Social Media

Social Media Use in K-12 Physical and Health Education

When I first stumbled across Matt J. Vollum’s article, The Potential for Social Media Use in K-12 Physical and Health Education, my initial reaction was that this was another case of using social media just for the sake of it.  However, the more I read about social media use in health and physical education the more benefits I see.

For the purpose of this blog post, I would like to use Wikipedia’s definition of social media. “Social media is the social interaction among people in which they create, share or exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks.”

Switching gears slightly while remaining on the topic of social media, my wife gave birth to our first child in February.  Since then, she developed a network of new mothers with children around the same age as our daughter.  Several of the group members have already talked about a second child but felt like they wanted to increase their core strength before putting their bodies through the stress of another pregnancy.  One way they came up with to prepare for this was to start to run together, but that wasn’t always feasible because of schedules.  Instead, they decided to utilize social media.  Each group member downloaded the same smartphone app, Couch-to-5k, by Active Network.  The app allowed them to track their individual progress, be each others cheerleaders, and allowed them to send each other motivational messages of support.  They also found the benefits of collectively sharing technical running knowledge.  If adults enjoy motivationally driven collaborate exercise, then why not kids?

Vollum discusses the potential of social media use in health and physical education by discovering how health and wellness programs outside of education are currently using social media.  He also uses existing research on the topic of social media, which exists in general education.  His argument is simple. If the use of social media in healthy living is useful outside of education and is already being used in other areas of education then perhaps, it might be beneficial to include in health living curriculums in schools.

According to a recent Media Smarts article titled, Young Canadians In A Wired World, 99% of students surveyed from grades 4-11 had access to the Internet outside of school.  81% of those students also used social media that included but was not limited to Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ (Steeves, 2014)

 

Vollum’s research looked at three areas of social media and education:

  1. The relationship between social interaction and the educational experience.
    1. Vollum found that social media has the potential to increase social presence, a feeling of connectedness towards others, which can lead to  brighter educational experience and greater accomplishment (Vollum, 2014)
  2. The relationship between social media and social interaction.
    1. Vollum found that when information can be personalized it becomes more meaningful to the learner, and social media can increase the sense of belonging and connectedness with a prolonged membership on social media (Greenhow, 2011)
  3. The relationship between social media and community and personal physical and health education outside of the K-12 setting.
    1. Social media has the opportunity to develop relationships and partnerships in health and behavior changes thus increasing the communication, which can lead to increasing levels of education (Hanson et al., 2011)
    2. Students in today’s world are already using social media in their educational setting. If increased social presence improves education and a large percentage of students are discussing education already then it would seem reasonable to say that social media use in a K-12 physical/health education environment can increase the educational experience and/or achievement (Vollum, 2014)


The Continuum of Social Media Use in Health and Physical Education

Social Media Continuum - Healthy Living

When one looks at current social media use in health and physical education, a clear hierarchy of practical use is visible.  At the base level, organizations that promote healthy living and physical education in partnership with schools have developed a passive form of interaction to deliver their message.  Healthy living champions typically utilize a webpage, or social media spaces such as Twitter, YouTube, Google+, or Facebook.  Users with an interest in healthy living visit the site to review documents and multimedia resources.  An example of this is the Action Schools BC website, which may be referred to as passive social media use.

When K-12 schools move away from passive social media use to enhance healthy living they take a step closer toward using social media to its full potential.  Teacher-centered social media use is the next logical step in the continuum towards Learner-centered social media use.  In this stage, teachers use social media to create profiles and logs for students to record data about their healthy living experiences.  An example of this is Steps Count, which provides a platform for teachers to set up a class to track and chart student’s step counts using pedometers.

Schools may say they use social media to its full potential, when learners work collaboratively outside of the classroom and without direct influence from their teachers to develop independent, healthy living habits.  An example of this is Zombies, Run! which has amassed over 800 000 members worldwide.  Players combine social media with physical activity.

In contrast to the clear benefits of Zombies, Run!  Meyer, in his Handbook of Multimedia Learning, disagrees with the use of multimedia agents of learning.  In our case, Mayer would say that the feedback delivered by the narrator and zombie in the running app may not lead to increased motivation and learning.  Meyer states, Well designed studies find that when the effects of well designed instructional methods provided by the agent are separated from the effects of the presence of the agents, no learning benefits are found (Mayer, 2005).  If I gave my learners the option of running around the school track, or running around the community while listening to a highly interactive adventure, I’m pretty sure which option they would take.

