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Third Update for the Social Media Integration Project… a few snags

So far, the students are doing great! Wahoo!

Thus far, students have been excelling at the blog responses and comments with one another. They are excited to get onto Fan School and see what their peers have written. The app sends a “Fan.School Digest” email to my email with an update of new posts and comments. I get many of these emails per day, which is wildly annoying, but it means students are on the platform and engaging with content!

However… We have run into a few snags with the implementation and use of social media for this project:

  • Between the blog prompts regarding modern day genocide and internment camps, Daniel’s Story chapter questions, and workload in other classes, the social media scrapbooks have been very slow getting started.
  • There is still a stigma about students having their phones out during class time. I have designated time for students doing the digital scrapbook to use their phones so that they are not wandering the halls on their devices due to optics from other teachers, however having to section off this time also structures time-on-task regarding their scrapbook.
  • We are battling the required beginning of year assessments in Math and English. This extra pressure of additional tasks is wearing on students, so we are adjusting to ensure students are not over worked or burnt out.
  • A number of students who decided to do the social media scrapbooking route have decided to go back to the more traditional paper copy instead.
  • Many students only feel comfortable sharing their social media scrapbooks with me, so sharing them afterwards will be a challenge.

A few things we are doing to try to fix the aforementioned struggles:

  • We have adjusted due dates to ensure students can put the proper amount of time into their individual tasks. I have not added on any additional assignments until we check off a few more of the ongoing items.
  • Some students that are using Instagram have signed up using their school email address and are using the app on their computers rather than phones. I have created flex time for students to use their phone with my supervision during recess rather than class time which has helped immensely.
  • The division assessments are nearly complete. I had a great deal of teaching to do to get some students caught up to grade level expectation of essay writing. Chunking the math has also helped with student stress.
  • Finally, I encouraged students to use the online vs. paper copy scrapbooking ideas. We have had a few brainstorming sessions that worked to get ideas flowing for some students, and I shoulder tapped a couple of students as I believe they could do magnificent work within this format (without discrediting the assignment or losing its authenticity by ‘forcing’ students to go online).
  • I am having students link their scrapbook to their Fan.School blog and if they created a hardcopy, they will take pictures of their work and upload it for all of their peers to see. That way, we level the playing field at the end of the unit and can share all their fantastic work!

When I do this type of assignment again, I will definitely structure the workload differently. I have been encouraging students to gradually work at their culminating activity rather than trying to do it all at once, however, because of the blogging aspect and chapter questions, students have pushed the culminating activity further down the line. As I type this, I realize that is exactly what I am doing for the ECI 831 Summary of Learning, so it is time to get cracking!!

3 thoughts on “Third Update for the Social Media Integration Project… a few snags

  1. It sounds like you and the students are both learning a lot during this project. I wonder if it would be beneficial to offer to teach your colleagues about using social media or technology in the classroom, and show them how you use it to fight the stigma attached to it. I think when people are not taught how to use something, it’s easier to assume what is going on. This may be helpful to break the patterns, and create more transparent conversations with your colleagues and maybe even inspire them to try something new out. Maybe starting a tech club may help people feel like the have access to the learning as well? Just a thought! 🙂

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    1. Thanks for the comment! We do “tech breakfast” at my school where some of the Connected Educators teach and help other staff with tech problems or new apps/programs to use in their classroom. We have had some really interesting conversations in the staffroom because of this social media integration! Other staff members were impressed with the work that we are doing in the senior end, and others had a few questions about how social media is used / why we find it beneficial.

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