feel students relate better to themes that may be easy to remember. Through knowing I needed to include at least ten policies, I played with words that I could make an acronym out of that would relate to the overall idea of the policy. Through that idea, I came up with "But first, let me 'take a selfie'." I thought this theme could be funny for students and therefore encourage them to actually pay attention to the policy and read it. It also explores taking a selfie in a different way by having the student make sure they appear well online and have their own positive digital footprint. I feel being safe and smart online is a lot about looking at one's surroundings and one's self so this theme seemed to fit that idea well. I also decided to keep my 11 policies short and to the point. If there is anything I've taken away from teaching high schoolers so far is that they hate when the directions are long. Therefore, I knew they probably wouldn't read a policy either the longer it became.


References


Social Media Guidelines. (n.d.). Retrieved July 10, 2017, from http://www.johnston.k12.nc.us/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=3907999


Social Media Policy. (n.d.). Retrieved July 10, 2017, from https://www.sewickley.org/page/policies/social-media-policy





Social Networking: Social Media use within Math Classrooms

Initially, when we were asked to research 10 to 15 educational projects that successfully used social media as a tool in our content area, I got excited to see what success stories I would find. However, in the first few hours of research, I realized I wasn't finding much at all. Through talking with my professor via email, I decided to broaden my search from searches specific to Algebra 1 or Geometry to just math in general. Upon searching this way I was able to find so much more. I also began listing specific social media sites within my search to get a wide variety of tools being used. Through my research and early frustration, I was able to find posts about Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Edmodo, Skype, and multiple blog platforms being used successfully for math. You can find my curation on all of the ideas I found at the following link: http://www.pearltrees.com/mskmjohnson/social-media-math-classrooms/id17954523.

Through reading all of these articles and blog posts about success stories, I found an overarching theme. The goal was to make learning fun yet successful for students in all types of math classes and to broaden their math vocabulary while doing so. These are three areas that I would really love to improve within my own classroom and now I have some great ideas to take with me come this fall. While all of these uses of social media seemed to make the learning fun, through really reading them and looking at student examples, it can be seen that students are really grasping the math concepts on a higher level and also seem to be putting more effort into their work. I believe that it helped students put that effort in knowing they were using technology that they have grown up using.

The Twitter and blogs seemed to have a theme of students writing in math, giving feedback to one another, and sharing their own thoughts or questions on math topics. Edmodo was used to flip the classroom but in a way that allowed students to still communicate with the teacher and each other while doing so. Rather than communicating with just their own classmates, the post I found about Skype had students communicating with students from another math class as well. Then the uses of Instagram and Snapchat really seemed to take students thinking to another level where Instagram was used to post word problems students came up with themselves and Snapchat was used to capture an image to use to solve a problem. All of these platforms and ways of usage are great for the math learner and I can see myself incorporating any of them within my class. Even some of the posts that weren't specifically about high school math I could easily flip and manipulate to a topic that my students will learn about. These will be great ways to make a more positive and fun learning environment for students and I'm excited to try some of them in the future.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Social Networking: My PLE Diagram Reflection


Reflection:

When I first read that one of our assignments this week was to make our own PLE diagram, I initially wondered how I would make mine different than others yet just as creative. I began to look at the models given to us with the assignment and decided to go with the Collecting-Reflecting-Connecting-Publishing Model. Once I decided which model I wanted to use, I tried to think of ways I could represent the model creatively. After writing it on paper and focusing on the fact that there were four main groups within it, the game Connect 4 came into my head. I thought that not only was this a perfect way to represent my diagram, but also a perfect way to represent myself within it. I personally love games, challenges, and competition which you have all of within this fun game. Just like the goal of the game is to "connect 4", the goal of a PLE is to connect as well. 

