Global Awareness via Snapchat Life Stories

by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano
cross posted to the Langwitches Blog

I am fascinated how the social media platform Snapchat is bringing global awareness to its users! I noticed specific cities appearing for 24 hours on the app:

  • In small tidbits
  • in a collaborative manner (users at a specific geographic location are invited to submit a few seconds of their “perception” of what life in their city looks like)
  • raising interest to immediately watch it by  making it available for a limited time (reminded me of the Beanie Baby craze of introducing and retiring certain animals to make people run for the stores and increasing value)

Since then I have seen on Twitter

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and on blogs,

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people gearing up to showcase their city. What types of tidbits should be included? How to best shine the light on their favorite:

  • activities
  • food traditions
  • how to get around their city
  • landmarks and famous sites
  • language and colloquialism
  • wild life
  • leisure time
  • festivals/celbrations
  • traditions
  • street music
  • sports

The city to be showcased becomes an event on a certain day and allows people who have their geolocation enabled to submit their snapchats for inclusion in the city’s life story (For details: How to Post to Our Stories)

So far the cities, like  Manchester, UK, Barcelona, Spain, Nairobi, Kenya, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Los Angeles, USA among others have been officially “snapchatted” and curated. For a complete list of cities and events that have been showcased, take a look at What is on Snapchat Stories Today?

Today on June 5th, Brisbane, Australia was featured:

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Below are some reactions to the Brisbane Snapchat story of today (and a couple of other twitter reactions to Snapchat Life Event Stories ) in terms of global awareness. Also, remember that over 70% of their users are under the age of 25)

 

snapchatlife3 snapchatlife4 snapchatlife5 snapchatlife6 snapchatlife7 snapchatlife8 snapchatlife9 snapchatlife10  snapchatlife12 snapchatlife13

The idea of using the social media platform, where the under 25 crowd already hangs out (their turf) and finding a way to “feed them tidbits” of global awareness (“hey there is life outside your backyard” or thinking and discussing critically what stereotypes, misconceptions about a city/country are)  is note worthy. I am wondering how to bring this into the classroom. With older students you could directly go into Snapchat to look and react to the City Life Event. For youunger students, I am thinking of the possibilities of using an app like 1 Second Everyday  to capture short video clips to tell a story of awareness, learning and sharing.

I would love for Snapchat to give their users to create their OWN events and invite collaborators to contribute to these event stories. Think about the possibilities for field trips, exchange programs, collaborative units of inquiry (transportation, immigration, how do living things adapt to survive?, etc.). Can you imagine the global collaboration possibilities and the critical thinking and “NOW” literacies involved to make decisions of what, how and where to capture in order to tell and share “the story”?

How do you imagine using the concept of event/story feature on Snapchat with your students?

More interesting articles about Snapchat:

How to bring Social Media to a Conference focused on Learning… not Technology?

by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano

cross-posted to the Langwitches Blog

Social Media has given educators the opportunity for self-directed, collaborative and connected learning. Network literacy , according to Eric Hellweg, requires a basic understanding of network technology, intelligence, capabilities and the ability of crafting one’s own network identity.

So, how do you bring the benefits of social media to a conference without making the conference ABOUT social media or technology? How do you share the basics of connecting and learning collaboratively with attendees who are newbies?

The question is how do you bring social media to a conference (?) where:

  • most attendees and presenters might have heard of social media like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest
  • maybe 30 % have an account in one of the platforms
  • at best less than 5% or conference participants are active and fluent on these platforms

The BIG idea behind bringing social media to a(ny) conference is to bring awareness to social networking for (and as) professional development, opportunities to practice these skills & literacies and create a culture  of sharing best practices and collaboration! How do we make it visible to newbies that it is NOT about technology, but about learning, sharing and connecting that learning?

I have been wrestling with the issue “It is NOT about technology“/ It IS about Technology for a while ( Never Was About Technology?– Time to Focus on Learning?, Take the Technology out of the Equation) and of course, it is not about the technology (it is about learning), but I am observing more and more educators , who are not comfortable with nor technology literate, are being left out of/ behind LEARNING opportunities.

