Artifact 2 – Tweeting With 4th Graders

Overview: 

Using Twitter was a completely new and foreign experience for me since beginning EDTECH 501.  Initially I was very uncomfortable with Twitter but have slowly begun to embrace it, seeing the positive uses in the classroom.  Not quite sure how exactly to integrate it, I saw my opportunity with the selection of Pope Francis.

Objective: 

The objectives for this artifact are:

  • students will be able to discuss Tweets received.
  • students will be able to describe how Twitter provides the user with short bits of information.

Lesson Plan: 

All Saints Catholic School

Tweeting with 4th Graders

Grade Level

  • 3-6

Subjects

  • Technology
  • English/Language Arts

Time Frame

  • 30 minutes (This lesson plans is suitable for instructing teachers how to integrate Twitter in the classroom also.)

Common Core State Standards

  • W.CCR.2 – Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
  • W.CCR.4 – Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
  • W.CCR.6 – Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.
  • R.CCR.7 – Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.

Brief Description

  •  Using social networking in the classroom is a relatively new concept, especially when integrating in the classroom.  Twitter is defined as micro-blogging.  Tweets, similarly to texting, are limited to 140 characters.  Word choice is extremely important when using Twitter.

Objectives

  • Students will be able to draft two Tweets per week.
  • Students will be able to describe how Twitter provides the user with short bits of information.

Keywords/Vocabulary

  • Twitter
  • Tweet
  • retweet
  • micro-blog
  • hashtag
  • follower
  • avatar

Materials Needed

  • Student access to a word processing program such as Microsoft Word, Google drive
  • Smartboard or type of projection equipment
  • Teacher access to the internet

Lesson Plan

Ask students about what they know about Twitter.  Explain that Twitter is defined as micro-blogging.  Each Tweet is limited to 140 characters, which is similar to texting.  Next, ask the students to compare blogging to micro-blogging.  They will need to make a list of at least three differences between the two types of social media.

Tell the students that the class will be following Pope Francis on Twitter.  Make sure they understand that Tweets received from the pope are public Tweets, not specifically sent to our class.

On the Smartboard, pull up the login page of Twitter.  Walk the students through the login process using the class Twitter account.  Show the students the difference between the home, connect, discover, and me tabs.

As a group, draft a Tweet to be sent to the pope, including the class hashtag. For a continuing project, students will draft a minimum of two Tweets per week in their composition notebook.  Random students will be selected to post their Tweets to the pope.

Assessment

  • Students will be assessed on their ability to
    • draft and post timely Tweets
    • use proper writing conventions using Twitter

Reflection: 

Deciding to use Twitter in the classroom has been a difficult decision for me as I was not sure how to effectively achieve it.  I researched several different approaches but kept coming up with issues as to why it was going to be a challenge.  Initially, I wanted to allow the student’s access to Twitter but quickly found several families were not comfortable with this type of Internet access.  I finally saw a ray of light when Pope Francis was selected.  I decided to create a classroom account and Tweet the pope.

Finding the correct hashtag for the pope had its moments however after filtering through several, that I knew for a fact could not be the pope, I found the right one.  I explained the process to the students, walking them through on the SmartBoard.  The children were surprised at the similarities between Tweeting and texting.  I also had to explain to the students that Pope Francis was not personally Tweeting us, but rather it was a mass Tweet.  The looks on their faces was priceless.  Several children ask me throughout the day, “Did the pope Tweet us?”  I then pull up our account and check with the students watching so they can learn.  Learning is best accomplished by doing but I am not sure our parents are ready for complete access for their children.

