Here is the link to the original project: Wind Project
Here I am, writing my final reflection on my experience with EDTECH 543 course that I took this summer semester. It feels that the course was over too soon, but then, again, we all know that time flies when one is having fun (even despite the fact that a typical summer course is extremely intense and requires a lot of work!)
With this course being my last course toward my M.E.T. in Educational Technology (well, except the Portfolio course), I have mixed feelings: excited about the accomplishment, on the one hand, yet, sad as I am about to say "goodbye" to an inspiring group of educators and innovators! Luckily, though, I can stay connected with each and every person through my PLN, and that’s what this course was all about! Well, there was much more.
First of all, as I am scrolling down my Blog page, it’s easy to see how far I have come. Less than 8 weeks ago, going to Facebook to post a homework assignment felt “weird” and “uncomfortable”, which I then attributed to my “good job disciplining myself and separating social media from my professional life.” It was amazingly easy, however, to get used to such practice, and after a very short while, posting a homework assignment on Facebook felt no differently that posting it in Moodle. In addition, I had to re-join Twitter (I deactivated my first account as I could see no use for it.) This time, it was different; not that I have mastered it, but I now know what to look for! I cannot underestimate the value of Twitter and Tweetchat in building and expanding one’s PLN and an ability to immediately share resources or receive information on a variety of events (from real time and live webinars to discussions and announcements, to name a few.) Finally, I am now ready to start using social media as an instructional strategy; for sure it will be a trial and error, but I feel quite equipped to go for it!
The second module introduced me to TwitterDeck, and my first reaction was “Wow! It’s like drinking from a fire hose!” However, there are ways to manage that enormous stream of information: hashtags! Just like I described in my blog post “It’s all about hashtags”, I was able to identify and create my own network centered around my professional interests. I can now follow and share news, articles, and events specifically related to #educhat, #edtechchat, #edutech, #eslteaching, #tesol, and #ielts (to name a few.) Again, while I still think it will take some time to get used to and to become a more efficient Twitter user, I greatly appreciate the exposure.
The next module was about managing digital footprint and building digital identity. While I was quite satisfied to discover that I was on a right path as far as my digital footprint, this assignment was beneficial as it helped shape or reinforced several strategies for my online presence:1) manage and be ever mindful of the time spent online; 2) become an active producer, rather than simply a consumer, of the digital content, and 3) exercise patience, yet consistency (yes, it takes time to build an online presence and yes, it takes time to build a network. Yet, a “step at a time” approach will still work!) The toughest point will be to break the old habit, but being aware of and making a plan for action is one big step in the right direction.
My another discovery was about “content curation”, and I just loved it. Working as a team and creating our own list of criteria for content curation was a great experience. Not to mention, the outcome - my own curated topic via ScoopIt (an awesome tool for digital curation) will surely last well beyond this course. I love my collection and am happy to see that other online users find it useful as well (it was rescoopedIt by others.) As I mentioned in my blog post, that module did not just push me to do what I had always wanted to, rather, it equipped me with the vision and tools that I was missing!
Moving on to the module on Personal Learning Environment or PLE: just to think of the power of one’s networks! Looking at my own diagramm, I think having all these resources at my fingertips (literally!) is simply amazing. With the Internet, the sky’s the limit; all one needs to do is to see and go for the opportunity.
The purpose of the next module was to expand our vision of professional development and take advantage of what is available and attend conferences without leaving the house! Moreover, not only was I able to attend highly informative sessions and expand my knowledge but also to participate, make my own contributions, as well as connect with many professionals in the field by adding them to my PLN. All from my own room! I am certainly going to continue with this practice of attending PD session and building my PLN even though the course is over.
Finally, the highlight of the session was my first attempt (at this point) of integrating social media (Facebook) into my teaching and using it as instructional strategy. Certainly, I am at the beginning of a long journey, yet, sometimes the first step is half the journey! Furthermore, I found the assignment on developing my own social media classroom policy especially insightful and useful as it enabled me to outline and visualize my own (as a teacher) as well as my students’ guidelines and responsibilities as far as using social media in the teaching and learning process, not to mention it raised my awareness and helped me look at the process more objectively.