 

Benefits of Social Media Use In Physical and Health Education

There are many advantages of including social media use in K-12 healthy living curriculum.  Coaches may use video to capture and analyze a performed skill before sharing it with members of a team to learn from.  Younger students could use social media to track their eating habits and compare it with other children around the world.  Teacher can use the power of social to add elements of gameplay into physical education, which may grab the attention of the sedentary video game generation.

 

References

Greenhow, C. (2011). Online social networks and learning. On the Horizon, 19(1), 4–12. doi:10.1108/10748121111107663

 

Hanson, C., West, J., Neiger, B., Thackeray, R., Barnes, M., & McIntyre, E. (2011). Use and Acceptance of Social Media Among Health Educators. American Journal of Health Education, 42(4), 197–204. doi:10.1080/19325037.2011.10599188

 

Mayer, R. E. (2005). The Cambridge handbook of multimedia learning. IThe Cambridge Handbook of Multimedia Learning (Vol. 16, p. 663). doi:10.1075/idj.16.1.13pel

 

Steeves, V. (2014). Life Online.

 

Vollum, M. J. (2014). The potential for social media use in K-12 physical and health education. Computers in Human Behavior, 35, 560–564. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2014.02.035

 

Content Curation: Finding The Needles in the Haystacks

Digital Content Curation

In my #TIEgrad class, I have been learning about the value of digital content curation.  I used to think I had pretty strong curation skills because I used Diigo as a tool to collect and store important links.  Fortunately, having had the opportunity to deepen my understanding of content curation I have found the quality of content I now collect and share has increased significantly.  The process of curation is a noble one. Curating content on a particular subject also helps others find those needles in the haystack.

According to Wikipedia:

Digital curation is the selection, preservation, maintenance, collection and archiving of digital assets.

Effective Content Curation

Consume

Between the dawn of civilization through 2003 5 exabytes of data was created…

but that much information is now created every 2 days, and the pace is increasing.

– Eric Schmidt, Google.

Online content can be viewed as a continuous stream of data cascading in front of our eyes like a powerful waterfall.  It is endless flow of user-generated content (blogs, video channels, social media platforms) and publishing (newspapers, websites) and it is ever increasing.  So how do we make sense of it?  Historically, we used search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo, but even with advanced search algorithms developed by these companies results are at best ineffective.  No algorithm can compete with the effectiveness of an individual who is knowledgeable in a particular content area, collecting relevant and meaning information on a specific topic, and sharing it with a like-minded audience.  Consuming information, for the benefit of deepening ones understand of particular topic, is best served manually rather than using automated practices such as search engines.

Curate

More than merely collecting content on a specific subject; to curate is to make sense of the information we consume online.  Strong curation involves carefully selecting content and evaluating it for a specific purpose, topic, or subject.  It also involves making decisions about what is and is not useful to deepening understanding of the subject.  Content deemed useful can then be customized and personalized, by the curator, by adding ones professional experience to enhance it before sharing that curated content with one’s learning network.  Curating is a higher-level thinking skill.  In order to curate content that is useful for others the content needs to be synthesized, evaluated, and interpreted before being disseminated.  Well curated topics and subjects help to inform and allow learning to happen at faster rates.

Collaborate

Finding great content online is one thing, but being able to package it into a format that will help inform others is quite another.  Best practices on how to share content involve inviting others to contribute, disseminating curated content on a regular basis, and making sure that the content you share has been evaluated and meets the needs of your target audience.

 Once they find a quality, curated collection, they’ll stay for related offerings.

– Steven Rosenbaum

Difference Between Collecting and Curating

Collecting                                        Curating

– Independent                                                     – Shared

– Lower-level thinking skill                            – Higher-level thinking skill

– Consume content                                            – Add value and insight to content

– Less organized                                                  – Highly organized

– Closed learning                                                 – Open learning

5 Great Content Curation Tools

3 Examples of Content Curation

  1. Restorative Classroom Practices

  2. Self Regulation in Schools

  3. BC Education Daily

Robin Good’s Video Playlist – Content Curation

EDCI 338: Media Clip on Research Background and Interests

This post marks the start of a new educational related journey for me.  I’ve decided to go back to school and further my understanding of the best practices available to engage and motivate my learners.  I’m part of a small cohort #tiegrad and our first assignment is to create a media clip based on our educational interests.

I’ve been involved in education in Chilliwack since 2007 and I currently work at Central Elementary Community School.  I am looking forward to the program but I am a little nervous about being able to juggle life, work, and school, especially with my first baby on the way.  The last few years have been extremely satisfying as an educator.  I’ve have started to develop a voice in education, continually try to improve my craft, and started to myself questions like, “What kind of learning environment am I creating?” “Does the activity I’m asking students to do relate to the learning outcome?” and “Am I feeding my students knowledge or posing questions to which we can discover the answers to together?”