How do we bring these learning opportunities to more educators?

I have reflected about the use of social media at conferences frequently:

How can conference organizers prepare for a conference and to be able to give attendees the opportunity to PARTICIPATE and EXPERIENCE the power of collaborative learning. For crowdsourcing, collaborative note taking and documentation from a variety of perspectives and locations, you NEED, well, a variety of people to contribute. It is imperative to not turn the conference into a conference about technology and social media, but make sure that the focus and emphasis stays on learning as we are using technology as an amplification and redefinition tool.

I have brainstormed steps in order to facilitate a “Watch- Do- Learn” approach.

Pre-Conference: Bring awareness to social media as a learning tool, introduce conference attendees to social media and networking and make further resources to learn more about social media available

  • Organized Twitter Chat or webinar
  • Creation of a Twitter account upon conference registration
  • Social Media resources available
  • Presenters and keynote speakers briefed and prepared to embed Social Media reminders into sessions

During the Conference: Give attendees hands-on experience, reflection and sharing time

  • Help Desk
  • Breakout Session
  • Tidbit sessions
  • Built-in reflection time
  • Mixed Cohort/ Social Media Team (Students/Teachers)
  • Presenters embed Social Media awareness and practice time
  • Backchannel Display: Strategic Location

Post-Conference: Reflective, connected, collaborative and networked

  • Reflective blog posts contributed to a central blog hub
  • Debriefing organized via Twitter chat or conference hashtag
  • Local coaching to connect and amplify learning when conference participants return to their home schools

 

Social-Media-conference-tolisanoWhat are some of your approaches/ideas to bringing social media for/as learning to conferences without making the conference about social media and technology?

ASCD Connect21 Summer Camp

Join the Curriculum21 team at ASCD Connect 21 Summer Camp:

August 6-8, 2015

The first ASCD Connect 21 Summer Camp
Becoming a 21st Century Teacher, Leader and School

ASCD_Connect_21_CampYou will create a personalized professional learning experience!

August 6-8, 2015 at the Gaylord Conference Center -greater DC area

TAKE A LOOK: http://connect.curriculum21.com

The What? Why? How? of Documenting4Learning

by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano
cross posted to the Langwitches Blog

My work in formalizing Documenting4Learning is moving forward. In good old fashion, regarding practicing what one preaches, I am documenting my journey:

My exploration got started with my own change and heightened layer of learning as a direct result of documenting. The continued action research, is fueled by my firm believe that sharing is a crucial component of our work as educators and the “learning revolution

Sharing means amplification. Amplification means spreading good practices, reaching more people and connecting beyond our own limitations of zip codes and language barriers.
Interested in learning more about how to use documenting4learning as:
  • the glue that will connect your school’s professional development initiatives together
  • build capacity among your teachers to make their learning visible
  • communicate, collaborate and connect among professional educators
  • action steps to use data to inform teaching
  • supportive skills to implement and grow e-portfolios
  • re-think teacher observations in your school
  • creation of institutional memory

 

Documenting4Learning-by-stolisano

What are the Biggest Mistakes Teachers Make When Integrating Technology into the Classroom?

by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano

Cross posted to the Langwitches Blog

What are the Biggest Mistakes Teachers Make When Integrating Technology into the Classroom?

