Tag Archives: Social Media

How to be Digitally Literate in an Era of Fake News

Courtesy of PEW Research

Courtesy of PEW Research

America just completed an especially volatile and polarizing Presidential election. This was the first major election where both sides waged war not simply using traditional means (pounding the pavement, call centers, and mailers), but using online digital tools. On Facebook and Twitter, stories were shared, hashtags were created, and mud-slinging took on new levels. New research from PEW suggests that most American adults now consume news via Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit being the most popular). Television news (both local and national) is still the most prominent source of news, but it is quickly giving way to the internet of things.

This in and of itself is not inherently bad. I have given up my print subscription to various news and magazines sites in favor of their digital platforms. This fits with my desire to have the most up to date news, travel-friendly options, and to keep a lower eco footprint. However, what has sprung up and been the topic of much debate is the prevalence of fake news, especially on social media platforms such as Facebook.

The Guardian and Buzzfeed News have both posted investigative articles highlighting the proliferation of fake news websites and stories targeting America’s vitriolic Presidential election. The motives are less about changing political minds and more about cashing in on the election’s most passionate members. Clickbait headlines titled: “Hilary in 2013: I would like to see people like Donald Trump run for office; They’re honest and can’t be bought!” or “Mike Pence says Michelle Obama is the most vulgar first lady we’ve ever had!” These are fairly mild titles, others claim to reveal sex tapes of candidates (or their spouses), calls for a race war, or endorsements from the Pope.

These news sites set up pages on Facebook and encourage their users to share, share, share! The more shares and clicks, the more revenue these sites see from tools such as Google’s adsense. While Facebook, Google, and other organizations are working on ways to combat fake news, the process will be slow and users should not rely on these media to serve as filters for them. Instead, educators should focus even more on teaching themselves and their students to be more digitally literate and savvy. There are a few tools that are in your arsenal to use right away.

Is the Story & Headline Over the Top?

No matter how much you dislike (or even despise) your political opponent, you should immediately be suspicious of a headline that reeks of sensationalism. Claims that an arrest is pending, signs of devil worship, calls for genocide, or other topics that just sound outrageous, go into the story with a cautious attitude.

Is the Story from a Legitimate News Source?

If you are reading a shared story, be sure to check the source. In this day of news clamoring for clicks and ratings, it’s not unusual for them to use sensational headlines to get readers. However, check for the author and publisher. Established news sources (The New York Times, the Washington Post, the BBC, your local paper, etc) have systems in place to confirm sources and vet information. If you have never heard of the news organization publishing the article or they do not have an author listed, be suspicious.

Read the Article

This may seem a little obvious, but a lot of people share headlines rather than stories. Read the story yourself and see if it matches the headline. I recently read a story

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

entitled “President of Mexico contacts President-Elect Trump to Discuss Details of the Wall.” However, when you read the story, it simply said that the President of Mexico had contacted President-elect Trump to congratulate him on his win (a common practice by all foreign governments). Reading an article may also make it clear that the news information is suspect. If it contains a lot of typos and grammatical errors, that is a red flag. Legitimate news sources proofread and edit all articles prior to publication. While a typo or two make sneak through, it’s a rarity.

Check the Source Information

If the article claims that Wikileaks, public statements, tax documents, or other information “reveals” information, they should be linking or providing copies of that information. I have seen New York Times articles on the Clinton email scandal directly link back to the Wikileaks information dump. If the article contains no evidence or sources to back it up, assume the information is false.

Look for other Verifying Sources

While one news source may trump another on a story, they all will get to it eventually. If you read a story, confirm it with another source. If you see a sensational topic being covered by one outlet only, the information is suspect. The issue of media-bias is often cited as the reason one news outlet covers a story. However, there are numerous left and right leaning legitimate news organizations. No single outlet is the purveyor of the truth. Follow the journalistic mandate of “at least two independent, reliable sources.”

Perhaps the best way to avoid getting tricked by false news stories on social media is to keep yourself well informed by reading, watching, and listening to a variety of news outlets. The more informed you are of the current trends and cycles in the news, the more likely you are to immediately smell out a false story.

 

 

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Effective Ways for Educators to Use Twitter

I am a big fan of using Twitter to share, collaborate, and learn. This infographic highlights many ways that educators can use Twitter in their practice.

infographic26 Effective Ways to use Twitter for Teachers and Educators Infographic
Find more education infographics on e-Learning Infographics

5 Ways for Teachers to get Started on Twitter

This is reblogged from my post on Daily Genius.