I have several areas of interest I’d like to share with.  One area of interested is a part of my weekly schedule I have coined CHOICE – Children Have Ownership In Choice Education.  You might know it as genius hour, enquiry learning, or personalized learning.  I think it’s important to create time in the weekly schedule where students are encouraged to find their passions and explore them.  During CHOICE, I don’t plan to have too many answers for students, but plenty of questions.  I can visualize what it looks like, to some extent, but I’m having difficulty creating a framework to suit all my learners.  I wanted to include it in my schedule last year but couldn’t find the right time.  Perhaps the right time is not when everything is aligned, but now.  I read Will Richardson’s book “Why School?” last year and I loved Larry Rosenstock’s quote:

“We have to stop delivering the curriculum to kids.  We have to start discovering it with them.”

I get it!  It makes sense to me, but I still wonder what it looks like for all my students.  I am looking forward to reading Angela Maiers, “The Passion-Driven Classroom” which I believe speaks to this type of learning.

Another area of interest to me is self-regulation.  I work in an inner-city school with a disproportionately high number of at-risk children.  Many of these children are either too stimulated or not stimulated enough to partake in the learning process.  The need to develop students’ ability to self-regulate has become glaring obvious to everyone who works in my school, so this year I’m working with a new program called MindUP curriculum developed by the Goldie Hawn Foundation.  MindUP teaches social and emotional learning skills, brain science, a positive mindset, and mindful awareness.  Right now we’re working on deep breathing techniques, and will soon be learning about important parts of the brain, and how signals in our brain get blocked during times of stress and over stimulation.

I‘m an avid Twitter user and have found real value in Twitter over the years, particularly when developing learning networks, making connections, and working to improving my craft.  I like to explore student-learning networks in more depth.  The thought of my own students making connections with other students, teachers, professionals from around the world who work in fields they are interested in excites me no end.  I’ve tried them with students with mixed success but never with a whole class.

Game-based learning is an area of education that fascinates me.  I’ve just finished reading Now You See It by Cathy Davidson and in her books she talks about designing lesson in a gaming format where lessons allow for risk taking, meaningful creation, nonlinear navigation, problem solving, and an understanding of rule structures  So many of my students play video games and are engaged, motivated, and incredibly creative with them.  Nothing would please me more than to transfer some of those experiences into the classroom.

Finally, I have to let you into a little secret.  All the areas of professional interest I’ve mentioned already pale in comparison to what gets me up in the morning.  Four years ago I took my grade 6’s to Free The Children’s We Day in Vancouver, and that one experience change my views on education and what’s really important in school.  Building positive healthy relationships with one another, exercising tolerance, forgiveness, and above all else caring for one another is what really matters.  Thanks to We Day, my classroom has become a hub for social justice issues both globally and locally.  We fight hunger, stand against inequality, educate our local community about homelessness and water issues, and advocate for human rights.

I look forward to learning and sharing with you.

Tech Integration Post #10 of 10: Using QR Codes in the Classroom

QR (quick response) Codes are like barcodes on steroids!  They enable anyone with a QR reader app on their smartphone/tablet to scan the code using the device’s onboard camera, which then creates a shortcut to a variety different links.  Shortcuts may include links to website address, email accounts, pictures, videos, audio files, maps etc…

This QR Code links to a very informative Common Craft video which further explains QR codes:

Before you can use QR codes you need to visit a website to build it.  Here are a list of sites used to create QR codes:

