Social Networking Reflection

This is a bittersweet moment…my last assignment for my last class in the Ed Tech program. I took this class to challenge myself, to extend/expand my comfort zone, and I have! I knew I would learn a lot, but I didn’t realize what I would learn. Looking back I see how my learning network has expanded. The easiest way to explain my growth is probably by each application that has had the most impact.

twitter-logo-hashtagI have a TweetDeck that doesn’t fit on my jumbo screen because I am following so many groups now. It makes participating in simultaneous chats easier, for sure. Apps like Nurph and ChatWING are also Twitter enhancements that have made participating easier, as well. Chat Salad also was very helpful in locating chat groups and time that fit with my PLE.




This curation tool is amazing! It is standards-based, easy to use and search. The layout is similar to Pinterest but the resources are much easier to access. I like that I could also follow different people, which expanded my learning network. Overall, curation, whether it is Mastery Connect, PearlTrees, ScoopIt, or such, is a useful way to keep track of resources and see what others in the field find valuable. It is helpful having these new tools instead of just using bookmarking to collect resources.


This was another great addition to my network. Finding different sources for webinars has been extremely helpful. I live in a rural area where subs are not easy to come by and being able to watch and interact via a webinar saves both time and money and is very convenient. I don’t have to take a day off work, drive 3 hours each way to sit and be talked at for an hour or so. The seminars are what I need and want, and I can interact with the presenter and other attendees. This is not the case in many workshops I have attended over the years. Another perk of being on the listserv for these organizations is I can share information with my co-workers and other teachers I have worked with in the past.


Taking time to really look at the digital footprint I am leaving and coming up with a plan to manage where I go from here as well as trying to cleanup what is already out there is very important to me. I have Googled myself before and such but never took the time to go as in depth as I did for the assignment on managing our digital footprint. I purchased my name as a domain and am taking the steps to create a unified presence in all of my various portals: Facebook, LinkedIn, Mastery Connect, Edmodo, Google, Twitter, and so on.

I find it rather ironic that I teach digital citizenship to students on how to create an ethical footprint but had never really stopped to think about how to manage my own.

I was surprised that this course did not include more blogging and that the majority of the interaction used Facebook. I liked using Facebook to to communicate and exchange ideas. It was much more effective than using the Blog, as I could see multiple streams of conversations at once. Even with Feedly or such, you don’t get the same sense of community as you do with the class page.

So the bottom line… What will I take away from this course? First, I have a new appreciation for social media and the role it has on professional development and enhancing student collaboration. The second thing I will keep in my toolbox is curation to keep track of the resources, both digital and human, that will enhance my learning environment for years to come.

As for my self-assessment about my blog performance, I feel that I have done as expected, and in some modules more. I am starting to get the feel for blogging, and have implemented it into my classroom practice. I am by no means a prolific blogger, and that is okay, I will take the quality of the post over the volume. I used a standard blogging rubric to grade myself. The grade is 95%, which is 71 points. Here are the results:




Frankler, K., (2012). A rubric for evaluating student blogs. Retrieved from:

Ric17Nicoler, (2013). Digital Footprint [Image]. Retreived from:

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Posted by on December 7, 2014 in Uncategorized



School Social Media Policy

tempted_by_social_media_by_haakonlie-d68insiI have a love hate relationship with student having cell phones in class.This is mostly because they haven’t been taught to use their personal electronic devices responsibly or for educational purposes. I teach middle school and cell phones can be very disruptive. My students love to text, usually not very appropriately, and are distracted by the running conversations with other students who also are not supposed to have or be using a cell phone on campus. I have been making an effort to use my phone between classes to highlight how apps on a phone can be educational, not just recreational. Before the latest network blockade, my students would come and gather round me while we read the latest news headlines, checked the weather (always a fascination for some reason), or I showed them how email, Evernote, or blogging worked on a cell phone. It amazed me at just how curious and shocked they were that you could actually use the phone as a tool.