The word “mistake” is a harsh word. It implies flaws, pointing fingers, errors in judgement, something wrong and possibly even a dead end. I would rather think or connect the word “mistake” to first steps, stepping stones, experimentation and exploration. With that being said, those “first steps” or that exploration cannot become a routine cemented in stone how technology is being used in the classroom. Stepping stones are meant to lead to something else. For the sake of the prompt given, here are my top 5 “Mistakes” (in no particular order) which I see, read and hear about as I travel the world to learn and work with schools, teachers and students:

  1. Technology being used to substitute an analog activity
  2. Technology use being seen as an add-on to allow students to use devices, the Internet, a program or an app as a reward, for entertainment, as a time filler for students who finish early
  3. Technology use as a separate subject area
  4. Technology as a $1000 pencil initiative
  5. Technology seen as the solution to motivate and engage students

mistakes-when-integrating-technology-tolisano

Technology being used to substitute an analog activity

The philosophy behind Ruben Puentedura‘s SAMR model provides an explanation of teachers integrating technology that is used as a tool substitute without functional improvement of the task at hand. Instead of requiring their students to hand in a handwritten report, they allow students to type up their report and print it out to then be handed in. Teachers seem to stay “stuck” on that level. In their mind they are integrating technology, but in reality the technology is not being used as a tool to facilitate learning or amplify learning.

Technology use being seen as an add-on

Teachers allow students to use devices, the Internet, a program or an app as a reward, for entertainment or as a time filler for students who finish early. Technology is being used as an add-on if there is time and in addition to the “regular” school work. Students might be asked to create a multimedia poster on a topic after they have written a report.

Technology use as a separate subject area

Technology is not being used as a way through which we teach and learn, but is being seen as a separate computer class, “iPad time” or keyboarding practice. Students have to wait until they assigned rotation time in a computer lab until they are able to work on a digital project or wait until their teacher includes use of technology in their weekly schedule.

Technology as a $1000 pencil initiative

Alan November in the book Curriculum21 (p.189) by Heidi Hayes Jacobs says: “The real problem is not adding technology to the current organization of the classroom, but changing the culture of teaching and learning”. November also talks about these “initiatives as “$1,000 pencil” programs“. Technology is meant to aid teachers in redefining and transforming teaching and learning. Good teaching will be amplified, while not so good teaching, even with technology, will be not be so good, expensive teaching. There might be visible technology in the classroom (tablets, interactive whiteboards, smartphones, 1:1 laptop programs), but does not guarantee the use of such as a technique or strategy to facilitate learning for our students.

_The_real_problem_is_not_adding_technology_to_the_current_organization_of_the_classroom__but_changing_the_culture_of_teaching_and_learning____Flickr_-_Photo_Sharing_

Technology seen as the solution to motivate and engage students

It is a reality that more and more students seem unmotivated and disengaged in our schools. Assuming that the use of technology is the solution to this phenomenon is a mistake. While students might initially be motivated by the use of shiny devices, this quickly dissipates. Engagement does not equal learning when the use of technology is not supported by strong objectives and goals as the foundation of its use. Many students would be engaged by being allowed to use their smart phones in class. However, without a strategic pedagogical plan how to connect such use to learning goals, students might just go through the motions without ever making connections to these goals.

 

 

Tools that Facilitate Documentation

by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano
cross posted to the Langwitches Blog
Document4LearningI am on a quest to make documenting FOR learning a topic to think about in all educational conversations. How do we document our own learning? How do we make learning visible to others, so we can share, collaborate and improving how we teach and learn? What role does documenting play in the process of learning?

Documenting is more than staying organized or writing down what will be or was taught. Documenting is part of the learning process!

Finding and sharing tools to help create these documentations and make it easier and more time efficient to do so is important too. This is the first post in a series to showcase such tools.

As part of the 5 day bootcamp with a cohort of teachers from the Goethe Schule, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, participants experienced the learning routine, LEARN-REFLECT-SHARE.

One of the first activities of the week together was to draw an illustration to make their view of themselves as teachers visible to others. Directly afterwards, I asked them to use Post it notes to reflect on their thinking as they were drawing their illustration. Throughout the 5 days the teachers had many different opportunities of experiencing the power of metacognition (thinking about their thinking) and to use different kinds of media to make that thinking visible in order to document it and share it.

postitnotesI chose for the first time to use the app Post-it Plus to document the activity.

postitI collected the sticky notes and scanned them in via the app.

