Posts Tagged 'social media'

#LikeForLike: Social Media for Educators

GallBladderzBy Taylor Gall — My Instagram is usually blowing up with potential followers (not), so I didn’t flinch when I got a follow request from an account last Tuesday evening.

I briefly scrolled through it, and decided not to follow back because:

  1. I didn’t seem to recognize the person’s name.
  2. They had posted a lot of pictures of basketball players.
  3. And pictures of Ariana Grande?
  4. Wait.
  5. Oh no oh no oh no.
  6. It was one of my 7th grade students from field placement.

I jumped out of my seat at the library and immediately blocked the account, and switched my Instagram to private.

Yes, you heard me: I didn’t have my Instagram on private. Gallbladderz was open for public viewing.

I had never posted anything “inappropriate” on Instagram- there were no drinking pictures, no swears in the captions, nothing that I wouldn’t want my Grandma Judy seeing. Because of the tameness of my account, I had never felt the need to hide it from the world. Additionally, in order to find me you either needed to be my friend on Facebook or know to look up “Gallbladderz” on an Instagram search.

I immediately emailed my cooperating teacher. I didn’t want to breech the student-teacher relationship guidelines, and I wanted to make sure she knew of the situation right away.

Turns out she knew more about the situation than I thought. She herself had several “follow” requests from students.

How can this be? When I was in 7th grade, I had neither desire nor the means to creep on my teachers with social media. The socialization of teenagers is changing, though, and with it has come an increased use of social media.

When I was first using AIM as a 6th grader, I had 14 contacts, all of which were my closest friends. These days, 6th graders have 1,200 Instagram followers and don’t know 80% of them. The internet safety and caution that I knew as a middle school student has gone out the window. Now it’s all about likes, follows and #hashtags.

So the message is to be careful. Lock down your social media accounts; make it hard for your students to find you. Staying separate from your teenagers on social media will maintain your sense of professionalism in the classroom. They don’t need to see what’s being posted on Gallbladderz.

Social Media for Preservice Teachers

SocialMediaBubblesBy Clare Jorgensen — Like many students here at Marquette, I am very attached to my phone.

I try my best not to run into anyone while walking down Wisconsin Avenue when I’m texting or surfing the Internet, and I usually spend my small breaks from studying on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Buzzfeed, or Twitter.

And, while I admit I’m a bit addicted to technology, I do use some of my time to prepare for my future as a teacher.

On Facebook, Twitter, and Buzzfeed, I follow different teaching pages as well as old friends who became teachers. These pages get me excited as I prepare to become a teacher, and I can also bookmark certain pages or articles I find interesting. Ultimately, it will be important that I put my own personal flare into my teaching, but for now it’s good to see what’s out there and what has worked for others. Through these same outlets, I can also see information from the Marquette College of Education, including news and other important information.

Overall, though, Pinterest is my favorite tool for preparing to be a teacher. I spend some of my time looking up different business outfit ideas that I could wear to Field Experience, and eventually to student teaching. I have a board of places to visit in Europe if I study abroad in Madrid next semester. I have study skills pins, which I intend to utilize during my years here, and I hope to give the information to my future students. Lastly, I have a “Teacher tools” board where I put different ideas for lessons in a high school Spanish, some different book ideas, and also some craft ideas for a classroom. Many of my pins come from the College of Education page, where they have different fun boards for everyone.

I’ll be honest — I don’t spend all of my social media time devoted to preparing to be a teacher, but I think the ways that I do use it to inform my teaching are important.

When I start preparing lesson plans, I can have these tools readily available, so it is important for me to learn as much about them as possible.

Not everyone uses social media as often as I do, if at all; but I would definitely recommend looking into Pinterest so you can see the many ideas for education-related projects and lessons it has.

A Positive Side of Social Media

downloadBy Matthew Olinski — There have been many recent examples of online bullying.

I did research on this very topic for my master’s degree.  It seems that students are using technology to subversively attack each other in cyberspace.  And it has some very destructive and potentially permanently damaging results.

However — despite their potential for misuse —  it would be a mistake to dismiss social platforms out of hand.

