Hello, everyone. As we get closer and closer to the holidays, we know that this course is slowly coming to an end. I have learned so much and am taking a vast amount of new information and resources with me as I move on. Before this course, I had always heard that social media was extremely valuable to utilize in the classroom, but I was not knowledgeable about the appropriate ways to implement it. I honestly did not know where to begin. This course was dedicated to all things social media, which gave me some wonderful ideas of how to provide students with enriching educational experiences with the use of social media tools, such as Facebook, Twitter, Diigo, Google Plus, and Skype. I also learned how to utilize awesome resources such as Canva and Edmodo. Today, social media is something that most students are vastly familiar with in their day to day lives. In my experience, integrating these tools into the classroom heightens the overall motivation rates and raises engagement levels. Below, I will discuss some projects that I found particularly rewarding throughout this course, and some ideas that I will take with me outside of this class.
Throughout Module 1, we explored and joined the class Facebook, Twitter, and Diigo groups. I quickly learned how easy these resources made sharing information and collaborating with my classmates. I truly cannot believe that I lived without Twitter as an educator for the past 4 years. Early on in this class, I learned that Twitter makes it so easy to obtain several educational resources in the form of websites, pictures, videos, inspirational quotes… you name it! I love the fact that I can type a hashtag into my Tweet Deck, such as #ipadapps, and numerous posts with this hashtag appear. Before this class, I did not even know what a “Tweet Deck” was! It opened my eyes to this huge world that I did not even know existed. The value of Twitter is one of the biggest lessons that I have learned throughout this course and I cannot wait to continue using this resource in my future years as an educator. In Module 2, the idea of a PLN or Personal Learning Network was introduced and again, I was not familiar with this terminology. We formed a PLN with a few other students in the course and I had the pleasure of working with Chris Denny, Carma Rios, and Kristi Christensen. Throughout the course, we worked so well together and created some projects that I am very proud of. One of the most vital aspects of a PLN is to take one another’s ideas seriously and to respect each other. I felt that our PLN went above and beyond in that category and the assignments that we completed together conveyed this well. My favorite project with my PLN was our creation of curation principles using Google Docs. We immediately established our roles within the project and dove right in. Working through that project made it clear that we all brought different, unique aspects into the group and that is what a PLN is all about. In the future, I am planning on establishing my own PLN’s in mathematics to continue learning from others.
Module 3 introduced the idea of digital footprints, and how critical it is for individuals to be mindful of their own digital footprint. I enjoyed the reflective process of this assignment and also enjoyed creating my 10 steps to maintaining a positive digital footprint with Piktochart. Piktochart is a resource that I have added to my own personal toolbox. I love the various pictures, fonts, and formats that are available to showcase anything of your choice! This was one of the most beneficial projects due to the fact that our world is flooded with technology and maintaining a professional, responsible image online is more crucial than ever before. The ideas that I obtained throughout this assignment are ones that I will continue to relay to my students. Module 4 was an exploration of curation, which refers to gathering and organizing content regarding a specific topic in a mindful way. I chose to utilize Scoop It (another online resource that I was unaware of before) and curated resources about assisting English Language Learners in the classroom. I appreciate that this course often gives us the opportunity to choose our own topic. This made the project so valuable and I enjoyed reflecting about a topic that is particularly important in my junior high classroom. I came across some helpful tips in assisting these learners in various formats. We also were given the opportunity to self-reflect and create a self-evaluation. After completing this, I realized that it is very important that the resources included in my curation process have reliable and valid references. We were also to fill out an evaluation of the projects of our PLN members. Opportunities such as this gave me the chance to see how my group members went about the project. Their innovative ideas sparked some imagination in my mind. For example, Kristi curated the topic of encouraging positive self images in women. What a valuable and eye-opening topic, as it is relevant to so many.
One opportunity that we were given in Module 5 was to join and participate in various online communities, such as those within Google Plus. I was able to interact with individuals of various backgrounds, locations, and areas of education with the common goal in mind of helping students succeed. In Module 6, I researched and explored several different specific ways in which schools around the world are utilizing social media strategies and succeeding. I appreciated the fact that we needed to find actual real world case studies of this occurring, not just hypothetical lists. This gave a much more authentic aspect to the week’s assignment and gave me some great ideas of how to implement successful social media projects into my own classroom, relating them to mathematics. Module 7 encouraged us to, with our PLN, create a mini-unit designed around social media tools with plenty of opportunities for student interaction and collaboration. The most beneficial portion of this project, in my opinion, were the peer reviews in which we created a screencast providing a group of our choice with feedback. I enjoyed being given a choice, once again, in both the screencast tool that I used as well as which mini-unit I desired to explore.
It is clear that there are numerous valuable lessons that I have obtained while being a graduate student in EdTech 543. I hold my head high knowing that I am walking away with numerous new ways to help students and to engage them in math class. I am confident that I deserve a grade of 75/75 points for my blog posts throughout this course. I worked very hard to make certain that my posts contained all of the requirements, as well as my own personal spin throughout. I engaged in a great deal of reflection, related each assignment to my passion in the junior high mathematics classroom, and am very grateful for the chance to have been in this class. Thank you all for such a fantastic experience! I look forward to graduating this upcoming May with a Master’s degree in Educational Technology. One semester to go! 🙂