Category Archives: 2.4 Integrated Technologies

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.



Communities of Practice, Connectivism, and Personal Learning Networks

Here is my non-linguistic view for Module 2 – A Creative Expression of Your Understanding of Communities of Practice, Connectivism, Personal Learning Networks.

Communities of Practice are groups we learn from, either as an active participant or an observer. For example, take the first image in my Prezi it is of women of various ages quilting. These women not only are teaching others the craft of quilting, but more than likely sharing some wisdom as well. As the less skilled quilters watch and practice, they develop greater skills. Another example could be a new girl at school, she may often stand back and observe how the students dress, interact, and behave before engaging in activities or conversations. This behavior is also common for students who are learning the language. They are learning by observing. Whether we realize it or not, we are involved in and learning from many “communities” throughout the day (Smith, 2009).

Connectivism is all about cooperative networks. Each person may learn or take away something completely different from the same learning experience. According to George Siemens learning begins at a cellular level and builds from there. It is a social process about “how we connect, build, and improve” (Siemens, 2013). While the learning may start with face-to-face interactions, it is not limited to physical connections. The learning environment has expanded with the advent of communication technology into the global mainstream. For example, going back to the new girl, as she adjusts to her new school she begins to make friend and adds them to her social media network, sharing her outside connections and information with her new friends. As the new friends can now see the old friends, they too begin to interact blending information and forming new connections.

Personal Learning Networks (PLN) are the connections we make to enhance our learning. Going back to the quilting example, suppose one of the women in the picture is reading a quilting blog one day and learns there is a quilting expo in a town nearby. She attends the fair and meets another quilter who shows her a new technique. They exchange their contact information and begin to share patterns and information with each other, which they each in turn share with their quilting circles.

As you can see from the two examples, these three concepts do not exist in isolation; they are interwoven with shared connections. Each of our communities of practice are impacted by how we are connected to and learn from others, which builds our personal learning network, which in turn is build more connections to others PLN and communities of practice. Learning is ongoing and ever expanding process.


Smith, M. K. (2003, 2009) ‘Jean Lave, Etienne Wenger and communities of practice’, the encyclopedia of informal education,

University of the Sunshine Coast. (2013, August). Overview of connectivism – Dr George Siemens [Video file]. Retrieved from



Get Them Blogging!

For the final assignment for this course, I wrote a plan for getting my students blogging. It is far from an original thought in this day and age, but for my site it is new and different.

As we move forward, I want the students to be prepared for the influx of access to technology, not just the Internet. Keeping this in mind, as well as the school’s goal of WICORizing the curriculum (embedding writing, inquiry, collaboration, organizing, and reading), I think blogging is an ideal way to to achieve these goals. 

Classroom Blogging Activity

Specific Course: Students enrolled in Computer Applications 7 will pilot student blogging by utilizing the teacher’s Edublogs Pro account.

Blog Usage: The teacher and students will be able to view each other’s blogs; however, the student blogs will only be accessible to the outside world with the password.

Timeline: This activity covers the initial setup of student blogs and postings and will cover a eight class periods.

 Day 1 & 2: Introduction to blogging

Day 3 & 4: Guided practice in setting up blog and publishing initial post

Day 5: Compose and publish post based on class blog prompt

Day 6 & 7: Comment and respond to classmates posts

Day 8: Reflect on the process, what worked, what didn’t work, challenges and how they were overcome. Shout-outs for classmates

Posts  & Comments: The class blog will contain a prompt or assignment from which students will compose posts on their individual blogs and comment as appropriate to either the class blog or fellow classmate blogs, if not both. The prompt will incorporate core course content to create a bridge between the computer application elective and academic courses.

Example of Post Prompts:

  • Where I come from
  • How PBIS has affected me
  • My academic goals for the year
  • How I prepared for my conference with my parents
  • My Binder, my academic life
  • My top math sites and why
  • How having a laptop is going to change my study habits
  • Digital curriculum and my learning style

Assessment: During this lesson students will be assessed by multiple measures including a checklist, observation, and rubric. A checklist will be used to track that students are able to independently log in to their account to create pages and posts, and manage comments. A rubric based on the University of Wisconsin’s Stout Blogging Rubric will be used to score posts, comments, and responses.

Other information: The vast majority of the students have limited access to the Internet outside of school, depending on Wi-Fi services at the local grocery store or hotspots when they travel an hour or more to town. With the new one-to-one initiative roll out coming soon, students at some point will have a device to take home, not right away but at some point in the school year.

