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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Do YOU have a Social Brand?

Do you have a social brand? Don't know what that is?  My #DigCit students are here to help! Beyond my description and reflection of the unit, you will find the student's projects.  Feel free to use them in your classes!

We began the year Googling ourselves and then went on to explore what a digital tattoo is and what ours currently is.  You can read about that in this Blog post.

Overview of the unit:
We brainstormed what we thought a social brand was, specifically related to our online presence.  We then came up with a useable definition for our purposes in class.  Next, they had some time to Google it as well as look at the resources I provided them: Resource 1 and Resource 2.

After they felt they had a good grasp on the concept, I gave them all of my usernames for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.  I wanted them to determine what my social brand was or what I was consciously choosing my online life to say about me.  They really thought they were going to find out the dirt on me, but soon discovered that my social media reflects my school spirit, desire to learn and share as well as a place to give shout outs.  To say the least, some of them were really disappointed they didn't find anything that wasn't school appropriate.  We talked about how that was by design.  I am the author of my story.  I reminded them that if they don't author their story, someone else will and it might not be the story you want out there.

Next they had to choose a platform from this list, knowing that they cannot use the same platform they have previously used, unless they did not earn a Techspert Badge.  A Techspert Badge means that 90% or more of your classmates feel you are an expert on that platform.  You then are our go to person for questions related to that platform.

The students were able to create a project that would not only inform people about social branding, but give them tips on how to assess and fix their social brands.  Here is a link to all of the Projects.

During the presentations (which could have been standing in front going through the project or pushing play), the students were evaluating each other through a Google Form: This enabled me to collect data, feedback as well as give the class a vote in who becomes a Techspert.  We also did a shout out at the end.  If they felt like someone earned a shout out, they included it in the Google Form.  I then handed them out the next day.  You can see them here in this Google Draw.

All in all, I would say that not only are they more aware of a what a social brand is, they are not more cognizant of their posts as they continue to build their social brand.

Would love to hear your thoughts on the unit/lessons/projects.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Discovering What Our Digital Tattoo Is

In my semester long Digital Citizenship course, we start off by analyzing our presence online.   This is an overview of our Digital Tattoo unit:

To begin this unit, I have the students start their blog off with what they think they will find when I have them Google every username and email they have used online as well as searching Google Images to see how they are portrayed online.  This is then followed by 35 minutes of gasping and laughing as they discover what is out there and what others have been putting online while tagging them.  They then have to finish that same blogpost with what they found and their thoughts on it.  You can read some of their blogs here:


Next we had the opportunity to have a webinar with @HSSocialMedia and Coach Bouffard
about what colleges are expecting out of college applicants, college students and those who are on or are applying for a scholarship.  You can read more about it here: Digital Tattoo .  They were so helpful in pointing out how students who receive scholarships or are athletes are held to a higher standard.   They also provided us with some ways that social media can serve as a conduit for positive interactions: Link

Next, a former student of mine, Tucker Sholtes, came in to talk about social media usage in the business world and what HR is looking for when hiring and how businesses will regulate your usage of a personal cellphone if you are checking email on that device.  He also reminded us that not everything that happens in your life needs to be on social media. He cautioned us not to compare our real lives to people's highlight reel on social media.  Lastly, he taught us about LinkedIn and how we can use it to highlight our accomplishments and start to build our professional online presence.

Next, Betsy Kane and Alyssa Estus, both Admission Counselors at SUNY Plattsburgh, shared what they are looking for when they examine college applications.  They also talked about when they find fake accounts, deleted accounts or a total lack of a social media presence. Additionally, they told us about how social media is often used on campus to get out the message and can be used to spread the positivity around campus.

Lastly, Deputy Stapleton, our School Resource Officer, came in to talk about how criminals can use your social media accounts to hack into your life and what information they can glean from your accounts.  He also spoke to us about geotagging and how to make sure you are not exposing too much information in your pictures.  He reinforced that not everything you do in life has to wind up on social media, especially if it would give the wrong first impression to someone just meeting you.

After hearing all of this information, the students had to create a way to pay forward their learning.  They could choose from this list of platforms but if they had another one they wanted to use, they could add it to the list and dive into it.  They had to come up with a dynamic way to share 12 pieces of information they learned that they thought others should know and would be interested in learning.  See some examples here:

Stephanie, Alicia, Sarina, Theresa

The students in class then evaluated their peers based on some of the criteria that is also on the rubric.  You'll notice the last question on the peer evaluation is what percentage of peers must determine that you are an expert to receive your Techspert badge.  As you can see, the class voted that you must have at least a 90% peer approval rating to receive the badge.  The goal is to make experts out of each member of the class so they can help each other throughout the semester and then transfer those skills (both with the platforms and teaching others to use digital platforms) to other classes and experiences in life.
The students then have a choice if they do not receive a 90%+  approval rating.  They can try that platform again to try and earn their badge or they can move on to another platform.  Generally, the expectation in class is that you cannot use the same platform more than once so that we are continually adding to our digital platform skills and also so that we can get used to hitting hurdles and challenges and persevering. However, I emphasize a growth mindset with the students and usually they choose to try again so they can earn their badge and show their additional skills.