Once you’ve created your QR code you should test with by using any of the free QR reader apps below:
When I saw the picture below, on a remote stretch of northern California highway, I realized the true impact QR codes have on our society, and how useful they can be to develop a deeper understanding of a subject:
Using QR Codes in the class:
  1. Self-guided tour of the school or the classroom:- QR codes could be place at key locations throughout the school and linked to an audio file which further explains the location and what should happen there.  For example, my school follows the EBS/PBS model for discipline, and one of the major components of EBS is the school matrix.  The school matrix outlines our code of conduct (Safe, Helpful, Awesome Attitude, Responsible, and Kind) and how it should be applied in various areas of the school (classroom, transitions, playground, assemblies etc…).  At the beginning fo each school year, or when new students arrive, QR codes could be placed in the above locations and linked to an audio files which would explain the matrix in detail.
  2. Student art gallery walk:- Any visual art lesson can be converted into a multimedia gallery type exhibition using QR codes.  For example, if my students are working on examples of op-art,  they can transform their 2-dimensional drawing into multi-sensory displays by attaching a QR code to the picture.  The QR code may then link to an audio file, which further explains the artwork.  In the audio file students can reflect on their work and use metacognition to express what was easy/difficult about the process.  They can also link their work to additional text and videos on the subject of op-art to encourage others to develope a deeper understanding of the concept.  Finally, students could assess each others work by recording feedback, creating a QR code and attaching it below the artwork.  Thus creating a comment section similar to a blog.
  3. QR Codes attached to homework:- Attach a QR code to your student’s place value homework which links to a video you made using Explain Everything (A video creation tool for the iPad).  The video can reinforce the skill of understanding the value of each digit in a number.  This has huge potential for occasions when support at home is not available.
  4. Guest Teachers:- Guest teachers who substitute in your room may feel more comfortable if they can follow some of the existing classroom rules/expectations.  QR codes could be place on the mobile computer lab, for example, to explain the rules of using the equipment.
  5. Student jobs:– In my classroom we share the responsibility for keeping the classroom clean and tidy.  QR codes could be place at various points in the classroom to reinforce what steps should be taken in order to make sure the bookshelf is fully cleaned, or to explain how to take attendance and where to take it when it’s completed.
I would welcome any additional ideas you have on how to use QR codes in the classroom.

21st Century Professional Development: Edcamp Fraser Valley

If you are a new teacher, veteran teacher, parent, student, administrator, or hold a job directly/indirectly related to the education profession, edcamps offer an alternative to traditional professional development opportunities.

Edcamps are modelled after Barcamps.  Barcamps are user-generated conferences hosted by programmers, open-source developers, and techno-geeks, and are designed to develop new skills, share best practices and maintain an open dialogue about the development of the computer industry.  Edcamp was started by a group of dedicated educators, in Philadelphia, USA who saw a need to improve traditional professional development, and who saw the opportunity, and need, for an unconference model in education.

Edcamps are now offered in every major city in North America as well as England and other countries in Europe.  This December an edcamp, Edcamp Fraser Valley (edcampfv), is being offered close to where I teach and I’m excited to be part of it.  Chris Wejr organized Edcampfv with help from David Wees and Grant Frend and a  small group of volunteers.  Here are the details:

What is the format of an Edcamp?:

Edcamps try to capture the best features of traditional professional workshops, which tends to be the conversations that pop up in the workshop itself, or the conversations between educators at lunch or between sessions.  With that in mind, an edcamp can best be described as a gathering of individuals with strong interests in the field of education with the intention of exchanging ideas, sharing their experiences, and learning from others in a hierarchy free setting.  Everyone has a voice in an Edcamp!  There are no expensive keynote speakers, no preset workshops, and no cost.

On the morning of the event, all attendees have the option to lead a discussion by placing their name and the topic of their discussion on a large board for all attendees to view.  Once all discussion topics have been displayed, attends vote on which discussions they would like to contribute to and attended.  Once the discussion begins, others are actively encouraged to contribute and share their experiences in order to maintain or move the discussion forward in way that the groups sees fit.  Best of all, if the discussion doesn’t suit your needs, just move to the next one.  No one will judge you to be impolite.

Who can attend?:

Anyone with strong interest in the education professional.  For example, teachers, support staff, administrators, school board employees, parents, students, etc…

TED Talks for Kids in B.C.

As an elementary educator who encourages student involvement in many aspects of the education system, not just in the classroom, I am incredibly excited about the  independent TED event coming to Vancouver in September of this year.  TEDxKids BC is scheduled for Saturday September 17th, 2011 in Vancouver and will showcase student achievement and celebrate empowerment of students in our education system.  In a similar fashion to the larger and more prestigious TED Talks, TEDxKids BC showcases ordinary students and allows them a platform to share their experiences and inspire others to follow their dreams.

The organizers of TEDxKids BC are still looking for awe-inspiring kids who meet some of the following requirements:

  • Someone who has created a project that has made other people take notice and say: “Wow — what an amazing thing to do!”
  • Perhaps a kid who has helped others without thinking of him or herself — someone who just jumped in to lend a helping hand — and then perhaps the project grew and others liked the idea so much, that they too wanted to get involved.
  • Or maybe a speaker has a talent that they would like to share. They could tell the audience about how they developed this talent — or the effect they see in others when they perform.
If you can have a student in your class already, or know of a student that would fit well into some of the categories above, and would like to nominate himher then please fill out the this form.
You can also follow and promote TEDxKids BC through the following social media sites:

Tech Integration Post # 5 of 10: Health and Career Education 2.0

Grade 5 Health and Career Education Learning Outcome: Safety and Injury Prevention