Introduction to Blogging in the Classroom Lesson Plan

Date August 3 Class Computer Apps 7 C Edwards
Arizona Technology Standards  Strand 1: Creativity and Innovation

  • Concept 4: Original Works
    • PO 2: Use digital tools to synthesize information, produce original works, and express ideas.

Strand 2: Communication and Collaboration

  • Concept 1: Effective Communications and Digital Interactions
    • PO 1: Collaborate and communicate with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital tools to share findings and/or publish.
    • PO 2: Explain and demonstrate features, conventions, voice, and etiquette of interactive digital environments to communicate with an appropriate audience.
  • Concept 2: Digital Solutions
    • PO 1: Communicate and collaborate for the purpose of producing original works or solving problems.

Strand 6: Technology Operations and Concepts

  • Concept 1: Understanding
    • PO 2: Define and apply knowledge of various technical process terms.
    • PO 3: Choose technology applications appropriate for the audience and task.
    • PO 4: Recognize and demonstrate ergonomically safe and sound use of equipment.
  • Concept 2: Application
    • PO 6: Identify criteria for evaluating technical and design qualities of a web site and then create web‐based content from the identified criteria.
Objective  Students will demonstrate the ability to utilize a blog as educational tool by:

  1. Independently accessing their Edublog account
  2. Opening the dashboard and set up their blog pages and appearance
  3. Compose and publish posts
  4. Comment on teacher and other students blog posts
  5. Utilizing keyboarding skills
Essential Questions What is a blog?Who has a blog?How can I enhance my learning by using a blog?Do you think a blog or the post’s appearance matters?
Anticipatory Set Do any of you like to write? We all use Cornell Notes at this school; you also have learning logs, and have to write summaries and reflections of your learning. How many of you would like to do that digitally?  Have you ever looked at a website thought  “wow, whoever did this really did a good job.” or found that one site that was just horrible? Did you every think you would have your own unique website…Well now you will!
Direct Instruction
  • Modeling
Describe what a blog is and show a collection of blogs from the Edublog Class DirectoryDemonstrate:

  • How to navigate to Edublogs and bookmark the site
  • How to login and logout of the site
  • How to navigate the site
    • Posts – create and edit
    • Upload media
    • Pages – create and edit
    • Comments
    • Appearance
    • Preview
    • How to create a page
    • How to create and publish a post
  • Guided Practice
The students will work with a shoulder partner coaching each other through the steps of as the teacher guides them through:

  • Logging into Edublogs
  • Navigating to pages
  • Creating class page
  • Creating  and publishing initial post
  • Check for Understanding
Discuss what is appealing or not in the selected blogsMove about the room to observes studentsThink-Pair-ShareRandom Reporter
  • Independent Practice
Students will create a post in response to a prompt on the classroom blog and comment on two student blogs, and respond appropriately to any responses on their post.
Closure This is the first in a series of lessons. Students will use the product of this lesson as a foundation for future class/school assignments.Reflection/Class discussion:

  • How do you think using blogging will help you in reflecting on your learning?
  • What is the impact of responding to other students using comments on their blog? Is it different from just telling them?
  • Do you see the need for keyboarding skills in relation to your blogging?
  • Checklist – Students demonstrate they can log in, navigate Edublogs, create posts and comments independently
  • Rubric – Student blogs, post, and comments assessed based on the University of Wisconsin – Stout Blogging Rubric, created by Karen Franker.
  • Observation – Work ethic: time on task, collaboration, organization, safe and appropriate use of technology, proper keyboarding technique
Resources/Materials Computer with authorized Internet AccessVocabulary listEdublog Pro subscriptionEdublog Directory – Class BlogsEdublog tutorials:

  • Set up My Class for managing student blogs
  • How students create their own blog and Join a Class Using My Class
  • Student Blogging


A Blogging Plan!

A plan, a plan! I have a plan to make my teacher site a blog. To have more than the static welcome and required pages is my plan.

So far, other than maybe a cursory update none of the teachers at our school actually uses their sites. If I challenged the teachers to login, I would venture to say that 90%, or more,  wouldn’t even know their logins, much less where to go to access their page. Therefore, I am challenging myself to start actually using my site. Who knows, maybe it will be catching and others will follow.

While some content will stay the same, such as they course syllabus and contact information, the front page needs to become dynamic. This is where the plan comes into play. I am going to boldly go from nothing to an average of 2 posts a week! This is an aggressive schedule, but one that will hopefully garner a readership (even if it is an assigned one).