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Social Media and education have a complicated relationship. Most educators come into contact with it for the first time through a negative experience – a disciplinary action involving students or even peers. As such, many administrators have actively cautioned teachers against the use of Social Media, and many educators themselves have condemned Social Media as a mere distraction to education. However, much like other tools out there, the reality lies somewhere in between.

Let’s take Twitter as an example. If you’re unfamiliar with Twitter, it’s a microblogging platform. This means that users can share thoughts, links, and other information in short bursts of information (140 characters, plus links and/or media). In the last few years, Twitter has emerged as a powerful platform for educators. In fact, teachers make up a significant amount of the traffic volume on Twitter, and roughly 25% of educators are users of the platform. This makes Twitter an excellent platform for educators to connect with others, share, and learn. Here’s a quick guide to get you started.

Get on Twitter

This is the most obvious step – time to get an account! To start, go to twitter.comand sign up for an account. Create an avataraccount with your real name and set it to public; that’s right, limited privacy settings. Many of us have been taught to fear being ourselves online for everything from “stranger danger” to reprisal from employers. Your name is already available in the broad universe of the internet on a variety of media (try Googling it), so Twitter is really not a risky venture. Next, consider this yourprofessional account. This means you will be representing yourself as your best professional self, the way you would in a meeting at school or in the classroom. If you want to, set some personal boundaries to keep it professional (for example, no talking about politics or religion). Next, personalize your Twitter page – set a background photo and a profile photo. The default “egg” is a deterrent for many people to engage with you online. If you’re uncomfortable with it being a photo of yourself, consider an online caricature. For example, you can post an avatar of yourself (both Funko Pop and Simpsons characters are popular) or select a photo of a beloved pet or a vacation photo. Finally, download the free iOS or Android App for your phone and/or tablet to access Twitter on the go.

Explore the Interface

The interface is intentionally clean to make it easier to navigate. At the top, you will see the subjects: Home, Moments, Notifications, and Messages.

twitter interface

Your  “Home” screen will include Tweets posted chronologically (the newest at the top). In this feed, you will only see what the people who you follow publicly post. “Moments” highlights what is trending throughout all users as well as topics divided by subject. “Notifications” includes material directed at you – responses to your tweets, retweet notifications, follower notifications, and tweets directed directly to you. “Messages” are private messages between users – think of this like Instant Message. You will also see your number of tweets, people you follow, and your list of followers. On the left, there is a list of trending topics and hashtags (it will label those that are “promoted,” meaning someone has paid for them to be on this list).

Follow Users

Who should I follow? Is a common question. Start with people you know and admire – an educational leader (like the secretary of education John King, Ph.D.), authors, academics, publications, thought leaders, and more. Next, you can go to lists like Mashable’s 10 Rockstar Teachers on Twitter to help you get started and expand your list. Don’t worry about following a lot of people. Be selective (at least initially). Lurk, read, and observe what these individuals are doing. I also like to go and see who my idols are following on Twitter and find a few new gems for my Twitter Professional Learning Network (PLN). The more you observe on Twitter, the more your following will grow organically.

Hashtags

hashtagsNothing seems to cause more angst for newbies to Twitter than the concept of “hashtags.” Think of a hashtag as a way to categorize content on Twitter. For example, if I’m going to share something about a new feature in Google Docs, I will add the hashtag #GAFE (GAFE = Google Apps for Education) to my tweet. This will allow anyone searching for news on #GAFE to find my tweet. Within Twitter, hashtags are hyperlinked – if you click on one with a tweet, it will pull up all tweets with that hashtag (divided into “Top Tweets” and “All Tweets”). This can be a great way to keep up with a particular topic trending on Twitter. If you would like a list of educational hashtags, check out this post that catalogues hashtags by subject and content.

Share

The biggest hurdle for new Twitter users to overcome is actually sharing content! However, it’s vital for engaging with Retweetyour Professional Learning Network (PLN). You can share by “retweeting” a post. Do this by clicking the “retweet” button on a Twitter post to share and ensure that the original poster gets credit. Better yet, create and share your own content! Most newspapers and blogs now have a “share via…” button on their posts. This will allow you to share via a website itself which often automatically includes information such as a link and a title. You can then add your own text and hashtags (e.g. #edtech or #edchat) and then click share.