To sum up, there is no doubt that this course positively affected not only my teaching and learning, but also how I perceive and especially use the Internet and online resources as part of my personal and professional life. It certainly expanded my vision and equipped me to be a more efficient teacher and learner. I look forward to the next semester so that I can implement a few new practices. and my only regret is that it was over too soon!
As I shared in my previous post, I just started using Facebook as a teaching tool with my Reading and Writing class (I teach English as a Second Language to international college level students.) This practice is very new to me, but I realized that I had to set some guidelines the minute I announced the news to my students. I could almost sense we were not on the same page (and I mean really well: my students are absolutely great, and I was grateful they embraced my idea); however, it was a learning curve for all of us, so the timing for this assignment simply could not be better!
So, now that we are all on Facebook, what are our responsibilities?
As a teacher, the first sensible step for me was to check out BSU’s policies on the use of social media. In addition, I researched and reviewed current policies of other institutions.
Below are the policies I have created for my own classroom:
1. While teachers in my organization have a certain amount of flexibility when it comes to teaching methods, topics/content covered, as well as classroom management rules and policies, I think it will be a good idea to check with the administration regarding our internal social media use policy as I start Fall semester. As BSU’s social media use handbook recommends, “When in doubt, ask!”
2. As a teacher and FB page/group admin, I should explicitly state all the do’s and don’ts, perhaps by posting and maintaining them on the page itslef. In addition, in order to prevent any misunderstanding (as it is often the case with language learners:), having students read, negotiate the meaning in small groups, and create classroom posters can be very beneficial.
3. Finally, monitoring one’s own actions and modeling correct behavior on Social Media sites is even more important for teachers than in a face-to-face environment. As was discussed previously, digital footprint is there to stay! One incorrectly used word can easily be copied and shared.
Policies for Students:
1. This page is for learning. This is an extension of our class - just like we would not normally bring all our friends and family here (well, most of the time), the same is the case with our group. You are welcome to show and share the content, but please view it as our class.
2. Do not post/share personal or unrelated links, photos, or videos. You can share them by friending your classmates and doing it outside the group.
3. You do not have to friend any of/all your classmates or teacher.
4. Maintain academic and professional communication and performance throughout - just like you do in class! It’s that easy!
5. Inform your teacher at any time if you feel uncomfortable in any way - if FB does not support your learning, you do not see any value in using it, or have any other concern.
6. Participate! Just like participation is important in the “real” classroom, it is also the case on FB. Do not simply “look” at the posts and move on. Respond! This type of participation will help you improve your reading and writing skills, as well as learn how to remain focused on the topic and be able to express your point of view.
7. Think before you post! Ask yourself:
8. Since you are language learners, fo pas can (and will!) happen. Take time and clarify your message or intention. Follow up! Talk to your teacher!
9. Do not post pictures of your teacher or fellow classmates without their permission.
10. You are encouraged, though, to share other learning resources that you find helpful in your learning journey. Absolutely! However, don’t just share hundreds of links that “look” interesting. Do not share if you have not opened and read the article yourself. Share if you did, and found it valuable. Give us a brief tip on how it was valuable to you.
11. “Stand behind your words.” Use your real name so that other students know who you are.
12. You don’t have to “like” everything and anything other people post :) However, if you do “like” some posts, tell us why and what particularly you like about that specific post. Again, it will help you improve your language skill!
3. Share, Learn, and Have Fun!
Boise State University, Social Media Handbook. Retrieved from:
Johnson, S. 2010. Guest Blog: Making the Case for Social Media in Education. Retrieved from:
Petronzo, M. 2012. The Teacher’s Guide to Facebook. Retrieved from:
Social Media Guidelines NYC, Department of Education. 2013. Retrieved from:
Image source: http://www.slideshare.net/oxiem/social-media-policy-for-school-districts?ref=http://edtech.mrooms.org/mod/page/view.php?id=70412
Another week, another module, and another huge (almost overwhelming) portion of excitement, inspiration, and incredible energy to reshape everything. I mean EVERYTHING: the way I learn, the way I teach, the way I think, the way my students learn, the way my students think, the way we all learn and think! It's almost scary! But, I simply must try it. If anything, at least to know firsthand if it does work, or it does not.