I have long argued that we should teach students how to use their phones, iPods, and such responsibly instead of having blanket bans. It is similar to student use of the Internet, as many students don’t realize that it is a powerful tool for learning not just an entertainment portal. We need to choose our battles and funnel student enthusiasm so they are consuming technology wisely, not abusing or misusing it. As for social media, it is currently all blocked, with the exception of Edublogs. Students enrolled in computer apps classes have closely monitored/moderated access. Other than that, there is no authorized access to social media by students, and very limited access to blogs and lesson sharing resources for faculty. Building on that supposition, and after reading several different organizations’ policies, I crafted my social media policy. I have two direct quotes in my policy. The first is statement 2.a.vii in my document which is from line 3.5 in Calgary Catholic School District’s Electronic Social Media policy and my item 2.e from line 2.8 of that same policy (2012). I could not find a way to say it better. I did try to stay somewhat true to my district’s current district policy (which doesn’t address social media) as far as general technology use.

8718123610_09e70f6d90Introduction to this policy could be done in the technology and Internet safety training classes that parents are currently taking. To solicit specific feedback and input for this policy I would do the following:

  1. Post the proposed policy on the school/district website with options to post comments
  2. Have a round table discussion with teachers at one or more PLC sessions
  3. Hold class discussions with students during social studies classes
  4. Have students post their thoughts and concerns as comments to a blog post
  5. Send a copy of the proposed policy with the school newsletter soliciting community input
  6. Have an open forum during parent/teacher conferences.


Alberta. (2012). Digital citizenship policy development guide. Edmonton: Alberta Education, School Technology Branch.

Baboquivari Unified School District. (n.d.). Use if technology resources in instruction electronic information services ueser agreement (I-6431 IJNDB-E). Retrieved from

Ben-Avarahm, Y. (n.d.). Solving jigsaw puzzle [Graphic]. Retrieved from Catholic School District. (2012). Electronic Social Media (NEPN Code: GC). Retrieved from

HaakonLie. (2013, June). Tempted by social media [Drawing]. Retrieved from

Livingstone Range School Division No. 68. (2013, June). Electronic Social Media. Retrieved from

Melrose Public Schools. (n.d.). Electronic Communication and Social Media Use Policy. Retrieved from

Scope & Sequence | Common Sense Media. (2012). Retrieved from

Willow Creek Composite High School. (2014, October 1). Student Owned Devices in School. The Navigator [Claresholm, AB], p. 3.



Social Media and Networking in the Classroom

For Module 6 I chose to use EduClipper for curating my resources. I hadn’t used the application before and decided to give it a whirl. So, I learned a about a new application and it even works at school!  I like the layout of EduClipper it is rather random at first glance, as the most recent clip or board is first – regardless of who posted it. You may have to do some searching to find a particular board. I haven’t quite figure out how to search the database efficiently yet, but I will. One draw back is in sharing a board (collection) with non-members. It seems they really want you to join, it is free by the way, to be able to view someone’s resources. Please click on the image to hopefully be transported to my board – without joining (I do recommend it though, there are a LOT of great resources to be found!).

I didn’t think that this assignment would be difficult or time consuming, I was wrong.This module had several challenges. The first was finding the lessons that required student to use social networking and media as part of the activity or assessment that fit with my teaching assignment. I chose to ignore the fact that the categories of social media and networking (that extends to YouTube) are currently blocked/banned and focused on finding things that would work if the restrictions were lifted. Currently, I teach computer applications for grades 6-8 in a very rural area. I try to team up with the “academic” teachers as often as possible to support the standards they are currently working on. Other than the keyboarding, I use project based learning in my classes. I think it is important for students to be able to apply their learning and my role as the teacher is to provide the opportunity for them to do so using authentic tasks, not with worksheets.