We then reflected on the process by answering these questions: 
1. I learned...
2. Next time I do a project I'll...
3. I think I
 did a great job...
4. An area of improvement could be that next time..

Here is an example of a student's reflection

1. I learned that I would enjoy using piktochart in the future
2. Next time I do a project I'll make a Powtoon
3. I think I did a great job on making it eye catching
4. An area of improvement could be that next time I use more of my creative abilities in sharing information

I would love your thoughts and feedback on this project because we are better together!

Thank you!

Paying Forward My Learning from #GAFESummit

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend #GAFESummit in Connecticut.  Yes, you read that right. I had the opportunity to drive 4.5 hours each way and spend the weekend at a conference.  I value my learning because when I didn't, it almost caused me to give up my career (read about that here: blog).  I want to pay forward all of my learning so it doesn't die with me.  Here is a quick recap of the weekend of learning and rediscovering techniques, tools and resources:

Saturday started off with a keynote from Chris Craft (@crafty184) that not only made us laugh and think, but challenged us to engage and inspire our students to give back to those that need us the most.  If you can engage "students to help someone else build their masterpiece, they can then begin to see the value in building their own."  This really resonated with me and is something I will carry with me as I go back to work on Monday.  If you have an opportunity to see or hear him speak, don't miss it.  You won't regret it.

I then went to my first session wondering what all I would be learning about and before the session even started, I rediscovered Let Me Google That For You .  I came across this before, but never really understood just how useful it would be in my part time gig as Tech Integrator.  For example, anyone ever ask you how to make something public on the web and you type out the directions and then 10 more people ask you?  How about using and here are now step by step instructions that you can either send a link to or print out for someone.  How about making a Google Sheet or Smore or Google Newsletter and housing all of those resources and then they are at your fingertips (and maybe the finger tips of those people asking you 123 times how to do that?)

The first session started and before Jeff Heil (@jheil65)  even introduced himself, he handed out three tips, one of which, I wound up using the rest of the weekend.  Pinning a tab is something I knew about, but forgot about and considering I currently have 37 (not an exaggeration) tabs open, it came in handy big time! Pinning a tab makes it so that you can't accidentally close the tab while you are working on other tabs. Definitely helps when you are multitasking.  Anyway, back to our presenter, Jeff, it would turn out I would go to all 6 of his sessions because he really is THAT good!  I could sit and learn from him as a full time job!  I linked his resources to his name at the beginning of this paragraph and I cannot understate just how many nuggets are in each of the links on his Summit page (linked above).  He has everything from My Maps (which by the way might be my new favorite thing after the quiz feature in Forms), to Forms, to deep dive tricks in Google Docs, to apps, to Genius Hour and sooooo many more.  I am so thankful that I was able to learn from (and not be accused of stalking) him this weekend! :)

I left Saturday exhausted and with a learning concussion for sure!

Our day started off by hearing from Kern Kelley (@kernkelley) and he made me think about our use of technology and the student's perspective when they use technology in the classroom.  He also made us laugh a lot when thinking about how much technology has changed in our lives.  He talked about his Tech Sherpas (student tech team) and it made me double down on my efforts to make this work at our school again this year.  I started one at our school last year and we were small but mighty.  This year, I would like to make it more usable for the student body as well as for teachers.   His book The Google Apps Guidebook (which he wrote with this Tech Sherpas) is already on my Kindle and half read.  I can't wait to put some of the ideas into play in my classroom.

I then went to a Forms session with @jheil65 again and it really got me thinking about how I use Forms and how, although I am using it everyday and using the data from it everyday, I am not even scratching the surface of what I can be using it for.  I typically leave bell ringers up for the students to use as a review technique, but why not turn on the quiz feature and then allow them to use it as an actual review where they get feedback if they are answering it correctly, without me having to micromanage it.  I am now going to use it every day in Quiz format so they get feedback.   I am also going to go back to Flubaroo (an add on in Sheets) to not just grade the information but to send the students an email with their results.  I am also going to have my students put their Inquiry answers to the evidence questions in a Google Form so that, after I have added Autocrat as an add on, will create a Google Doc for the students so they can see how their evidence can easily be made into an essay type response to the compelling Inquiry question.  I will probably only do this once or twice since I want them crafting it themselves, but it shows them how important their answers to the guiding questions are and how well constructed evidence collection can basically write your response for you.

Other resources you might want to check out:
Assessing with Forms and Flubaroo by Don Vallera (@mrvallera).
Googlifying Your Classroom by Jay Salerno (@jaysal7)
Designing Lessons with GAFE by Jeff Heil (@jheil65)
Game of Forms by Jeff Heil (@jheil65)
Forms 101 by Jeff Heil (@jheil65)
Haaaaaave You Met My Maps? by Jeff Heil (@jheil65)
Earthcast where you can look at live stream from the ISS.  Thank you to @kernkelley for this resource
Primarily Google by Susan Stewart (resources on how to use Google in primary classrooms)
Getting Geeky with Google by Chris Craft (@crafty184)

As you can see, this weekend was unbelievable!  I challenge you to seek out an opportunity to attend a #GAFEsummit.  You will not regret it!