I recently created a twitter account. (@molinski1126) This is one I use strictly for professional reasons — for example following the Marquette College of Education — and honestly, it is not something I frequently  engage in. However, it has also provided a way for me to respond to students in another medium.  Coincidentally, I follow some staff members at my school, the official school twitter account, and other various groups.

I learned something novel and interesting when I created this twitter account.  There is a group called OCHS compliments (@_occompliments) dedicated to giving out compliments.  I’m not sure if this is something only this group does or if they got the idea from someone else, but it is a great idea.

There are several things that make this twitter account very positive. First – the compliments are genuine. There is abolutly nothing insincere about the tweets they send out.  I asked a student on student council who I suspect is one of the contributors. He claimed not to know who it was.  Secondaly, it must be student driven, because they have a lot of insider knowledge into the things students are doing in and out of school.  In addition, the compliments do not have any connection to any specific “social” group within the school.  They literally compliment anyone and everyone that they can – recognizing someone’s birthday or a nice victory in a track meet.   It has taken the power of social media and used it for something very positive, and it has done it in a way that a large majority of the students have access to.

So I want to give a shout-out to this group on twitter and encourage more groups like it. Maybe a student council or other group can create this sort of positive experience in your school.  It might just be one of those things that some students need to help them out and it is an example of the positive side of the social media realm.

Snapchat Stress – Catching up in an age of social media

coverBy Sabrina Bong — When I was a junior in high school, I received an email that said, “Your friend has invited you to connect with her on Facebook! To accept her invite, click here.”

At the time, Facebook was still an enigma, something that only a few people had joined. I balked for a while; after all, who did I need to connect with on Facebook? All of my friends were in my classes. But when senior year rolled around, I decided to give in and join the Facebook world.

Suffice to say, I am a little slow sometimes on getting with the trends. I did not get a Twitter account until my junior year of college. It wasn’t until my senior year of college that I actually understood how to use it. Some people think it’s a little ironic that a Broadcast and Electronic Communication’s major would be so hesitant to join the social media crazes. I guess I saw it as my way to see how powerful the website became. Once I had gauged how useful it could be in my life, I would embrace it with open arms. But until then, I treated social media with a certain degree of wariness.

Through this school year, I have seen the benefits and the detrimental effects that social media can have. This is especially true with Snapchat.

If you do not know what Snapchat is, here is what I have learned: It is an app designed for people to send pictures, videos, and texts to a specific list of people. The sender can also choose a time limit for how long the recipients can view whatever they sent (between 1 and 10 seconds.) Once the text, video, or picture is opened, the recipient has however many seconds to view it. Then, it is deleted from Snapchat’s servers and the recipient’s device, never to be found again.

I’m sure that this app creates friendships and gives people the opportunity to share their inside jokes, as well as offer some privacy. I, however, cannot find too many redeeming qualities for this app, especially after several incidents that occurred this past week.

I had three students come to speak to me about bullying via Snapchat. One student told me that a few older students had sent him a Snapchat that told him he was worthless. One student told me about a Snapchat that showed a distorted picture of her, along with a text message that made rude comments about her weight. Another said that several people had sent her a Snapchat message saying that she should kill herself. By the time my students managed to find someone to show the message to, it had disappeared, leaving only pain and humiliation for the recipient.

When I heard this, I was disgusted. I had never imagined that people could be so hurtful to others. Here was an app created with, I’m sure, good intentions, and now it is being used to terrorize people. Bullying is infusing itself even more into our personal lives. This is no longer an issue that just occurs at school; it is now affecting students at home as well. To make it worse, students are now doing things that eliminate any trace of evidence, leaving us struggling to find out who is the one sending the messages.

My goal for the next semester is this: I hope to teach my students more about social media. I think it can be hard for my students to see the long-term effects of social media, like Facebook and Snapchat. I also hope that through this teaching, I will be able to show them how social media can promote compassion and friendship, not just drama and pain.

To Friend or Not To Friend? Teachers and Social Media

–By Claudia Felske

It’s not that I’m anti-Facebook.
It’s not that I’m anti-technology.

I encourage my students to use cell phones in class to discuss, research, write, but I have yet to find a sweet spot using Facebook with students.  Of course I know the Facebook No-No’s. I know better than to friend current students, but beyond that, the line gets fuzzy.