There are a lot of lessons out there, but the vast majority just didn’t meet the criteria I was trying to match, especially since I was looking to find a variety of applications (blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Skype, and so on). I did discover thankfully that case studies were much easier to find, yet more time consuming to read and determine if they fit the collection. In the end, I think I found very valuable information and lessons that I can incorporate into my classes that I would not have had otherwise.

One other thing I learned from this assignment is that this project is much like the last; I can loose myself in the searching and reading for hours, and that is not an exaggeration.

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Posted by on November 3, 2014 in Uncategorized




My PLE is much larger than this but this is a start.I chose a water fountain because just as the water flows and cascades so does my learning. You can see in this photo water splashing, it reminds me that we may focus on one level but our learning splashes over into other areas and topics while all flowing back together eventually.

I chose to use one of the mind mapping tools suggested for Module 5 – SpicyNodes. I looked over several others, but decided I liked the movement in this app offered. It took me a while to get focused on this assignment. As I felt a little like Alice falling down the rabbit hole. When I got stopped and was able to focus on the different communities I have encountered and started using, it was hard to limit myself and I know I left many out trying to stay on task. The progression and participation in the different communities is not linear but more like a bowl of spaghetti – all intertwined, or if you want to stick with the water analogy, you can’t distinguish where each specific drop of water came from because they are all mixed together in the fountain.


I started with two basic connections Moodle and Google. Whilst the resources listed under one heading there is a lot intertwining, overlapping, and melding of the involvement in the various communities.

Google is the real starting point for me. The communities I found and participate in come from my connection to using Google. For this illustration I chose:

  • Email
  • Shared Documents
    • VoiceThread
    • Prezi
    • Google Drive
    • Glogster
  • Networking
    • LinkedIn
    • Google+
    • Google Hangout
  • Search
    • Mastery Connect
    • Pixabay
    • Share My Lesson

Moodle was the second offshoot of my fountain of learning. My connection to Moodle is really from doing some searching for a program and ending up at Boise State. For this assignment though, I am focusing on the different learning communities I have learnt to utilize because of using Moodle.

  • Blogging
    • WordPress
      • Symbaloo
      • Edmodo
    • Feedly
      • eSchool News
        • Connected Educator
        • Discovery Education
  • Buck Institute for Education
    • PBLU
  • Copyright Friendly Music and Pictures
    • Compfight
    • Wikimedia Commons
    • Jamendo
    • Soundzabound
  • Social Networking
    • Diigo
    • Factbook
    • Twitter
      • Common Sense Media
      • TeacherCast
        • Remind
        • Hour of Code
      • Class Dojo

Viewing the wide array of diagrams, you can see personalities shine through and a lot of commonalities.Even though the vast majority of the diagrams have many of the same basic components: Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Diigo, and such, you can see the importance of each of the communities in relation to the learner.

  • Kyle’s illustration of a football play. You can see the overlap and movement of the different tools he utilizes.
  • I really like how Kimberly used the flower petals to illustrate how everything is connected to her and showed the importance by the size of the image within the petals.
  • Alissa used the hands to show the circular connections. What I really liked about her PLE were the labels. They made it clear why she selected the different apps for different areas.
  • Chef Andrew made me smile, but it also makes you stop and think. It really does take a little of this and some of that to make a good recipe for learning. You can just focus on one source or tool.
  • Bryan has a great target, with the three methods he uses to access his learning environment. I see that all the tools are how he connects himself and his learning to people.
  • Ross’s diagram is spaghetti art! I can relate to his and all the twists and loops because that is how learning is for me as well.
  • Katie’s really shows how things are connected and build on one another.

My diagram/web is divided into chunks and is interactive, yet still contains many of the same communities as other students. What I see as different are the types of communities we all selected. Social networking communities are the main source in most of the diagrams. My communities were spread over a variety of social networks, presentations, copyright friendly sources, and all things Google.


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Posted by on October 26, 2014 in Uncategorized


Online Communities

For this modules assignment we were to join 4 new communities and interact, not just lurk. For this assignment I chose:


my lesson




LinkedIn is similar to Facebook, but is for professionals and drama free. This is a great way to network, so remember to keep your profile upto date and professional. You never know who is looking at it!