To create a post from scratch, click on the “post” button on your Home screen. The button looks like a quill on a square, in the top right corner of your screen. You can then add text, links, photos, video, and more in the tweet window. Though you are limited to 140 characters (excluding links), share away!

Once you get the hang of Twitter, you will see your PLN grow as you engage with others online, and you will probably find additional features on Twitter; check out more advanced lessons from Justin Reich in his article Teaching Teachers to Tweet. If you do, be sure to share your new tips and tricks with your PLN (on Twitter)!

PEW – Teens & Technology

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

PEW Research has released a comprehensive report on how teens engage with technology in the world around them. The information is a view into the private lives of “networked teens.”

The topics they tackle are online engagement, cyberbullying, teen romantic relationships, their relationship with parents, and more. Most of the information should come as a relief to parents and educators. For example, in spite of hyped cyber-bullying reports in the news, 69% of teens believe that people are “mostly kind” when they engage online. Also, when it comes to Romance, teens still prefer to engage with those they know in real life; retaining a healthy skepticism towards individuals they meet online. Social Media, however, does seem to be a forum for flirtatious exchanges. And breaking up? Doing it in person is still the most socially acceptable method.

You can read the comprehensive report and data at PEW Research: Teens & Technology.

Expand your PLN: Educators & Resources to Follow on Twitter

Twitter is an amazing resource for collaborating with colleagues. If you are looking to expand your PLN via Twitter this year, then check out this fabulous educators and education focused accounts on Twitter!

Educators

Patrick Larkin – Asst. Supt. for Burlington Massacdusettes Schools,  NASSP National Digital Principal Award Winner (2012).

Vicki Davis – Best teacher blog winner * Mom * Speaker * AUTHOR Reinventing Writing * HOST Every Classroom Matters * Top Teacher on Twitter

Jennie Magiera – CTO of , PLAYDATE co-founder, White House Champion of Change, Google Certified Innovator, Apple Distinguished Educator, TEDx speaker.

Susan Bearden – IT Director, . Co-moderator , . Bammy, Making IT Happen Award Winner. Creator . Blogger-speaker-consultant.

Lucy Gray – Apple Distinguished Educator Lucy Gray is an education technology and social media consultant; co-founder of the Global Education Conference.

Todd Nelson – Principal/Lead Learner at , White House Champion of Change,  Recipient, Co-Host of  & Co-Founder of 

Alec Couros – Professor of edtech & media, education researcher, consultant, connected educator, keynote speaker & open scholar – Faculty of Ed., University of Regina

Carl Hooker – Director of Innovation Eans ISD, CEO of @Hookertech, Godfather of @iPadpalooza, Speaker, ADE 2013, T&L Leader of the Year.

Felix Jacomino – Host of @MiamiDevice, Dir #EdTech at @ssedsorg in FL, 21st Century, PBL Advocate, PD Provider & Presenter.

Richard Wells – Author http://iPad4Schools.org, Speaker, Leader at NZ High #School. NZ eFellows15, Art grad. Apple edtech iPadEd – @huffPostEdu Top 10 Teacher Blog.

Tom Whitby – Author,Blogger, HS/MS Teachr 34 yrs, HigherEd 6 yrs. Founder #Edchat, EDU PLN, Edchat Radio, 6 Linkedin Edu Groups. BLOG My Island View http://tomwhitby.wordpress.com.

Jose Vilson – The teacher Gotham deserves. Author of This Is #NotATest. Founder of #EduColor. Race, class, education, teacher leadership, and my conscience.

Devorah Heitner – Raising Digital Natives • Digital Citizenship.

Bryan L. Miller – Director of EdTech @PineCrestSch~#PioNear~Keynote Presenter~Consultant~#FLEDChat Co-Moderater~Co-Founder @EdCampSoFlo

Jonathan Wylie – Educator & Technology Consultant for @GrantWoodAEA.

Doug Robertson – Sometimes I walk by children, tap them on the head, yell Goose! and run away. 5th grade Teacher, CUE Blog Editor.

Sarah Thomas – High school Tech Ed teacher. Lover of collaboration, liver of life. Passionate about using social media to connect w/ educators.

Michael Matera – World History teacher, @ASCD Emerging Leader 2015, Techie, Game Based Learning & Gamification sherpa.