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Post-it Plus:

  • allowed me to annotate each note
  • organize all notes on a board
  • re-arrange the notes as I pleased
  • gave me various options to export the notes.

postit2 postit3 postit4 board-overviewIt was super easy and convenient to export the sticky notes as images and upload to the cohort blog to give participants the opportunity to download their written reflection as a file in order to use it on their blog and reflection of learning.

note01 note02 note03 note04 note05 note06 note07 note08 [Goethe] note09 note10 [Goethe] note11 [Goethe] note12 note13 [Goethe] note14 [Goethe] note15 note16 [Goethe]

What will be the most significant classroom innovation in the next 10 years?

by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano, Globally Connected Learning Consultant
cross posted to the Langwitches Blog

What a catching blog post title. It might have caught your attention because of the keywords “the most significant” and “innovations” and a promise of a prediction to guide you into the future. Taking into consideration that devices, such as the iPhone, which changed an entire culture of anytime and anywhere connectedness, information flow, participation, creators, producers and learners, did not exist 10 years ago, I am venturing out to say that there is no accurate answer for what will be “significant” 10 years from today. I will disappoint you if you were looking for short, easy to follow instructions. Especially in education, planning for a “moving target” leaves us anxious, eager and willing to give our ear to anyone who promises us guidelines for that future we so desperately are looking for.

Taking a look at the definition of innovation in Wikipedia, I can only give you my best educated guess when we are looking for “a new idea, device or process” that “can be viewed as the application of better solutions” that meets “new requirements, inarticulated needs, or existing market needs.”

innovationMy vote for the most significant classroom innovation is the process of being able to learn how to learn. That process falls under the category of “existing market needs”, with a steadily increasing rate of importance in the years to come. This would be my best guess when working with so many unknown variables which are undoubtedly awaiting us. Possessing the ability of learning how to learn, will give us as teachers and our students the ability to grow in a world of continuously and exponentially increasing rate of change.

Learning how to learn embeds the notion of self-directeness and self-motivation as a learner. The view of seeing oneself as a life-long learner with a growth mindset, defined by Carol Dweck as “ intelligence that can be developed, which leads to a desire to learn” is inherent to the process of learning how to learn.

We are looking at becoming fluent in a work- and learnflow as a process to be able to flourish in a world with ever changing tools, platforms, networks and external innovations that will have a significant impact in the world of education.

  • Learning how to learn will include knowing how to find filter, find, evaluate, categorize, store, remix and create information… no matter how much information is available or in what format, media or language it is available.
  • Learning how to learn will mean how to work and learn with (not just about) people at a global scale… no matter how far the geographic distance, time zones, cultural and language differences.
  • Learning how to learn will mean to be able to understand the differences and purpose of a variety of platforms and being able to harness the power of these networks… no matter the type of existing platforms, the need to migrate to new platforms or the necessity of fluently being able to switch between platforms for specific purposes.
  • Learning how to learn will mean to adapt to new forms of media… no matter if this means letting go of nostalgic attachments or customary workflows of routine ways of reading, writing and communicating.

Although we don’t know exactly how the world will look like in 10 years, what “new requirements, inarticulated needs, or existing market needs” it will have, we do know that it will be different than our world today. The only way to prepare for that world is to possess the ability to adapt to change, have a growth mindset and be prepared to continue learning.

From Visible Thinking Routines to 5 Modern Learning Routines

by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano
Cross posted to the Langwitches Blog

I have been a fan of Visible Thinking Routines which were developed by Project Zero from Havard, for a while now. I have used these routines with students, as blogging routines and in professional development workshops.

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The Visible Thinking Routines website explains that:

Routines exist in all classrooms; they are the patterns by which we operate and go about the job of learning and working together in a classroom environment. A routine can be thought of as any procedure, process, or pattern of action that is used repeatedly to manage and facilitate the accomplishment of specific goals or tasks.[…] Classrooms also have routines that structure the way students go about the process of learning

As I am trying to make 21st century, modern, contemporary or “now” learning visible, it seemed a natural step to point out “Modern” or “Now” Learning Routines.

