Monday, October 18, 2010

Facebook in Education?

Are you using Social Media/Social Networking in your classroom?

I don't know about you, but a lot of this jargon is getting confusing for me. What is the difference between Social Media and Social Networking? Should they/Could they all be used in your classroom?

After a great deal of research, here is my understanding of the differences:

Social Media is user-created media designed to be shared through social interaction. This can take the form of blogs, forums, wikis, podcasts, social news, etc.
Social Networking is the process of building a social structure of individuals or organizations. It doesn't have to be done over the internet. We engage in "unplugged" social networking all day long. It is primarily the system for the social interaction used to share social media. It can include Facebook, Twitter, Linked-in, MySpace, FriendFinder, Classmates, etc.

Looks like a confusion of the content with the process. Content being social media while process being social networking.  The funny thing is that each entity affects the other. Social media is determined by the content that will be interesting and the medium through which it will be shared. The structure of the social networking systems is determined by the media that is shared through them. I am beginning to refer to the "whole lot" of them as Social Technologies.
I was just working on some school work when I was interrupted by the periodic twirl of TweetDeck telling me that it has detected another Tweet from my designated searches.  Interestingly enough, it yielded a few interesting resources about Social Technologies in education.

Here they are:

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Online Community Professional Dev. strand at ITEC Brings New Perspective

Experiencing speakers from around the world.
On Monday, October 11 and Tuesday, October 12 at the ITEC conference here in Coralville, Iowa, we will demonstrate a novel form of Professional Development (PD).  We will watch 20-minute videos that leaders in the field have already made and then Skype with them directly to ask follow-up questions and begin a discussion.
The videos were created for the K-12 Online Conference that Wesley Fryer has been leading for the past few years. Instead of everyone coming to one geographic location, the presenters make videos which are posted for anyone to watch at anytime. We reviewed the videos of 2009 and identified outstanding videos in areas of interest to our ITEC members.
Once we identified the videos, we contacted the presenters and they have agreed to help us with this unique form of professional development. This is an exciting opportunity where educators can meet and discuss with leaders in their field.  To liven up the discussion, we will also have a back channel running (Chatroom) where the attendees will be able to discuss the presentation online while the presentation is running.  This is called Cover It Live.
While those located in the room will be able to enjoy the discussion, we have also placed a link to the video we will be watching and the CoverItLive back channel on a wiki page dedicated to them. Here is a link to the central webpage.
I will report more to you about this experiment but I primarily created this page so that the attendees and I would be able to have a central place to access the resources.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Shannon Miller - The Technology-Rich Learning Environment at Van Meter Community Schools Makes a Difference

I had the opportunity to visit Van Meter Community Schools a few weeks ago. Superintendent John Carver share with me the long-reaching vision that his administration team and faculty have been developing. It was an exciting opportunity to walk the halls of a school where students and teachers were bringing the world into their daily learning using their personal laptops.

Here is a 10-minute video of an interview that I held with Shannon Miller, their teacher librarian and technology director for the semester. Shannon is an avid Twitterer who is constantly sharing ideas and resources about education. I have a couple of more interviews that I will be sharing in the near future.

Shannon Miller - The Technology-Rich Learning Environment at Van Meter Community Schools Makes a Difference from Leigh Zeitz on Vimeo.

Friday, October 01, 2010

5 MORE TED Talks about Education and Learning: It's about Relevance

I LOVE TED.  No, I am not sharing any unusual amorous intentions. I just enjoy the wealth of genius that is shared through the TED network. 

I had a great response from you readers to the first 5 videos that I posted so here is another 5 videos on learning and teaching that I think you will enjoy:

Sugata Mitra shares How Kids Teach Themselves. He has successfully implemented student-centered learning throughout the world.   In 2007, he introduced his Hole in the Wall project that he has introduced in remote areas. He explores how children can learn through incidental learning. It is an innovative idea for learning about the essence of facilitating learning.

In his 2010 presentation, Child-Driven Education, Sugata Mitra talked about how he addressed the problem of having a great need for good teachers where schools don't exist. He provided a number of examples where computers were used to provide learning opportunities.  This is not about computer labs. It is about groups of children gathering around public computers.  My favorite quote was "Children will learn to do, what they want to learn to do."   Hmmm . . . . sounds like relevance is important to children as well as adults.  What do you think?

Arthur Benjamin's Formula for Changing Math Education  Arthur Benjamin questions the relevance of our secondary math curriculum. He suggests that we replace the calculus-oriented sequence with one that emphasizes statistics. It would be a huge upheaval of our present math system, but is our current math system still relevant to our students' needs?

Along those same lines, Liz Coleman issues a call to reinvent liberal arts education. She regrets the path that American education has take in emphasizing narrow pursuits of knowledge. She suggests that liberal arts need to be oriented to address real-world problems. She stats that "Deep thought matters when you're contemplating what to do about things that matter." Once again, it's ALL about relevancy.

A FUN presentation was given by David Merrill who Demos Siftables. Siftables are "cookie-sized, computerized tiles you can stack and shuffle in your hands." They put the opportunity for learning in the hands of the learners.  These tiles can do math, play music, and even talk with each other. It is an amazing opportunity for hands-on learning.

What do you think?  What did you learn from these videos?