Three times I’ve dabbled in Facebook with students and three times I‘ve been burned:

  1. Strike One: two years ago, when recent graduates sent me a facebook invite, I accepted. It was fun staying in touch, seeing how they were doing in college, keeping my finger on the pulse of teendom.  But soon enough, I ran across a rant about my AP Class: too hard, too much reading, what did it have to do with real life anyway? I was surprised by my reaction – how much I took this to heart: ‘this” being my life, my livelihood. “This” being why I stay up way too late at night, why I bring a stack of papers with me everywhere I go, why I feel perpetual guilt for not spending enough time with my family. So I revised my Facebook policy: no “friending” former students until post-college age.
  2. Last year was strike two.  I violated my policy and let one recent grad slip in; a beloved student and the daughter of a friend and colleague. Things were fine until her friends realized that we were friends, and the requests started streaming in. Clearly I had to reestablish the line. Fresh out of my classroom, our teacher/student roles were too recent. And once friends with a recent grad, their friends (many who are still in high school) see my business. FB is a place where I want to be a non-teacher. If I feel ike ranting, I want to rant.
  3. Third Strike: This year, my beloved Freshmen blew my mind. I assigned a “This I Believe” essay modeled after the National Public Radio Show. It required that they write and read aloud an essay about what they believe. I had hoped this assignment would inspire the sublime – that it would force students to examine themselves and their world in a profound and meaningful way. This year, my 5th year of teaching “This I Believe’s,” it happened. After being touched by the work of one of their peers, who opened up about a deeply personal topic in her essay and courageously read it to the class, my freshmen, with no prompting from me, rewrote their essays – getting much more personal, opening up, writing about what matters most. They bound their essays, wrote me a cover letter that made me teary, and ceremoniously presented it to me in class. And so, when they told me they started a facebook page with their essays and invited me to join, I hesitated, talked it over with them, and ultimately joined, hoping to affirm and extend the inspiration they clearly had for writing and the camaraderie clearly forming . That was about two months ago. Today, a single comment posted on that page pierced the heart of their poorly-labeled “fearless leader”: “So guys, what are we going to do when we actually have to try hard to pass English next hear?” OUCH. BIG OUCH. ENORMOUS OUCH. These are accelerated students. I expect that they will have no problem passing. I expect them to strive for excellence on each assignment. I expect that my job is to encourage and nudge, not threaten or penalize.  And I would expect that I’d have thicker skin after 18 years of teaching.  And so, strike three, facebook is out.

Public and private spaces exist for a reason. With social media playing an increasingly powerful role in our culture,, teachers must be deliberate in making and walking the public/private line.

There’s an inherent paradox in education: we are told to get to know our students, to personalize their educations, to appeal to their interests, but we’re also rightly told to leave our personal lives and biases outside the classroom and to maintain a professional distance. A tough balancing act.

Students need a place to blow off steam, to be themselves, to say things they can’t say in school. We need to give them their space and we need to accept that not technology tool is effective and appropriate to use with students.

And so, farewell Facebook. Continue reading ‘To Friend or Not To Friend? Teachers and Social Media’

“My Professional Development Happens on Twitter”

By Ryan Manning — If you own a computer, which I’m pretty sure you do, since you’re reading this, you’ve probably noticed the massive trend of YouTube videos that document “Things a specific population (for instance: white girls, grandmothers, carnival workers, etc.) Say” which comically attempt to comment using sweeping generalizations about whatever subgroup they feel an expert on. Some of them are funny, especially if you can relate to them. Some of them aren’t really. But that’s how the internet works most of the time.

From the early days of the listserv, many Student Affairs professionals, in an effort to stay current in order to best relate to and meet the needs of the modern college student, have sought to become experts of social media, and many of us use whatever downtime we find in our days to update our Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, or what have you, accounts. We also have a knack for scouring the internet for hilarious YouTube videos and sharing them with everyone we know, typically other Student Affairs professionals. We have real jobs that keep of busy most of the time, I promise.

