Friday, February 15, 2019

Harnessing the Power of Social Media

I originally wrote this post for the Greater Richmond Area Education Technology Consortium (GRAETC) blog.

Social media is everywhere in the 21st century. Most people are constantly looking at various networks and using them to stay connected to friends and family, get the latest news or interact with their favorite celebrity. But it also has a relevant and meaningful purpose in education when used properly. Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook are all filled with educators sharing ideas and resources. It can be a great way to expand your Personal Learning Network (PLN), engage your students in new and innovative ways and share the amazing things happening in your classroom.

To provide educators with information on how these platforms can be used in education, below are a series of HyperDocs introducing educators to three social media networks: Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Click each image below to view the full document:


Social Media Tips for Educators

Regardless of which one(s) you use, here are some tips to keep in mind when it comes to using social media platforms for the classroom:

  • Keep personal and professional accounts / pages separate.
  • Never follow or friend students or parents.
  • Think before you post. If you wouldn’t say it in the classroom, you should not put it online.
  • Know your school district’s policies regarding social media usage before starting any account for classroom use.
  • Be careful of posting photos of students. Some districts require signed media releases from parents beforehand. Otherwise take photos from behind or edit photos prior to posting by covering faces with emojis.
Benefits to Using Social Media in Education

There are also amazing benefits to using social media:

  • Many conferences now have a hashtag to use with posting from the conference (particularly used on Twitter). This allows folks that are attending as well as those not attending to easily find posts pertaining to sessions and follow along. For example, those attending the Virginia Society for Technology in Education annual conference recently used the hashtag #VSTE18.
  • The ability to connect with educators, not just locally but around the the world, can help expand your personal learning network (PLN), provide a platform to share ideas and discover new resources to use with your students.
  • It can provide a way to Inform parents/community/the world about the incredible things taking place in your classroom or school.
The use of social media can be immensely beneficial in numerous ways in the classroom – just be aware of and avoid the potential pitfalls. It has become a major influence and part of our lives, something that isn’t going away. We should be able to harness its power to help us improve our practice and learn from others.

Monday, December 31, 2018

2018 Reading List

When I was growing up I read constantly. It was an escape for me and a relaxing way to spend hours of time. For years I was rarely without a book but as I grew older I got away from reading as much and finished maybe one or two books a year if that.

Over the summer I bought an Amazon Kindle Paperwhite e-reader on Prime Day and since then have finished twenty books, more than I've read in easily the past ten years combined. The Paperwhite has become my near constant companion, going on vacation, doctor and other appointments where I might be waiting a while, even lunch on occasion. It's small enough to fit in my pocket and the battery life is amazing. Its small size is comfortable to hold and the screen is easier to read on than an iPad. I find myself many evenings winding down with a book instead of being on my laptop, watching tv, etc.

This was my reading list for 2018. All links are to the website Goodreads.
Thanks to the local library I also haven't spent anything except for the cost of the Kindle itself. The Henrico Library has a very good e-book collection and Henrico residents are also able to obtain library cards in surrounding systems. Because of that I have an account and have checked out e-books from Richmond, Chesterfield, and the Pamunkey Regional Library It seems to take them longer to get some new releases in e-book format but there's enough currently available to keep me busy reading for a long time. If you're on Goodreads, connect with me here.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Hour of Code Activities

This week, December 3-9, is Computer Science in Education Week. Students at my schools will will take part in the global Hour of Code event to introduce them to computer science. For those interested in pursuing it further on their own time I’ve put together a list of activities below.

Hour of Code - the original Hour of Code site.

Brain Pop Coding Games

Made w/ Code - Coding activities from Google.

Snap!- Drag and drop programming interface designed to help you learn how to program.

 - Series of educational games that teach programming.

Codester - Create your own dance moves with this coding application.

Crunchzilla - Series of more advanced activities.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

VSTE '17 Twitterers Day 3

See this post and this post for folks that added their Twitter names to the whiteboard the first two days of VSTE '17.

  Weds 8-pm