Week of: Entry Type & Topic Theme Posting Date
August 3 – 9 Discussion – How PBIS is changing the school

List – 5 positive changes on campus

School Culture August 3

August 6

August 10 – 16 Goal Setting – SMART Goals

Links – Career/Interest Inventories

Achievement August 10

August 13

August 17 – 23 DIY – How to Prepare for Student Led Conferences

List – Binder Checklist



August 17

August 21

August 24 – 30 Links – Best math sites for fluency practice Achievement August 24
August 31 – September 6 Event – The Great Device Roll Out

List – Steps to care for your device

School Culture


August 31

September 3

September 7 – 13 Discussion – Should students/parents have to pay a fee or provide insurance to take a laptop home? Responsibility


September 7
September 14 – 20 Discussion – How is Digital Curriculum Affecting You?

Links – Keyboarding sites

Achievement September 14


September 17

September 21 – 27 Discussion – Do you affect the attendance competition?

List – Benefits of attending school

School Culture



September 21


September 24

September 28 – October 4 Guest Blogger Respect Week of September 28

The challenge is set! Let the blogging begin…



Top Cool Tools Courtesy of 537

For my final post of the year I decided to compile a linked list of my favorite sites and apps I learned about from my fellow classmates and one or I stumbled onto myself. Oh, did I mention…they are FREE!



a graphic bookmark app that allows you to create your own mix of sites and the option to choose from a gallery of webmixes shared by other users. A mix can be tiles with links or set up as a feed reader.


an audio or video podcast recording app. Free, easy to use, and embeds easily into blogs





safe one-way messaging for teachers to broadcast to students and/or parents without number sharing or one-to-one private     messaging





cool site  with lots of images to help you visualize the  space offering that also provides links to the various design elements to add the finishing touches to your newly designed space




class dojo



visual acknowledgement that is positive reinforcement for selected behaviors. Each student has a cool little alien monster avatar. Generates reports for teachers and/or parents about behaviors



What’s all this Writing About?

One of the most common topics while sitting in the teachers’ lounge or at any professional development session is the need for students to write. You hear comments like “students write as if they are texting,” “their writing is horrid,” and so on. The list of concerns goes on, but you get the drift. In short, the students appear to have little to no command of writing conventions. Everyone is going in circles trying to figure out how to get students to write complete sentences that makes sense. It seems as if writing went from the staunch grammar class side (gerunds and past present perfect participles still give me the willies) to the casual side of “oh, they will get it if they read their own writing.”

We know students are in dire need of writing experiences that have a purpose (not busy work), and if, it will instill a desire to write more, that would be ideal. I, too, see the need to get students to communicate effectively using the printed word. Blogging will get students writing. After all, that is what blogging is all about. It is the desire to get my students composing that prompted me to take this class. I have tried talking various administrators into letting me blog with my computer classes for years but to no avail. I figured maybe if I took the class, I would have a solid foundation on which to base my request.
Like a lot of others, I subscribe to numerous RSS feeds, most have something to do with food. I love baking and cooking and have many food allergies, so I like getting recipes I don’t have to adapt. One of the blogs I follow is Foodie Fiasco. The site is the creation of a teenage girl. She has been blogging about her adventures in the kitchen for a couple of years now. She is not the only school-aged person out there running a blog, so I am thinking, “why wouldn’t this work with my students?”

There is a lot of information out there about student blogs. Just about every article I read for this course expounded on the fact that blogging is writing…with a purpose. In the article Blogs: personal e-learning spaces, it describes blogs as just an extension of the tried and true learning logs and journals. Blogs take something personal and turn it into a “public performance space” (Lamshed, Berry, and Armstrong, 2002). O’Donnell cites a 2004 article by Clancy Ratliff that explains that, by blogging, students create a learning community. As they interact with one another, they are actually synthesizing information, which we know is at the top of the learning pyramid (2006).

Why not capitalize on what the students are already doing and build on it with blogging? Have them take their class notes, learning logs, and such and turn them into a blog that will foster collaboration and communication. Many of the students I work with are very creative, so let’s give them a forum to express their innate sense of imagination and share it with their peers.


Lamshed, R., Berry, M. & Armstrong, L. (2002). Blogs: Personal e-learning spaces. Australia: Binary Blue. Retrieved from
O’Donnell, M. (2006). Blogging as pedagogic practice: Artefact and ecology. Asia Pacific Media Educator, 17(1), 15-19


Communication Poll

When I read this weeks assignment I instantly knew I wanted to use Poll Everywhere. I have used Survey Monkey in the past, but it isn’t my favored service. Give it a try, just click on your choice in each of the polls.

Poll 1:


See Live Results for Poll 1

Poll 2:

See Live Results for Poll 2