So, it ought to come as no surprise that this new string of videos caught on pretty quickly in student affairs circles, partially to share and laugh about, but eventually to also use as teaching tools. What are we doing to help our students realize why the content of a “Things Girls say to Gay Men” video is worthy of so many head shakes? It’s a great way to frame conversations about stereotypes, multicultural competence, or just thinking before you speak. Ideally, this is why we’re on YouTube so much. I encourage more educators to take this approach, familiarize yourselves with today’s hot topics, and find ways to use them in your day-to-day work with students.

But that’s not really why we’re on YouTube so much.

We’re also on YouTube to find out that there are videos like “Stuff RAs Say,” “Stuff Resident Directors Say,” and “Stuff Student Affairs Professionals Say.” Needless to say, I find these videos more hilarious than anything. It’s been great to share “Stuff RAs Say” with my friends who were RAs with me in college and laugh about how, even four years later, we still can laugh about waking up in the middle of the night imagining that the duty pager is going off.

At a recent staff meeting with my current RA staff, one of my RAs wondered, “Someone I’ve never met today told me that they could tell I was an RA just because I used the term ‘active listening.’ Is that an RA thing to say?”

I couldn’t help but laugh and think about how unique of an experience it is to be an RA, or any student leader on campus. Then I went back on YouTube and watched Stuff Hall Directors Say to RAs, to laugh some more. It shows you that while my work as an RD can be grueling at times, especially given the massive spike in alcohol, drug, and mental health-related crises around the country, laughter really is the best medicine. And nothing makes me laugh more than thinking about how often i utter the phrase, “so how does that make you feel?”

So that’s why nearly everyone you know who works in student affairs tweets more than you think is humanly possible while still having a full-time job. For the most part, social medial is an amazing tool for those of us in higher education to connect and share ideas and best practices for the wide variety of institutions that we work at, from large to small, urban to rural, and I can imagine that it could be used the same for K-12 educators and administrators. And by better understanding the ways in which our students communicate and the messages that they are receiving, we are better equipped to help deliver the most comprehensive out-of-class education possible.

But, we also just like watching hilarious videos.

A Social School: Social Networking Transforms Learning

By Steve Ryan — Education has certainly progressed from the one-room school house hundreds of years ago; however, one fundamental tenet of schooling has been the connections and relationships that students form as a part of their education. Previously, students and teachers created these relationships before school, during lunch, and in extra-curricular activities. However, in the 21st century, educators are charged with a task to foster and develop these relationships within and outside of classrooms and as a part of instruction.

Tom Vander Ark, a partner in a fund focusing on innovative learning tools and formats, writes in his blog post “How Social Networking will Transform Learning, “In the coming decade, most middle and high schools will adopt some version of 1:1 technology, online learning will play an increasing role, and learning experiences will be conducted and coordinated on social learning platforms.”  Thus, the time to now to bring social media into the classroom.  As more and more schools deploy 1:1 models, the technology no longer becomes the barrier.  With this rapid change sweeping education, educators need to keep up with it by adding social media into curriculum and instruction. Vander Ark continues “Instead of a classroom as the primary organizing principle, social networks will become the primary building block of learning communities (both formal and informal).” In an effort to break down the barriers and walls that many schools currently embrace, educators in the 21st century must start looking beyond the walls and confines of a school building and encourage students to be proactive in their quest for knowledge.

Most are familiar with the networks of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube (major social media giants); however, in addition to those networks, I’d like to specifically call attention to Edmodo, which was developed by teachers and IT professionals for schools to utilize as a more controlled alternative to social networking (an administrator’s dream come true)!  Edmodo allows students to micro-blog, share links and resources, submit assignments – it is a true virtual learning environment.

Imagine a classroom where students are conducting their conversations online via Edmodo or Facebook, keeping current with news events by following news sources on Twitter, and speaking with real-life experts on their content via Skype — everyday!  This is the way of the future to make learning come alive and be more applicable for students. This technology handbook for teachers by teachers provides a more in-depth look at the many benefits of social media and technology integration.  On a personal note, I was on Twitter the other day reading through my timeline when I came across a former MU classmate and friend, Joe Finn, Jr., who was tweeting about how his students were on Edmodo that day having a discussion (during the summer!!). This is a true testament to the power of social media.

Our students have a desire to learn and share their knowledge and opinions with others, as educators, we need to harness that energy and provide them with a means.


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