C7 – describe safety guidelines to protect themselves and others from abuse and exploitation (e.g., knowing their right not to be abused, being assertive, avoiding potentially unsafe situations, practicing safe Internet use, recognizing tricks and lures used by predators)

Use a Flip camera, a video camera, a digital camera, or a mobile phone to video small groups of students acting out how to be safe online.  Try these topics or generate your own:

  1. Never hide Internet usage from your parents.  Always let them know when your online
  2. Never reveal personal information such as telephone number, address, last name etc…
  3. Never arrange to meet someone you’ve met online and don’t know, without your parents permission
  4. Cyberbullying
  5. Digital citizenship
  6. Protecting reputations online
  7. Digital privacy
  8. Safe talking in Cyberspace
  9. Handling E-mail and IM
  10. Safe Social Networking

Your learners may choose a topic and research, in depth, based on the information you’ve share with them or from information they have found independently.  They form a small group of three or four and complete the following tasks:

  • Sketch out a storyboard of the Internet/Online safety skit
  • Create a script of dialogue for the skit
  • Collect any props needed for the skit and practice until comfortable
  • Record the skit and edit using JayCut

Note: This is a cross-curricular activity and can be used for oral language practice as well as a writing exercise.
My Diigo links on Internet/Online Safety

Once your videos are complete your learners can use JayCut to upload and edit them.  JayCut is a free online video editing tool.  There is no longer a need to download expensive video editing software.  You can use JayCut from any computer with an Internet connection and the basic package is free.

When the videos have been edited by your learners they may be showcased at assemblies or shown to learners in younger grades and used as a teaching tool.  Older grades tend to put more effort into their work when the audience is larger and they know it’s being used for a higher purpose.

Feel free to let me know how it goes…

Professional Development Ideas for 21st Century Teaching

Does your school offer the professional development you’re need?

Recently I worked with my Twitter PLN on the topic of professional development.  Directly after the Tuesday Edchat session we worked on a document together, describing the kind of professional development opportunities we wished our schools districts offered.  We also discussed how we could developed our own in the interim.

Here’s a list of my favourite professional development opportunities I wished my district offered:

Personally, this type of collaborative effort excites me as an educator.  I would ultimately like to master my craft (education) and I feel like I move one step closer every time I connect with fellow educators from around the globe.

Many thanks to #Edchat, my PLN, the following educators – @actionhero, @missbartel, @21stcenturychem, @DrTimony, @cybraryman1, @davidwees, and everyone else who contributed to the document: http://bit.ly/aFuWAd

Intro To Integrating Technology Into The Classroom Series: 10 Ways To Turn ‘Offline’ Classroom Activities ‘Online’

My next ten posts, not necessarily in chronological order, will be dedicated to giving real examples of how ‘offline’ activities can be turned into ‘online’ activities to enhanced student engagement, and encourage tech-shy educators to take their first steps in integrating technology into the classroom.

Why is it important to integrate technology into the classroom?

  • Enhances student engagement
  • Your learners are growing up in a digital world
  • Relate to your students with your understanding of social media
  • Help to make the shift for teachers away from content deliverers to content facilitators
  • Help prepare your learners for a digital future
  • Create a truly collaborative environment
  • Make the world a smaller place i.e. flatten the classroom

Hope you enjoy the series.  I will try to link everything I do to British Columbia’s Prescribed Learning Outcomes as much as possible.

100% Engagement Using Wallwisher

After watching the Olympics on CTV I was thoroughly impressed with their segments on athlete’s ‘Difference Makers.’ These segments delved into the lives of Canadian athletes to discover the people behind the scenes who drive them to success and help athletes reach their lofty goals.

I mirrored CTV’s  ‘Difference Makers’ but tailored it to my learners.  I lead them to think about significant people in their lives who have help them become the wonderful people they are today.

This post talks about just one of the stages in this lesson.  Most of my learners hadn’t seen any of the ‘Difference Makers’ clips so I decided to write the statement ‘Difference Makers’ on the board and asked student to discuss its meaning in partners.  Normally I ask my learners to write their thoughts, ideas, or comments to the topic on sheets of large paper.  Often with mixed results.  However on this occasion I thought I’d try www.wallwisher.com.  I created a wallwisher page free of charge, named it difference makers, and created the conditions for students to post virtual sticky notes on a virtual classroom-board.  During the time my learners were posting I observed 100% engagement in the activity.  Had this been with pen and paper I doubt I would have experience the same kind of results.  You could argue that perhaps they were all engaged because it was new to them.  I guess only time will tell.

What I like most about wallwisher is that it is customizable and allows the creator of the page to approve stickies before they appear on the wall.  This