Wesley Fryer – teacher, tech director, author, speaker, essentialist DE ’05-GCT ’09. @k12online & @EdCampOKC Organizer ATA @CasadySTEM @eyesrightblog

Adam Bellow – eduTecher / eduClipper / WeLearnedIt Founder, Educational Technologist, Edcamp Foundation Board Member.

Audrey Watters – writer @hackeducation (http://hackeducation.com ), ed-tech’s Cassandra, author of The Monsters of Education Technology.

Karen Blumberg – Do-gooder, NAIS Teacher of the Future, organizer (TEDx, EdCamp, RoboExpo), bargain shopper, traveler, and photographer living just enough for the city.

Angela Maiers – Speaker, Author, Educator. Founder @Choose2Matter. Driving the conversation on 21st century #leadership, #innovation, & digital media.

Organizations:

Hybrid Pedagogy – A Digital Journal of Learning, Teaching, and Technology / Critical Digital Pedagogy and New Media / Host of  Chat.

SmartBrief Education – Publishes and curates articles relevant to education.

FETC – FETC – Future of Education Technology Conference, a division of LRP Conferences, LLC, is one of the largest conferences in the U.S. devoted to .

ISTE – International Society for Technology Educators.

Huffington Post Education – An education news source and online hub for passionate voices.

Edutopia – Inspiration and information for what works in education.

Daily Genius – Helping teachers, students, parents, and everyone in education learn something new every day.

Products & Services:

EdTech K-12 Magazine – Ed Tech issues facing K–12 IT leaders, admins and educators.

Common Sense Educator – News, curricula, tips, and professional development for integrating technology in the classroom.

Google for Education – Helping prepare students to create the future. The best of Google, for education. Follow for product announcements, program updates and industry news.

Microsoft Education – Discovering, highlighting and enabling innovation and achievement among students, teachers and schools.

New York Times Learning Network – Teaching & Learning With The New York Times.

7 Tips For Integrating Lessons With Social Media

This is a guest post from Amy Williams. Amy Williams is a free-lance journalist based in Southern California and mother of two. As a parent, she enjoys spreading the word on positive parenting techniques in the digital age and raising awareness on issues like cyberbullying and online safety.

What items come to mind when you think about classroom supplies? Do you envision notebooks and number two pencils? Your list probably included staples like erasers, crayons, and glue sticks, but did you consider how social media can be a powerful learning tool in the classroom?

Social media has the power to take what students enjoy and extend lessons that offer students real world applications. Instilling a love of learning is no easy task, especially in a world that is constantly changing with fancier and brighter screens. Our students’ fascination with technology makes it important for educators to integrate lessons and increase classroom participation by embracing our children’s favorite means of expression: social media.

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The Benefits Of Social Media In The Classroom

Even though social media has gotten a bad rap in the news, it has the possibility to extend learning opportunities beyond the building’s walls. Smartphones, tablets, and laptops are wonderful gadgets, but they can be a real distraction during instruction time. One way to avoid constant technology monitoring is to harness this love for social media and use it productively in the classroom.

Listed below are 6 benefits to using social media in education:

  • Lower-income students will have access to technology and chances to build these skills. Social media has the power to help overcome the digital divide when it comes to different economic groups.
  • It allows quiet or reserved students the opportunity to be heard.
  • It offers relevant ways to check for understanding.
  • Simultaneously fosters learning and technology skills.
  • Activities are shared with authentic audiences.
  • Content is meaningful to our younger generations of visual learners.

7 Tips For Integrating Lessons With Social Media

Integrating social media with our curriculums opens a world of possibilities for a teacher and the classroom. However, teaching with technology often poses it’s own set of problems from equipment failure, down networks, and dead batteries. Social media is no exception and often there will be a few kinks to work out before using it in a lesson.

Here are some suggestions to help bring social media into the classroom:

  • Keep your professional/classroom pages separate from your personal profile.
  • Know the school’s policy on social media and privacy.
  • Get a parent or guardian to sign a permission slip allowing you to post student work or images on class websites.
  • Make sure that students are well versed in social media etiquette.
  • Create classroom accounts for students to limit personal distractions during class.
  • Check the resources and beware of inappropriate pop-ups or advertising.
  • Be familiar with the platform and understand the privacy settings, potential problem areas, and ways to troubleshoot.

Ideas To Bring Social Media To Life

After managing to successfully introduce social media into lessons: the real fun can begin. Here is a compilation of ways teachers have upgraded lesson plans to include social media:

  • Courtesy of Pixabay http://pixabay.com/

    Courtesy of Pixabay http://pixabay.com/

    Create a group or page for each class on a social media outlet. You can post assignments to keep students and parents informed about approaching deadlines or projects.