Let me go back to 2008 - that's when I finally gave in and joined thousands of happy Facebook (FB) users. I still was not sure, but, there I was, adding "friends" here and there, reading through endless status updates such as "just had a pizza" or "love Starbucks coffee", looking at galleries of pictures of people I barely knew, and, more and more often, asking myself: "Do I really need it?" and "Do I really want it?" Above all, I was asking myself how on earth me, an introvert in nature, who very much enjoys her quiet space and solitude in real life allowed this non-stop noise and crowd? So, FB had to go, and it did.
If I missed anything, it was the convenience of using FB as a bookmarking tool and getting updates from the communities I wanted to follow. Also, as I was trying to blog, FB felt like a very good tool to share the posts! So, in 2012, I opened a new account, but this time I had a clear vision and purpose in mind: use it mindfully to achieve specific professional and academic objectives and control it (otherwise it will control you!) So far, so good!
I still cannot argue with those who believe and state that one can waste a lot of time using FB. Absolutely. Just as it can be the case with watching TV, reading news or surfing the Internet, playing video games, and even communicating face to face with real people. It all depends! Just like with everything we do in our real lives, a lot of precious time can be wasted unless one has a clear purpose in mind and knows when to stop. FB is no exception. It's a tool.
With such a vision, I embraced the EDTECH 543 "Social Networked Learning" course that I am taking as part of my M.E.T. in Educational Technology. I have to admit that, at first, it felt a bit "strange" going to FB to post an assignment, but only for a short time. The "filters" worked, and there was no confusion about the purpose of checking my page more often than what I was used to.
My next step (and it took certain boldness on my part!) was to start using it for teaching. Last week, I simply walked into the classroom and presented my students with a question: "Should we use FB as a part of our class?" They all said "Yes". In fact, together, they created this poster, and that's how I started. I even started my new FB page which I want to devote to this experience.
I knew little about other educators' experience in integrating FB and/or other social media platform into teaching just at the beginning of this week; at the end of the same week, though, thanks to a very timely assignment (could it coincide any better?!) I feel even more inspired and empowered. Please check this selection of articles and video that I curated via ScoopIt. I hope you find it useful and feel as inspired as I am! Meanwhile, here is a brief summary of just a few of the key learning points on how other educators use social media in their teaching and ideas on how it can be applicable to my own teaching:
1. Using FB to provide “positive role modelling in an online environment by making positive comments on their facebook walls” (Walsh, 2012.) Absolutely agree. By posting well-written, positive, and informative posts teachers can model appropriate online behavior - no matter what subject they teach.
2. Project example: "Choose a leader/thinker from any time in history and design a Facebook campaign in an attempt to held them become the newly appointed World Leader. "
- research your leader
- identify his/her views on the worldview, political ideology, human rights, etc. (Walsh, 2011.)
I can already see how it can be applied to ESL learners! Such an assignment will engage students, expand their knowledge and use of vocabulary, and provide meaningful practice when creating a project for a real audience.
3. Using FB “to extend student discussion from the end of the lecture to the tutorial and back to the lecture in a learning loop. For a teacher who is an avid user of social media and has a strong philosophy in utilising the best technologies for student learning and community, Facebook offered a space to develop this community, to also encourage creative thought and ultimately creativity in community. (Allen et al, 2012.) I could experience the convenience of posting youtube videos and assigning homework without having to write e-mails that no one reads. What a relief!
Again, please check my ScoopIt collection of articles to find more ideas. Feel free to join my FB reflection page if you want to know where I end up! Needless to say, I will be happy if you share your thoughts and experience.
Allen, B., Caple, H., Coleman, K., Nguyen, T. Creativity in practice: social media in higher education. 2012. Retrieved from:
The Great Student Blog Project:
Walsh, K. 2011. Facebook in the classroom. Seriously.
Walsh, K. 2011. Facebook Summit 2011, an Excellent Academic Use of the Popular Internet App
Today I created this diagram that demonstrates my Personal Learning Environment. I am proud to say that I use all of these online platforms to learn new things that I am passionate about! Each and every piece is meaningful and equally important for my personal and professional development, and I use most or even all of them on a daily basis. Some of these networks represent my educational/academic path, while some others assist me professionally. Yet, those are not enough; I still need tools/networks to help me express my creativity, and even more as things get more technical! By connecting each piece of the puzzle, together, they help shape the picture of my passion - educational technology for teaching and learning (even though to complete the picture takes longer than the lifetime itself!)