Here are my 5 routines that promote modern learning:modern-learning-routines

1. Read > Write> Commentread-write-comment
Read as much as you can on your subject. Read books, blog posts, tweets, news articles, RSS feeds, etc.

Write about what you read, write about connections you are making between the content you have read, write about things you wonder about and write your reflection of your thoughts. What did you think about? What does that make you want to explore further? Why do you agree? Why don’t you agree? What steps will you take, now that you learned about something new?

Comment or annotate on the things you read. Leave a public comment on things you read online, annotate on the margins of physical reading material with sticky notes, highlighters or pencil. Make your mark by leaving your initial reaction or thoughts and connections visibly in the space.

2. Learn > Reflect > Share

learn-reflect-share
Learn the way you learn best, listen to a lecture, watch a demonstration, write and organize your knowledge in a mindmap, discuss an area of interest with a friend, watch a movie, go to a workshop, attend a university class, etc.

Reflect about an experience, be cognizant of what and how you are thinking, be aware of where you are coming from, of different perspectives, influences that are and have guided your thinking and choices. Jon Dewey said: ” We don’t learn from experience, we learn when we reflect on our experience.”

Share your learning and your reflection with others. Make a conscious effort to not only reflect quietly in your own mind , but make your reflecting visible and shareable, preferable in digital form. The digital form can be archived, duplicated and amplified beyond a limited amount of face to face colleagues.

3. Contribute > Feedback > Grow

contribute-feedback-growContribute to the learning of others, add value by answering questions, share your expertise, bring in another perspective or a different point of view, Contribute by sharing examples of what works and doesn’t work in education. Be a building block for others to remix and build upon your work, so we can transform learning together, across time zones and geographic borders.

Be open to receiving (and giving) Feedback by being transparent with your work. Take feedback into consideration to see your work through different eyes. Let feedback push your train of thought in a different direction or receive affirmation that you have been looking in the same direction. Feedback will allow you to gauge interest of others in your area of interest. Connections that you make via feedback (left by you or for you) will help you build your learning network.

Grow from critical feedback you receive. Grow your learning network by giving more than you take. Learning is a process, where you will be in a different place from where you started out from. Grow by achieving goals that you had set for yourself and grow from the experience in overcoming obstacles.

4. Watch > Do > Teach

watch-do-teachWatch someone use a tool, you have never used to learn before. Observe someone take a traditionally taught lesson and transform it by using technology to amplify learning. Watch how students take ownership of their own learning as you watch a video of another teacher documenting a lesson from their classroom. Watch how a mentor skypes into your classroom and co-teaches virtually. Watch a coach model a lesson about digital citizenship for your students. Watch a consultant share workshop material.

Do, try it out, test it, experiment with what you saw to make it your own. It does not have to be perfect the first time you DO (Remember: FAIL means “First Attempt In Learning”). See what works and what does not in your individual situation.

Teach it to others. Aristotle already proclaimed: Teaching is the highest form of understanding. One of Alan November’s Digital Learning Farm jobs is that of a Tutorial Designer. In order to be able to teach a concept or content to someone else, higher level of understanding of content knowledge is required.

5. Document > Present > Disseminate

document-present-disseminate

Documenting FOR Learning is a supporting piece for the study of self-determined learning (Heutagogy) and a strategic approach and technique to facilitate learning (Pedagogy). Document learning as it is happening. Use different media (text, images, audio, video) to archive what you are teaching, what your students are creating. Document the timeline of events. Document student voices and understanding. Make the process visible for others. Documentation allows teachers to share best practices with colleagues and to make teaching available for students outside of classroom hours. Documenting is a tool to inform further instructions and a way for teachers to reflect on their own lesson plans, delivery and teaching pedagogy. Documentation allows teachers and students to build their footprint in a digital world.