I decided to represent the overall idea with the game pieces used in Connect 4. The four main ideas within the model were the red chips within the game that make you win by connecting 4. Then I used open spaces to represent my communities. Initially, looking horizontally was how I did the grouping of my communities within each idea, but as I did it, I realized really any of the communities could be in any location. Most of these communities can be used in multiple ways which are why I love them and decided to include them.  

From this assignment, I have realized how much I have learned about PLEs and also how many great resources I have come across within learning and creating my own. Some of these communities I knew about already, but the majority I have never used at all or used to help myself grow within education. It is great to see how this assignment has allowed me to reflect on how much I have really learned so far within this class. 

Comparison:


Above you can see PLE diagrams from six of my peers. When comparing my PLE with those of my classmates, I realized that most of us have a lot of communities in common. Some of the communities we have in common are Twitter, Facebook, Diigo, Google Apps, and blog sites to name a few. I also noticed that four of the six peers also only listed each community they chose once within their diagram where Kim and Kristin both decided to put them in multiple places. As stated in my reflection, like Kim and Kristin, I do believe most communities could go in multiple places so I like how they decided to show that within their diagrams where I only stated that in my reflection. I also was able to see some communities my peers thought to include that I didn't and also how we all ended up including different amounts of communities in total. Some communities that my peers included that I did not are Pinterest, Moodle, Instagram, Facebook Messenger, Google+, Voice Threads, and a few others. All of these are also great ideas to include as communities and some of them I would have never thought to include myself so it was great to see others had thought to do so. Overall, I'm very impressed with the diagrams of my peers and I am glad to see that they have learned a lot through this process as well.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Social Networking: Live Virtual Professional Development

After completing the Twitter chats and webinars, I can really see how they both are a beneficial tool for professional development. Personally, I feel I enjoyed the Twitter chats the most. I enjoyed the webinars too, but I really liked how within the Twitter chats it was more of an open conversation between everyone involved. On the other hand, the webinars had a chat box, but it was more for introducing yourself and questions it seemed than anything else. What I found really neat though was how a lot of them tied in technology. Some of the Twitter chats I attended's main question was technology based and a couple of the webinars brought it up as well. 

Throughout doing both Twitter chats and webinars, I found myself getting more confident in my participation. It never hurts to ask a question or include your thoughts and most of the time, you'll find multiple people who agree with you. I also really enjoyed how on the Twitter chats people would reply to other peoples' tweets that they agreed with or thought were great ideas. It was encouraging when people would do that for me and then allowed me to feel confident and reply to others as well.

Overall, I felt encouraged and got some great ideas through both types and I'm excited to take some of it back into my classroom. I feel I found the most encouragement in trying more project based learning (PBL) within my classroom as well as using technology for a purpose and not just to say you've used it.

Below you will be able to see my summaries for all of the sessions I attended as well as a Google Slide presentation on my involvement within the sessions.

Twitter Live Chats


#edchat – June 13th – 7 pm EST
The first twitter chat I attended was the #edchat where the topic was “Considering the recent negative spin social media is getting, has it been a positive/ negative experience in education?” I really enjoyed this chat and the outlook each individual had on the topic. I enjoyed how people would reply to my tweets asking me to go further in what I meant or stating they agreed with me. I was not only able to contribute my thoughts, but also easily see everyone else’s. I also enjoyed how everyone was going into both the positive and negative sides of social media versus just choosing one.

I personally contributed that I believe that social media can have a positive impact in education as long as it is done properly. I also stated that as teachers we should be examples to our students of what is acceptable social media use and to hold them accountable as much as we possibly can. Others agreed with me and some even explained how social media was fully blocked by their districts which I found quite interesting.

#plearnchat – June 19th – 8 pm EST
The second twitter chat I attended was the #plearnchat where the topic was “How can a maker mindset help create an environment that encourages deeper learning for STEM and STEAM?” I really enjoyed this chat and the multiple resources shared by others throughout. It was a very smooth transition from question to question and it was great balance of involvement that helped it not move too fast so I could read others’ responses as well.