My Curated Topic: Learning English from Start to IELTS (please click on the link to access my Scoop.It collection.)
Background info: I chose this topic as I currently teach English as a Second Language to students of various levels: beginners, intermediate, and upper-intermediate. I also teach an IELTS prep course (a required English proficiency test for international students applying to universities and colleges in English speaking countries.)
I have always wanted/been hoping to start curating this topic (even though I did not know it was called “curation” back then) in order locate, select, save, group, and share the best resources out there. I am excited that this assignment has finally got me started working in those directions!
Here is my checklist list that I developed with my PLN.
1. Purpose - my purpose is to create a high quality selection of ESL materials.
2. Structure - resources, readings, video, games, etc. that can be used with my learners as well as shared with fellow teachers (or self-learners.)
3. Plan For Sharing - I have already shared these resources via Scoop.It, FB, and Twitter.
4. Choose Your Topic - I have been thinking about starting a similar project for quite a while now (as I am trying to replace many of those outdated textbooks with authentic digital materials.) This particular project no doubt is linked to my goal (Hyde, 2012.)
5. Relevant - I am in the process of selecting relevant info and content which I will also be able to share with my PLN.
6. Delve Deeper - I do not simply collect or read through endless links; instead, I have carefully read,identified, and saved the materials I find highly useful and valuable.
7. Do Not (just)Classify; Collect! I avoid simply collecting links or topics (such as simple presents tense or be-verb), instead, I have collected a variety of resources that will expand students’ understanding and ownership of language. The variety of thematic topics will broaden students’ views and perspectives and allow for critical thinking.
8. Think Digital - absolutely! Along with the “text-based” media, my collection includes a variety of videos and images.
9. Evaluate the Tolls - I find Scoop.It a wonderful platform that allows to 1) select, 2) collect, and 3) effectively share my curated resources.
10. Create Content - I am striving to develop a critical approach in order to create “consistent and contextual” content (Scime, 2009.) I may be just starting the journey, but I feel I am starting it right!
11. Quality Over Quantity - I did my best to ensure that my collection focuses on the value rather than on quantity.
12. Share Your Content - Yes!
13. Use Multiple Sources - Yes!
14. Personalize - my job is to add value to my collection (i.e., include data analysis, provide historic overview, or compare new content to older articles). (Rayson, 2014.) In progress!
15. Credit Sources - Yes!
16. Track Engagement - Yes! Again, this is just the beginning of a long journey; however, I can already see that my students respond positively to the materials I have shared so far.
I know that neither my criteria list for curation nor my first collection is perfect; yet, I feel that with this assignment, I have made my first step in the right directions! From now on, I will have a more mindful, careful, critical, and comprehensive approach that will result in a priceless collection of resources that my students will benefit from.
This week's module introduced a very interesting topic: Content Curation. Content curation is all about a careful and mindful approach to the endless information that we are constantly exposed to. Indeed, it is much easier to drawn in it than to stay afloat and survive...
Well, curation may very well be the way to survive in our over connected world!
In order to assess the quality of curated topics, though, one must develop a clear vision and a list of carefully selected criteria. Below please find the following resources:
Introduction to Curation (from the course resources provided by Dr. Gerstein.)
A very insightful and must see video that outlines the main principles of curation.
And, finally, a Prezi with a list of criteria researched and selected by the members of my PLN (EDTECH 543: M. Hoge, M. Mott, D. Mudler, and T. Palmer)
A part of this week's assignment was to develop a personal plan for developing and managing positive digital footprint. Living in the digital era brings endless opportunities, possibilities, and excitement; yet, along comes the responsibility to maintain our digital environment safe.
In order to do so, just like in the real world, every "digital"citizen must be aware of his/her surroundings and actions.