References: 

Bisaillon, K. (2013, March 27).  Re:  How social media sharing makes the world a better place [Web log comment] Retrieved from http://www.teachthought.com/social-media/how-social-media-sharing-makes-the-world-a-better-place/

TechThought Staff.  (2013).  8 simple social media strategies for your classroom.  TeachThought.  Retrieved from http://www.teachthought.com/technology/8-simple-social-media-strategies-for-your-classroom/

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EDTECH 502 – The Internet for Educators

Throughout the 2013 spring semester, I have been creating an introductory webpage.  As this is my first attempt at webpage development, I have found it fascinating and trying at the same time.  The page may look very elementary to some; however I am pleased with the product and will make changes to it as my confidence grows.  Please click on EDTECH 502 to view the page.

 

Research in Educational Technology

Subject Area/Grade Level: Blogging in the Classroom for Staff and Elementary Students

Instructional Objective: Use blogs as an authentic learning and collaboration tool in elementary education. Apply and share content knowledge.

Research:

Utilizing a blog within elementary education is a topic I have been interested in but have not known how to integrate in meaningful way. As an educator, my goal is to prepare my students for life, not just the moment. The impact of blogging in the classroom has had mixed reviews depending on the experience level and willingness of the educator to implement the practice. Educators who are able to integrate blogging in an authentic manner experience a higher level of success than those who exercise complete control of the blog entries. Students learn best when their teacher models blogging, explains expectations, and responsibilities of blogging. Before a teacher attempts to integrate blogging, they must be confident in the practice.

Reflection:

As I worked my way through this assignment, I became more amazed at the online tools available to educators and students alike. Having the opportunity to utilize Google Scholar and the Albertsons Library for the first time was a fascinating experience. The resources available allow educators and students alike access to unlimited information. I found that by adjusting the search parameters, I was able to narrow the search or change topics completely. Another part of this exercise taught me although the citations can be easily inserted into a document, it is imperative that you double check for correct APA format. I cannot wait to tailor this information to a fourth grade level to share with my students. Sharing this new found information with my co-workers will be exciting as well. Regardless of grade level taught, I am confident the utilization of these online resources will be applicable to all students.

Quickly realizing how much catching up I need to do in order to be successful at integrating technology in the classroom. I have created a simple blog to begin this process. I am pleased with the outcome so far. The address is http://ascs4th@wordpress.com. If anyone would like to take a look and provide constructive criticism, it would be appreciated. I am very excited about the future prospect of blogging and the impact it will have on my students.

Annotated Bibliography:

Ferdig, R. E., &  Trammell, K. D. (2004) Content delivery in the ‘blogosphere’. The Journal 31.7, 12-20.

Summary: Teachers who actively utilize blogging in the classroom are providing their students with an authentic writing and reading opportunity. Students who blog take pride in their work, increase their knowledge in the subject area they are writing about, and participate in higher order thinking. Blogs rely on hyperlinks which direct the both the writer and reader to greater sources of information. The possibilities for increasing knowledge with the use of blogs in the classroom are endless.

Hungerford-Kresser, H., Wiggins, J., & Amaro-Jimenez, C. (2011). Learning from our mistakes: what matters when incorporating blogging in the content area literacy classroom. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 55, 4, 326-335. doi:10.1002/JAAL.00039

Summary: As exciting as new technology is, mistakes are made and then must be corrected. In our haste to integrate the latest and greatest technology, there are times when it may not have a positive impact on student learning. During this study involving preservice teachers, blogging became just another assignment for students to complete. Another huge issue of this focus group was the divide between tech-savvy students and the technologically apprehensive students. Never assume that all of your students are on the same level regardless of their age or educational background.

McGrail, E., & Davis, A. (2011). The influence of classroom blogging on elementary student writing. Journal Of Research In Childhood Education, 25(4), 415-437. doi:10.1080/02568543.2011.605205.

Summary: Blogging in the classroom is an ever evolving means to improve writing literacy. Since the students are not just writing to their teacher, they gain a greater sense of connection to their audience. Students who blog become aware of who their audience is through discussion forums and feedback. Initially the quality of writing is very basic however as the school year progresses, the content of the blogs dramatically improve. Motivated by ownership, students are more mindful of what is posted and are more willing to share their voice. This in turn boosts confidence not only in writing but in the use of the Internet.