Present your documentation in a form that makes it easy to share and is visually appealing to others. Become the lead storyteller of your learning. Create slide decks that “readers” can view in their own time. Show process by creating a visual timeline. Allow others to be a fly on the wall in your classroom by making a video of learning taking place. Create a video that summarizes your learning, easy for others to take a look at. Create infographics to visual represent numbers that tell a story. Create a space online (website, blog, Instagram account, Facebook, etc.) to be able to give others access to what you are presenting. Apply and present at conferences (face to face and virtual ones) to share with other educators and students.

Disseminate your documentation. The movie quote from Field of Dreams: “If you build it, they will come…” is NOT true. Simply documenting and presenting your work on a public platform will not necessarily bring in the masses to give you a global audience. It takes strategic action to disseminate your work. Send out a tweet, leave a comment with a link on a relevant post. Create a visual with a relevant quote to disseminate with a link. Create video trailers or teasers to make others interested in your work. Write a guest post on someone else’s blog. Write an article for a journal or magazine. Write a book. Offer to be interviewed. Create work capable to be disseminate on different media platforms (Images, audio, video, slide decks, infographics, etc.)

3 Reasons Why You Should Share and 3 Things You can Do to Start Sharing

by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano, cross posted to the Langwitches Blog

soapbox

I am back on my soapbox…

  • …because I continue to see great things happening in classrooms, but get blank stares, when I ask, if these things are being shared beyond the school building.
  • …because I watch as administrators feel the need to “protect” their faculty from “one more thing to do”.
  • …because I continue to hear fear of transparency, competition, privacy and technology skills and tech phobia.

share4 Setting up my soapbox to raise awareness of the “moral imperative of sharing” for teachers (Dean Shareski) goes back to his keynote in 2010 at the K-12 Online Conference. Since then I have stepped on that soapbox via my blog and at conferences advocating for the IMPORTANCE and NECESSITY of sharing.

George Couros, recently published 4 Reasons People Don’t Blog, which are in essence the same reasons why people don’t share (just substitute “blogging” for “sharing”)

  1. Blogging is useless
  2. I have no time
  3. I’m a private person
  4. No one cares what I have to say

He closes his blog post by pointing out the importance of sharing as an integral component of learning as well as underline “the willingness of others”

I have learned a ton not only from my own blog, but from benefitting from others that have been willing to share their teaching and learning with me, and because of that, as Dean Shareski stated, I am better off for the willingness of others to share.

shareI DO want to understand WHY it seems so hard for some many educators to share…but only in order to build an airtight argument that SHARING best practices, reflections and documentation of learning is the essential fabric of education and the building block of networking, growing and moving forward.

moral-imperative-sharing2

We need to stop looking at all the reasons why educators DON’T SHARE and start looking at and DOING all the things WHY we NEED TO SHARE.

So here is my list: 3 Things Why You (as an Educator) Should Share

1. The shift of a culture of consumers to producers is built on sharing and disseminating.
Our world, and in particular the world of our students, is build on the culture of sharing. Ex. Sharing your status on facebook, adding a book review on Amazon, leaving a comment on a product you purchased online, photos on Instagram and videos on Snapchat and YouTube. Educators need to acknowledge the shift outside of the classroom and take advantage of the shift for learning with our students.

2. Painting the picture of teaching and learning in your school
Too many other people (non-educators, policy makers, politicians, media, etc.) are painting a grim picture of the teaching profession, teaching in general, schools and student learning. It is time to become our own storytellers. Sharing student successes and teachers’ professional and continuous learning MUST overshadow and outnumber the negative press and reputation that has been building up.

3. The future of learning is social and build on and around Professional Learning Networks.
Networking is built on a concept of sharing. Networking is defined by the Merriam_Webster dictionary as “the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions”. In order for an exchange to take place, someone has to step up to SHARE. Without sharing there is no network. Someone has to give and someone has to take, without giving the machinery of how a network works will not function. In our Information Age, where information is being generated at exponential speed, we need to rely on a network to filter quality and relevant information for us. It is our responsibility to be the filter and curator for others as well.

sharingSo from 3 reasons WHY you should share… on to 3 Things you can do to start sharing…

share63 Things What You (as an Educator) Can Do to Start Sharing

1. Stop resisting change
We need educators, in particular administrators, to stop resisting change, take a deeper look at the world around them and LEAD by modeling! Sharing is and needs to be a method, a strategy and a technique to improve teaching and learning practices, benefiting an entire school learning community.