  • Use Twitter to follow threads or current events by using hashtags to sort topics. Connect with experts, authors, classes around the world, and more by interacting with tweets.
  • Set up a blog to take journaling to a new level! Help students hone their writing skills to create and display their works for a bigger audience. Blogging has the potential for feedback from peers, professionals, and people other than a teacher.
  • Utilize sites like Class Dojo to keep parents informed on class behavior or for positive classroom management.
  • Create concept videos using Vine or YouTube. This can be a group or whole class project that allows students take the reigns while getting creative, having fun, displaying their best work, and gaining a deep understanding of the topic.
  • Use Pinterest boards to organize concept maps for any topic. This works great for biomes, animal classification, heritage studies, and more.
  • Use quiz sites like Kahoot or trivia games to make reviewing topics fun. Students use computers or Smartphones to answer quizzes on various subjects while you are able to measure comprehension.
  • Use Instagram or other photo services to host a scavenger hunt that requires students to post items that fit a certain theme. This can be adjusted to any grade level easily. For instance you can have them look for objects that start with a certain letter or post items that are related to a historical figure.

Educators are always on the lookout for new ways to use social media in the classroom. Do you have any tips for using social media with lessons?

4 Ways to Implement Blogging in the Classroom

This is reblogged from my post at Daily Genius.

Blogging is a popular activity in classrooms today because it allows students to share their writing with a broader audience and teachers to communicate with parents. There are a myriad of platforms to choose from: edublogs,Kidblog (especially good for elementary age children), Blogger, wordpress, and most LMS systems have a blogging platform built in.

How to set up blogging in the classroom will depend on your platform, and is pretty easy to figure out with all of the “how-to” videos and help center collections. What teachers most often ask me is why they would set up a blog for their class. What value is there in a class blog?

Here are some great ideas and applications for class and/or individual student blogs that you can explore in your classroom.

BLOGS AS EPORTFOLIOS

Blogs can be set to private, public, and shared with specific individuals or groups. This makes them a great platform for students to build their own ePortfolio. They can curate their content first for teachers and parents before publishing it to a broader audience. As a blog allows for not only written content, but multimedia material (images, videos, interactives, etc), it makes it possible for students to create a robust online presence. Kristen Wideen uses Kiblog for her elementary students to create digital portfolios; you can read more about her experience here.

BLOGS AS A SHOWCASE FOR STUDENT WORK

If your students are making videos, creating science fair projects, writing poetry, or other creative content, then a blog is a great way for them to showcase their work. By allowing (moderated) comments, students have an authentic, broader audience that they are addressing. Imagine students who are participating in Poetry Month posting their participatory works online and getting feedback from poets around the country! TheBurlington High School Help Desk (staffed entirely by students) hosts a community blog where they post information about themselves, helpful hints, reviews for new apps and tools, individual projects, and much more. By engaging a broader audience, students learn about digital citizenship and safety while online.

BLOGS FOR CLASS DISCUSSION

Because blogs allow for threaded discussion, they are an excellent platform for discussion. One of my favorite exercises in Social Studies is to post a news article along with some guided questions (the New York Times Learning Network has great tools for this). Students then engage in an online discussion about the topic. Not only does this promote critical thinking and writing skills, but it is an excellent diving board for discussions on Digital Citizenship.

BLOGS FOR GROUP PROJECTS AND LABS

If you have students working on groups projects or in class labs, especially ones that take several weeks and exercises, then blogs are an excellent way for them to record and report on their progress. Imagine students working on a Biology Lab that encompases a quarter or semester-long project. As a group, they report their findings, measurements, and progress each step of the way. If the blog is shared with the class, then they have an audience that is also monitoring their progress, not only learning from their peers but also providing oversight for errors.

These are just a few examples of activities that you can use blogs for in your class. Explore how blogging can work in your class and try some of these examples from EdTechTeacher.

LOOKING TO LEARN MORE ABOUT BLOGGING IN THE CLASSROOM? COME JOIN US THIS SUMMER!

ETTsummer1

  • Creating Digital Portfolios
  • Reading, Writing, & Research
  • Teaching English, History, or Foreign Language with Technology
  • And More!

View the Full Course Catalog at ettsummer.org