Mastery connect is spectacular! It is similar to Pinterest, but is solely for academics. Set some time aside and explore all there is to offer in this site. I was amazed at the amount of time that flew by as I explored.

Share My Lesson has a plethora of lesson plans for a wide range of grades and contents. This is a great resource, even if it is just for an idea. There are also teaching tips and resources. Look up Teacher Technique Tool-Kit – All you need!!! This PowerPoint, created by ELA Team, is full of assessment and engagement strategies that all teachers can benefit from.

Symbaloo EDU, just like the non academic version, is bookmarking using icons or tiles. It is easy to use and share. They have a large library of educational webmixes that you can use and edit and tiles that you can add to your own mixes. I like that you can build a mix that is specific to your class and share it with students.By having the tiles, students have a visual clue as to what the link is for. This is very helpful for students with cognitive processing difficulties.

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Posted by on October 26, 2014 in Uncategorized



Webinars and Chats for PD


  1. TechEducator Podcast: High Tech Ways to Communicate with Students and Parents – This informative session focused on different technologies for mass communication with students and parents. The primary focus was on the use of Remind. It was cool to have my question posed by the host. I wanted to know if the messages used any cellular data. The answer is no. They are SMS messages only, which is great for where I live since data isn’t always available.
  2. Digital Storytelling – this webinar was strange as the portal was there and setup, but nothing happened. Other people came and went but the presentation never happened. I thought I was there at the wrong time but according to the screen, I joined the live session. Therefore, I am not counting this one…
  3. Digital Citizenship: New Roles and Responsibilities in the Digital Age hosted by OCLO WebJunction – This webinar focused on using Common Sense Media, a resource I was familiar with prior to the webinar. I did learn a lot as I didn’t know the extent of the materials available through this organization. The materials are free and easily downloadable. I did ask a question about the resources, but it was not answered. What I wanted to know was if the resources were available as a collection verses as individual downloads. On reflection, I think I should have posed my question a little differently to clarify what I was asking. Either way, I wish the moderator had answered my question. Another benefit of using this service was the certificate that they sent for my attendance and participation. A drawback of this webinar was the sound. I had a difficult time hearing the various speakers. Fortunately, the slides were helpful and I got the gist of what was said.
  4. Managing Google Apps Inside Your School District – This webinar was hosted by Tech Learning via New Bay Media. I had difficulty getting the Wi-Fi connection to work, so resorted to the audio option using my iPhone. This session used the same Webex portal as the Digital Citizenship session and again I had problems with the audio. I could not hear the speakers clearly and gave up halfway through the presentation. Since I couldn’t hear or participate, I am not counting this session even though they sent me an attendance certificate.
  5. I revisited the TechEducator weekly webinar for another session on Teaching Elementary Students to Code. This is a combination of a webinar and chat. I like that it is a free flow of information and sharing. I got more from others than I had to share – I was here mostly as a lurking learner. I teach middle school but felt I could still learn from this webinar, and I did. The Hour of Code and Kodable were the focus with mentions of scratch and hopscotch. One of the main points brought out was that coding is not only a programming skills, but it is applicable to academics and provides an opportunity for students to collaborate. Another thing that stood out was how the coding is building not only collaboration but also resilience. The presenters noted that the coding did not have to be done online; there are options for pencil and paper. This is great for those with limited connection. From the chat conversation, we discussed when to fit in an hour for coding. The answer was in bits and pieces. The misconception is that the coding must be done in one session, it does not. It is completed over the course of a week. That got me to thinking it would be a great activity for my homeroom, as we have 15-20 minutes daily that we could utilize for coding. The logic, critical thinking, and decision-making skills students develop would cross over into several areas. For this session, I was mobile, so I used my laptop to watch. The host pointed out that chatwing now had an app, so I downloaded it and used it to chat. I did have to refresh my chatwing connection midway through the presentation and reverted to my laptop. There was a lot of share of resources, so I figured I would pass them along.
  6. Discovery Education: Difficulty and Complexity in the Classroom – Doing Both and Saving Time. This presentation was informative and I learned a lot. I really could have used this more in previous years when I was a reading facilitator, but I can still use the premise in my classes. Since it will be available online in a few days, I will send the link on to the ELA teachers and reading facilitators. What I did get from this presentation is how to use a grade level excerpt with diverse learning abilities. The presenters gave suggestions on how to differentiate instruction so all learners can benefit. They also went over DOK and how it applied in various senarios. The meat of this webinar was in the presentation, even though some of the participants shared some resources. I liked that you had to take a quiz to get the attendance certificate. I took the quiz to get my certificate, and then just shook my head, because the certificate was for “What Should Students be Writing? Common Core Expectations for Writing and Best Practices for Meeting Writing Requirements.”
  7. Discovery Education: Leadership in the Age of Connectedness. This was a great webinar! One of the participants Rachel, started a shared Google Doc (this is a copy) that several of us contributed to. I think listening, chatting, and working on the document is what really stood out as a learning experience for me. The presenters were pretty awesome, and if you get a chance I would recommend their book The Relevant Educator. The conversation in the chat was good and I felt as I contributed. I was more tuned in to listening and then helping with the document. One thing that resonated with me is a closing comment by Tom Whitby and one we had heard before. He said start looking at the different streams for the organizations, and see who they are following, then check the people or groups out to see who you should add to your Personal Learning Network. The slides from this presentation will be available in a few days. I would strongly recommend that you look them over.