2. Create a workflow to document teaching and learning
Great things are happening in your classroom and in your schools. Learn to embed documenting best practices, student learning and action research in a digital form to be able to easily disseminate via a blog, twitter, photo or video sharing site.

3. Start small.
Add a comment on a blog you read, share a resource, a link, a book or an article you have learned from on Twitter. Let students take over in documenting learning in their classroom. Use your cell phone to take photos of learning in action, write a descriptive comment under the photo and share on a blog, Instagram, a classroom site, blog, Twitter or Facebook account.

share3You can start sharing right here by adding your reasons WHY educators should share and WHAT you can DO to start sharing?

Student Voices: Using Social Media to Share Your Passion and Affect Change in the World

The GIN (Global Issues Network) conference brought together an amazing group of young people, all united in their desire to change the world for the better and collaboratively find solutions to the world’s problems.

The Global Issues Network (GIN) empowers young people to collaborate locally, regionally and globally to create solutions for global issues. Each year, thousands of students worldwide engage in GIN-related activities.

langwitches-GINI had the opportunity to work directly with students during two breakout sessions about the use of Social Media (Thank you Lisa Goochee for your support and participation) Students had been researching, planning and working together on a solution under a chosen topic listed in the twenty global problems identified by Jean-François Rischard in his book High Noon: Twenty Global Problems, Twenty Years to Solve Them (2002).

They had created video trailers showcasing their projects and prepared presentations to share with their fellow GIN conference attendees from International schools all over Central and South America.

How could these students:

  • reach an audience beyond the conference attendees?
  • strategically build a network to connect with other students interested in global issues?
  • disseminate their challenges, solutions and ideas to receive feedback and gain support?
  • make contact with NGOs, experts in their field of interest or potential funding partners?
  • continue working with other teams and schools to continue to grow their projects beyond the physical dates of a face to face conference?

The answer: Building a social media network. While there are many different social media platforms that anyone can use to build a network in order to affect social change, the basic idea behind the potential of connecting, collaborating, communicating, crowdsourcing or crowdfunding is similar to all platforms. These platforms also include video-streaming websites like Youtube. And if the thought of buying likes and views has crossed your mind, or if a colleague of yours is thinking about buying likes for their youtube videos, they should proceed right ahead.

  1. Create a “storefront”, a profile or bio to let others know who you are and what you stand for
  2. Build a network by strategically choosing people/organizations/companies to follow
  3. Encourage the “right” people to follow you back
  4. Contribute quality content
  5. Participate in conversations (give feedback, ask questions, add perspectives, add value)
  6. Build a brand (document your work, share , interact, inspire, present, showcase, etc.)
  7. Grow, weed and maintain your network

I challenged the group of teens in my session to take another look at a Twitter . Most had an account, but we encouraged the ones who did not to create one.

  • How could they use the account to connect and promote their project?
  • How could social media help them build a positive digital footprint and become part of their portfolio?
  • How could they build a network of peers and experts?

The rest of the session was hands-on.

  • create a Twitter account (if you didn’t have one)
  • choose a username
  • create a profile description
  • Tweet1:INFORM: share something with follow GIN attendees (use the hashtag)
  • Tweet2: CONNECT: mention a keynote speaker (give feedback, ask a question, connect….)
  • Tweet3:REFLECT: share your aha moment
  • harvest usernames of other GIN attendees to add to your network

Twitter-challengeHere are a few examples of students sharing a tweet with their network.

Who else is teaching social media skills, techniques and strategies for students to start building their own learning/professional network? How are we supporting students to harness the power of social media? How do we encourage students to add their voices about the issues they are passionate about to the conversation? Can you share your strategies as a teacher with the rest of us?