How does social media affect learning?

social-media

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Social media is without a doubt changing students’ learning experiences. There are so many ways that social media can be used as a positive source for learning, but there are also some negatives, which is why the use of social media in the classroom is such a debatable topic.

In the blog posting, Social Media and Literacy, the author made some very interesting points to support the idea that social media is positively changing the student learning process. “Rather than engaging in the opportunity to engage with a variety of media to help students understand the forms and techniques, we often focus on traditional reading and writing tasks which by no means is bad but does not offer students some of the skills they will need in the workplace.” This sentence stood out to me because it is often seen that skills that are being taught in school are no longer translatable to skills that are required in the work force. Especially for my middle school students, by the time they are in the work force, technology will have increased even more than what it is now. It is important that we, as teachers, make sure that the skills that we are teaching our students will be transferrable to work outside of high school. I think those skills should be based off of social media and technology.

Tanya Joosten states on page 23 of Social Media for Educators, “by making connections to colleagues via social media, you are building an expert network that can afford opportunities in gathering information, ideas, and perspectives.” YES! This is important for educators, as well as other professionals in other careers. Being an active part of social media (Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc.) makes me a better professional. If we are not teaching our students how to properly use social media now, how can we expect them to use it properly when they are working in the professional world?

In the article, Using Social Media to Enhance Students’ Learning Experiences, it is concluded that it is beneficial for professors and students to utilize social media in the classroom (Griesemer, 2012, p. 11). Even though it might take some time to plan different lessons or activities using different types of social media, the time is worth it because it can lead to learning different skills that would otherwise not be learned if social media was not used. It is important that clear expectations are set with students in order to make learning successful within these means, but the outcomes will be far more beneficial with the use of social media versus without it. If these findings were supportive of social media at the postsecondary level, I believe they can be transferred to all grade levels.

What are your thoughts on social media and the impact is has on classroom learning and environment? There are drawbacks, but I believe the benefits out weight those drawbacks. It is important that social media is used, but also implemented correctly like stated by Tanya Joosten on pages 29-30 of Social Media for Educators. Follow the appropriate steps and the learning outcomes will be tremendous for you and your students.

Resources:
Griesemer, J. A. (2012). Using social media to enhance students’ learning experiences. Quality Approaches in Higher Education, 3(1), 8-11.

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Extra! Extra! Read all about these study tips!

study-tips

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It can be SUCH A CHALLENGE to get my special education kids to study for tests. It’s like pulling teeth to get them to study for a vocabulary/spelling quiz and trying to walk through drying cement to get them to study for anything bigger. I ran across these study tips on A Geeky Momma’s Blog that I am excited to try with my students for their next quiz or test. Some I had heard of before, but others were brand new and I am excited to share with you!

Rewarding with treats: I have heard before that if you chew one type of gum while studying, make sure to chew that same type of gum when taking the test. I had never heard of using small treats. I plan to use this for reading content that may not necessarily be directly studying for tests. Once again — SO difficult to get some of my students to read, so maybe this can be a small motivation for them. Any thoughts or experiences (good or bad) about using food as rewards? I know it is important to keep in mind the school’s health rules.

Teaching Others: Sometimes when I don’t completely feel comfortable with teaching a specific concept I refresh myself with my notes then as I’m teaching it to students, I realize that I am more comfortable with it than I thought I was. Why shouldn’t it be the same for students?! Teaching scientific notation to a classmate just might boost a student’s self-esteem once they realize they know it more than they thought they did. Also, I think it would be beneficial for the student being taught by his/her classmate because that classmate is teaching using very familiar vocabulary and language at their level. Very beneficial for all! Here’s an article that enhances this concept for me – The Protege Effect. I especially liked how this article discussed feedback from the learner to the student teacher. I can’t wait to use this more with my students.

Making Connections: Some content can be so hard for students to learn and a lot of that deals with not being able to personally connect with it. All through college I was told to make content relatable to students, but how often is this actually done? It can be so hard! Something this blog taught me was the it can be very simple…maybe that’s where I’ve gone wrong in the past. Keep the connections simple! I plan for my students to make their own connections to vocabulary or concepts. That way, (hopefully) they will be able to remember content better since they are making their own connections.

Use Blocking Apps: Has anyone else ever heard of these!? Computers can be so awesome for students, but also such a pain because they get so distracted from what they are supposed to be doing. I plan on using this ASAP both for studying and other assignments that need to be done on the computer. Some examples of these that I found are Hey FocusSelf Control App, and Focus Me.

A few more were listed on this blog post, but these were four that really stuck out to me and seem easy enough to implement soon! What study tips have you used to help struggling, unmotivated students?

 

blogs, blogs, and blogs…oh my!

yellow-brick-road

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The profession of teaching can be such a whirlwind of emotions, decisions, lesson planning, behavior problems, parents, administrators, professional development, etc. Just like any profession, at times it can be very overwhelming and reminds me of the journey of following the yellow brick road that Dorothy traveled to find the Wizard of Oz.

As a second year teacher, at times it feels like I am going in circles with a certain student, lesson, or behavior problem, just like Dorothy did as she started out on her journey to find the wizard. In Nancy Flanagan’s Blog, Teacher in a Strange Land, she discusses and quotes another blogger, Tim Walker, the feelings of new teachers as they start their journey as educators. It can be so scary at times and just like Tim, there are many times that I wanted to just turn around and quit all together because I didn’t know if teaching was the right profession for me. How can students be so hard to teach? How can lesson planning be so time-consuming? Why don’t parents back me up on behavior concerns instead of their child who is causing trouble at school? So many questions constantly went through my mind and it felt like I was going in circles.

Eventually I started to find my way with my students, parents, administrators, and fellow teachers. I found my tin man, courageous lion, and scarecrow to help me along the way who had been through the same thing that I had and that allowed me to start enjoying teaching like I always thought I would. One of the things that helped me along the way were reading blogs from other educators and professionals. I ran across blogs that helped me with specific curriculum, ideas to help with classroom management, and others that provided me with just enough encouragement to continue on in my career as an educator.

It’s not always easy to find time to read blogs, but when I do, I sincerely enjoy what I get out of them. In Mrs. H.’s Resource Room, she talks about how each year is a new year and we need to start out the year with a positive attitude to grow as educators. I love how she said that now is the time to develop new habits and set goals to become the best we can be for our students. Of course there are going to be lions, tigers, and bears we will run into along the way, but keeping the end goal in mind of being a successful, motivated teacher will help us overcome those obstacles.

Education Week provides an unlimited amount of blogs that have helped me keep updated with not only new ideas for technology and curriculum, but also provides me an opportunity to read educators’ opinions on different topics and updates on laws and policies. The last blog that I will share today is A Geeky Momma’s Blog. There are SO MANY tech resources on this blog! She applies it to specific content areas when she writes about the tools, but they can be applied to different content areas as well. With the help of these blogs, fellow teachers, and years of experience, I will continue following the yellow brick road until I become the best educator I can be.

Welcome!

Welcome to my blog! I plan to share insights about my life as a business and special education teacher. Every day is different and I appreciate that very much about my job. I hope to use those different experiences to influence fellow educators. Feel free to contact me with any questions.