Overall, I enjoyed this structure. It was an efficient and effective use of my time. I could choose sessions that applied directly to my learning needs, instead of having to sit through a one-size-fits-all session. Sadly, the vast majority of the webinars I found were during the school day when I couldn’t participate. That was definitely a drawback. On the upside, most of them were recorded so I can see what I missed but you miss the collaborative aspect that way. I also learned that if you are going through a service such as Webex, be sure to join early as it can take a while to get through the sign in process and make sure your Wi-Fi connection is stable. I watched the end of the session on my iPhone and could still respond in the chat/twitter box.

Twitter Chats:

  1. #EdChat – this was session was pretty fast paced, but I did get a great suggestion from one of the participants on some different apps to help get more out of assessments: Nearpod, TodaysMeet, GetKahoot, and Socrative. There was an interesting infographic from this session shared by Jeff Noonan as well.
  2. #StoryCraft – this is a group of writers that have a discussion using twitter. I was hoping to get some tips on how to get my students engaged in writing. Instead, I was surprised that I was able to provide some advice on how to add subtext by suggesting ways to incorporate body language and intonation into the narrative to help the reader with inference.
  3. #21stEdChat – this was an interesting chat. The primary focus for my part was a discussion on collaboration. Specifically, how to blend instruction with collaboration and reflection time. This was interesting but not as flowing as other chats I followed.i dont know
  1. #MSMathChat – this is for middle school math teachers. Tonight’s discussion was two pronged. The first question was on fostering intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. The conversation drifted at times but the upshot is many of the participants use extrinsic rewards such as tickets or fake money or using applications like Class Dojo. The intent is to build confidence so students begin to internalize success and become self-motivated. One of the comments that stuck was do we want students to be divergent or convergent thinkers, and based on that what motivation do we foster. The second was on how to redirect students without burning the relationship bridge. There were a variety of answers, some rather tongue-in-cheek, but overall respectfully was the message and to let each day begin with a clean slate.

I watched a couple of other chats such as #EdTechChat, but it went so fast I didn’t really enjoy it. I did get a few tips from it but prefer the slower paced chats that I can follow and contribute. As I get the hang of it, I have learned that by using my tweet deck I can participate in multiple chats at once – if they aren’t going crazy. Tonight I had #diglit next to #msmathchat and was able to pick up some good resources and contribute a few tweets in the digital literacy stream while I focused primarily on the math chat.