I was able to contribute my thoughts for each question that was given. There were six questions total. I loved how this chat was very student based and how we should encourage students within their learning. It was also great to reflect on not only the role us as teachers play, but also the role our classroom and environment play in the students’ learning process.  I also expressed how feedback from other teachers and school leaders can play a beneficial role in the process. A little while after the chat, I also found out that I was the chosen participant to win a signed copy of the moderator’s book! Along with the book, I was told I’d get a somewhat of a “shout out” I guess you could say on the website. 

#edtechchat – June 19th – 8 pm EST
The third twitter chat that I attended was the #edtechchat. The topic of this chat was “How can technology support the transformation?” This chat was probably the fastest paced one yet as there were a whole lot of people involved. I found it a little overwhelming at first, but got the hang of it! In this chat, there were six questions we were asked to give feedback on. With this being my third chat, I was able to start recognizing some of the others involved in this chat from previous ones as well. Also, the moderator this time happened to also be the moderator of a webinar I participated in last week which I found really cool!

As far as my actual involvement within the chat, I was able to give feedback on all of the questions. Some of the questions I even tweeted multiple answers for as all of my thoughts couldn’t just fit into one! One thing I was able to reflect on through this chat was how fortunate I am to have a great group of school leaders who back me. From this chat, I was able to see that unfortunately, that’s not always the case. 

#gtchat – June 20th – 8pm EST                           
This was my fourth twitter chat and the topic was “Education Options for Gifted Students Acceleration.” The whole chat was based around what options gifted students really have and how skipping a grade level isn’t the only one to consider. The options, fears/worries, and outcomes were all discussed within this chat through a total of six different questions. Specifically, I really liked how in this chat, the moderator also gave multiple answers themselves to the questions being asked as well as shared multiple resources for most questions.

I was able to answer all of the questions within this chat. I also commented on another person’s response that I really agreed with. I hadn’t thought to bring up that perspective myself within this chat so was glad to see it show up and stick out to me. Another person also commented on one of my answers agreeing with me and I was able to also reply back to them within the chat. Overall, this chat was really interesting and I really liked how it was catered to a more specific student, the gifted one. I feel sometimes those students can be overlooked and this chat helped remind me that they are just as important as the struggling ones.

Webinars

Transforming Difficult Student Conversations into Meaningful Connections
edWeb Team                    June 14th, 4:00 – 5:00pm EST
The first webinar I attended was about transforming difficult student conversations into meaningful connections. I personally really was surprised how much I enjoyed this webinar. I have never done a webinar before in my life so I really didn’t know what to expect, but this webinar definitely set the bar high for future ones. A lot of the webinar was about how social media affects ours students today. There were two polls within the webinar that asked for our feedback which was great as well. We also watched a YouTube video through it that was embedded and were able to see what students’ takes are on social media (the positives and negatives). Through the second poll, we found that Instagram seems to be the most harmful to young people and how our students strive to have a lot of followers and likes on this platform. She also brought up what students call “fomo” which is also known as the fear of missing out. This is so true and I hear my own students always talking about how they don’t want to miss out on anything.

I feel I was able to contribute to the webinar in multiple ways. They asked us at the beginning to comment and introduce ourselves and where we were from. We were then also asked to complete the poll questions. I even was able to explain one other attendee’s question through the chat of what’s the goal of the students’ ratios of followers to following. Overall, I really enjoyed this webinar and gained some great insight from it as well! Once the webinar was ending, I also went and followed the guest speaker, Rosalind Wiseman’s, twitter!

Webinar: Ethics and Communication Challenges Facing School Leaders
edWeb Team                    June 15th, 3:00 – 4:00pm EST
The second webinar that I attended was about ethics and communication challenges that school leaders face. I enjoyed how it brought up examples of situations in the past that are considered to violate the code of ethics for a teacher. It was also helpful to hear ideas to help with these types of challenges. The guest speaker, Julie Thannum, touched on what she called the “4 C’s.” These were culture, character, communication, and credibility. If we focus on those and how to set clear expectations for ourselves in situations, then it can help a lot.