One of the reminders that I greatly appreciated was the one on Googling one's name/oneself. I first came to realize that I actually could be Googled back in 2011 when I was taking my first EDTECH course. As I created an HTML page and uploaded it via Dreamweaver, in order to locate it online, I had to Google my name. At that time, nothing much came out; however, it was an eye opening discovery. Ever since then, I periodically Google my name to make sure the findings are still only those that reflect my educational and professional activities. So far so good!
I also appreciated the suggestions by Taub (2012) to create a website using one's own name as the domain name and then link all the existing profiles and accounts together.
Another great point was made by Lowenthal and Dunlap (2012), i.e., sharing one's educational and professional interests, projects, and achievements is essential in the 21 century. I have many past and present colleagues/classmates who have already completed or are working toward their Master's or even Ph.D. degrees, and it is amazing to see that Googling their names results in absolutely nothing! There is no doubt that they have written numerous papers, completed numerous projects, and presented at numerous conferences. It's a pity that none of their work can be accessed or shared online.
Last but not least, this assignment helped me reinforce what I should and should not do.Among the key strategies are: 1) be even more mindful of how every minute is spent online; time management skill is more vital as ever before as we try to "drink from a firehose" (as my classmate Dave Mulder put it in his FB post on Twitter use), 2)become an active producer (rather than a consumer) of the digital content (Taub, 2012), and, finally, 3) exercise patience yet consistency! That is, add to the ongoing online conversation regularly. This part might be the most challenging one, though, as, again, it is so easy to remain a passive consumer. The key, however, is to break that habit and start thinking and acting differently, and the following presentation is my first step in the right direction.
Lowenthal, P. and Dunlap, J. (2012). Intentional Web Presence: 10 SEO Strategies Every Academic Needs to Know. Educause Review Online. Retrieved from: http://www.educause.edu/ero/article/intentional-web-presence-10-seo-strategies-every-academic-needs-know
Taub, A. (2012). 5 Key Things Needed To Improve Your Digital Identity. Forbes. Retrieved from: http://www.forbes.com/sites/alextaub/2012/06/07/5-key-things-needed-to-improve-your-digital-identity/
It's All about Hashtags
As a part of this week's assignment, I just created my own TwitterDeck!
To be quite honest, I have never been an active user of social media sites (I even have opened and closed a few Facebook and Twitter accounts.) However, I have noticed that with opening each new account the ways I used them changed as well; they became more oriented toward my personal and professional interests (as opposed to simply keeping a collection of people I had met at some points in my life.) My best use of social media occurred when I was blogging; suddenly, I created a network of people who had never met, yet they had something meaningful to share based on their mutual interest on the topic!
The course that I am taking this summer (Social Network Learning) is taking me further down that path: I am creating my own network centered around my professional interests. Setting up the Twitter Deck was a step in that direction. Specifically, I have (finally!) discovered what the hashtags are and how they can be useful. The following are only a few that I am now following for my professional development: #education, #edutech, #edtechchat, # educoach, #curriculum, #instructional. In addition to these hashtags on education and educational technology, I have also discovered many related to specifically teaching ESL: #teachenglish, #eslteaching, #tesol, #vocabulary, and #ielts. I feel overwhelmed, yet very excited!
I don't think I really need to discuss the value of the hashtags that indicate edu or edtech! Just looking at those titles! I have already come across a few thought provoking articles on teaching, student motivation, and using new technologies for learning.
#IELTS I have always looked for ways to include authentic materials into my IELTS prep course. Now I think I have found great resources! I have found tips, questions, and strategies that I can now share with my students. I can also follow conversations/discussions by people who have already taken the test so that I can learn from their experience.
#projectbasedlearning Another area of my interest. Just as I added a new column based on the hashtag, I was able to select a few great articles that 1) provided an interesting lesson plan with ready to download materials, 2) outlined the differences between a project and PBL, and 3) shared a blog with students' examples and reflection on their experience with PBL. So cool!
#TESOL I only added this hashtag a few minutes ago but already have a library of resources on teaching spelling, vocabulary, and grammar as well as professional development and job opportunities!
To sum up, Twitter is no doubt a great resource that can deliver "just-in-time" professional development in any area, and it is here to stay (I will make sure it stays this time - no closed accounts anymore:) I am certainly looking forward to my future discoveries and opportunities to learn what I need and when I need it!