I think some of the weekly webinars, and definitely some of the Twitter chats are going to become a regular part of my ongoing personal/professional development. I wasn’t so thrilled with Twitter at the beginning, but the more I use it the more I learn from it.



Curation Reflection

My PLN group for EdTech 543 came up with a specific set of criteria for curation. Upon reflection, this is how I would rate my curated topic at PearlTrees.

  1. Determine what to curate:The topic I chose was WICOR, I did break down each component as I felt it clarified the topic and wasn’t as cluttered.
  2. Identify audience:This collection is primarily for middle school teachers. There are several resources that are well suited for high school and college professionals, and even some that elementary teachers can utilize. Overall, my target was middle school teachers and this collection represents that population.
  3. Set a schedule:I didn’t have a set schedule, I did set aside an hour or two each day to find and review the resources. I think the scheduling comes into play once you are established, not so much, as when you are still in the creation stage.
  4. Verify the veracity of the information or writer:I did this; with the exception of the added collection, (those resources were from verified sources). All of the resources in this collection are from known organizations. I didn’t include individual blogs, maybe as time goes on.
  5. Identify several sources to follow:This I did. You will see in the collection several resources are from the same organization. I focused on AVID of course and National Council of Teachers of English.
  6. Determine relevance of information to the collection:This was one of the more difficult criteria to follow. I did a lot of sifting. Even though I read each piece for initial selection, it further reflection to see how it fit with the other resources. During this process, many of the articles or sites were deleted and new ones added.
  7. What sources are acceptable:This was easy…as long as it met the other criteria of being relevant and accurate it didn’t matter the format. Having a variety was important.
  8. Determine if the age of the artifact: For the most part, age of the artifact was not an issue given the nature of the collection. Age would be a factor for any applications suggested as technology is changing so rapidly, but at this time the resources were not age sensitive.
  9. Filter sources based on usefulness and fit with collection: This turned out to be one of the key criteria. I ended up deleting many of the resources, as they didn’t fit, even though they met the rest of the criteria. I did save them however, just didn’t include them in the collection. Also, I noticed as you find more and more artifacts and reflect on them you may end up changing the slant you want to take with the collection.
  10. Determine how to annotate each finding: This was a difficult task. The assignment specifically stated not to just summarize the artifact, but I still felt an overview was important. I ended up with a brief overview and justification as to why I selected the resource and in most cases how it applied to the classroom.
  11. Bring out the interesting points of each artifact: In the summary I tried to bring out what I found interesting and useful in each resource so viewers knew why I had selected it.
  12. Determine the flow/layout for information: PearlTrees is rather limited in the layout options. What I did to make the collection more user-friendly was to breakdown each component of WICOR in order, with one component addressing WICOR as an overall strategy.
  13. Make collection accessible/user friendly: I setup the layout to be as user-friendly as possible by having each component in a separate section. PearlTrees also gives you an option to share with Facebook Friends, so I opted to do this. PearlTrees also sends you notifications if someone else adds one of your artifacts so you can go and look at their collection and of collections and artifacts that match what you are curating.
  14. Set a schedule: I am still working on this. I think it is important to set time aside to working on finding resources and making sure what you have still fits, but I haven’t figured out when to do this. The best time would be some time during the school day, but I generally encounter so may web filter blocks that this may not be feasible. As of now, I am doing it when I remember and have time available.
  15. Establish feedback loop: I am not to this point in my curation. I am starting to get notifications that someone else has added the same resource and that makes you feel validated and that you can contribute to others. Which is the whole point of developing an PLN.
  16. Keep it ethical – avoid piracy: This was an easy to do, since the PearlTrees artifacts I used were links. I can see though it could be problematic as you can upload files. Given the structure the credit for these sources would have to be in the a comment.


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Posted by on October 13, 2014 in Uncategorized