Within this chat, there weren’t as many chances to bring ideas up as most people were just fully listening. However, I was able to put in my thoughts in a couple of places. I originally made sure to introduce myself again and then also made a statement in agreement when she said many teachers don’t know their district policies and that we should constantly read back over them. I think this is so true and a great idea to make sure you’re up to date with your own districts current policies. I also liked how she suggested setting your own standard or your own idea of “your 100” if you graded yourself in certain situations. This is a great way to help us think beforehand how we want to handle a situation and what we expect ourselves to do within it. 

Webinar: Hacking Project Based Learning
Alliance for Excellent Education             June 15th, 4:00 – 4:30 pm EST
The third webinar I attended was about hacking project based learning. It was lead by Thomas Murray, Ross Cooper, and Erin Murphy. This webinar was a little shorter, but I feel that I left so inspired in such a short time. I’ve always wanted to try project based learning in all of my classes, but have gotten nervous to do so especially in my Algebra 1 classes as they have a state test in May. The ideas and encouragement given in this webinar definitely encouraged me to step out and try project based learning within my classroom. Some great ideas were given such as make the project based around the students’ interests instead of your own and also to use a progress assessment tool throughout to help you individually assess each students’ progress.

The chat itself wasn’t used at all for this webinar and only a few people communicated through twitter. However, they suggested that we could submit questions through their site so I went ahead and did that. The question I submitted was “how would you suggest a teacher who has state testing to use PBL well within their class? I personally fear PBL would take so long that I would lose valuable days for other material.” To my surprise, my question was the only one brought up live on the webinar. Thomas read my name, where I was from, and then presented the two guests with my question. For this to be one of my first few webinars, I admit it was a little exciting to be the chosen question. I also really appreciated the feedback I was given. They said that it’s a fear a lot of teachers have, but they have found that it actually can save time in the end. Their answers seemed to lift a huge weight off of me and helped me to build confidence in trying it in the future! I also tweeted a little bit within the webinar, but overall I was just too busy taking it all in like everyone else seemed to be doing as well.

Webinar: Motivating and Engaging Students: Stride and the Role of Games in the Classroom
Fuel Education                                  June 20th, 3:30 – 4:30 pm EST
The fourth webinar I attended was about motivating and engaging students through an online learning tool called Stride. I actually found out about this webinar through my teacher email. I was invited to it from there. With that said, I assumed it would for sure relate to my courses, but it technically is for grades Pre – K through 8th grade. I did not find this out until during the webinar, but decided to keep watching because 9th grade Algebra 1 is pretty similar to 8th grade math in some of the main ideas. The whole webinar was about Stride and what it has to offer to a student and teacher. It allows students to do practice quizzes and problems and in return earn coins for the game arcade within it. The program seems really similar to a program the school I work at currently uses for our students.

As far as interactions within the webinar, there weren’t many opportunities to do so. There was no twitter hashtag and the chat was disabled for viewers. The only way we could “chat” was to send questions to the company over the webinar and we would get a response from them. No one else could see our questions and all we could submit was questions. Even though that was the only option, I did submit two questions. One question was about the pricing for the program and the second question was to see if they had a similar program that was meant for high school specifically. Overall, the webinar was great but I do wish it had more chat features within it. 



Friday, June 30, 2017

Social Networking: Algebra 1 Resources Curation

Here is a link to my Algebra 1 Resources curation that includes a variety of resources from articles, to lessons, to online tools that can be used within the Algebra 1 classroom.

http://www.scoop.it/t/algebra-1-pbl-and-inquiry?nosug=1


My self-assessment of my curation is pictured below.

 





Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Social Networking: Final Reflection

Final Reflection: When reflecting on this course, I quickly realize how much more beneficial it was than I ever expected it to be. I origin...