Poling, Catherine.(2005). Blog on: Building communication and collaboration among staff and students. Learning & Leading with Technology 32.6, 12-15.

Summary: The integration of blogging in the classroom is a growing trend in education. Students who blog, share their thoughts on a topic and learning strategies while actively participating in online discussion forums. Blogging is a means of communication that allows collaboration between staff members when face-to-face time is limited.

Tucker, J., & Courts, B. (2010). Utilizing the internet to facilitate classroom learning. Journal Of College Teaching & Learning, 7(7), 36-43. Retrieved from http://journals.cluteonline.com/index.php/TLC/article/view/136/130

Summary: Use of the Internet in the classroom is only successful if the teachers fully embrace technology. Schools must also have the financial means along with support personnel to maintain existing systems and upgrade when necessary. Systems that are not maintained are more of a handicap, making the integration of technology very difficult to those who realize the importance it. The Internet provides unlimited possibilities for educators to open doors for students but these doors cannot be opened unless teachers can access all aspects of the technology available to them.

Zawilinski, Lisa (2009). Hot blogging: A framework for blogging to promote higher order thinking. The Reading Teacher 62.8, 650-661. doi: 10.1598/RT.62.8.3

Summary: Introducing elementary students to the Internet is preparing them for life. A comfortable way to achieve this is through the use of blogging. A frequently used type of blog is the Classroom News Blog. This type of blog is used to post the daily events of the classroom to parents, students, and staff members. Other types of blogs include Mirror Blogs, Showcase Blogs, and Literature Response Blogs. During the course of this study, Zawilinski also found that student centered blogging called HOT (Higher Order Thinking) Blogging facilitated greater exposure to online reading skills along with an increased outlook on what was read.

AECT STandard:

4.4 Information Management – Acquire information for use in research projects from sources such as Google Scholar and Albertsons Library.

RSS for Education

Learning about the Really Simple Syndication (RSS) has been most intriguing although slightly stressful.  I realize now that after years of using the internet just exactly how much I do not know.  Often, I had seen the RSS logo and never paid any attention to it.  Obviously I did not understand what it was, how it could simplify internet usage, and ways I could incorporate it into the classroom.

English: This icon, known as the "feed ic...

English: This icon, known as the “feed icon” or the “RSS icon”, was introduced in Mozilla Firefox in order to indicate a web feed was present on a particular web page that could be used in conjunction with the Live bookmarks function. Microsoft Internet Explorer, Opera and some other browsers have adopted the icon in order to promote a de facto standard. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

RSS provides a readily accessible link for readers of your blog to immediately connect to content the author of the blog feels is important and useful to the reader.  The RSS links are real time, meaning that as the secondary webpage is updated, so is your link.  This provides the reader with up to date information, which I have found with regard to technology, is ever changing.  Once the author of the blog had identified the sites they prefer, the rest is up to the reader.  I fully intend to read the articles published in the sites I selected to be in my Learning Log bundle faithfully.

As I began to construct the bundle, my mind went directly to my classroom.  I have often worried about keeping my students safe on the internet and not had a solution as to controlling safe websites.  Needless to say, internet usage in my class has been limited.  Now with the knowledge I have gained during this exercise, I now have a way to do this.  Whereas we do a lot of writing in the classroom, research based writing has been very controlled and based mostly on articles I provide my students along with reading books on the subject of choice.  I now realize I can create bundles of safe websites for the students to read and conduct research.  This will be applicable in all subject areas and is something I intend to create immediately.  We are currently beginning a unit on energy.   I will locate sites which meet our needs, create a bundle, put a shortcut on the student computers, and then explain to the class how to utilize the bundle.  I am anticipating some learning curve on both sides but hopefully we will be successful and I look forward creating more bundles as time goes on.  I have attached a link to the bundle created in Google Reader.  Please click on the folder titled Teaching Resources for RSS links I thought would be useful.

Link to Google Reader Bundle