I would use blogs to help with getting classroom news and school news out to parents. That way parents could comment on the information and maybe a fellow parent could answer the question instead of always having to email the teacher and wait for a response. Also students can share their work via classroom blogs. How many parents have buckets and buckets of their kids work, when they could lessen that load and store those memories and accomplishments on a blog. I would also use blogs for literacy and social studies. For literacy when we do activities like book analysis/reports, we can have students answer the guided questions in their blog, write a review for the book and/or post a video they made themselves giving the report. Students can comment on each other’s blogs and compare what they thought of the book in review. For social studies I could have my students share their personal culture and history by creating an all about me blog. Holidays, culture, religion, and traditions are difficult to integrate in a meaningful way while keeping parent request in mind. This way students can celebrate their heritage and other students can comment and share without having to explicitly teach each culture in my classroom.
Voki, Animoto, and GoAnimate
I have reviewed three programs Animoto, GoAnimate, and Voki. Voki is where you can create your own avatar, manipulating the head, clothes, and accessories. You can even add a voice to your Voki. You can share your Voki on mulitple forms of social media (including blogs). The website also includes large selections of lesson plans that can be used in the classroom. The site advertises that Voki improves student comprehension on lessons. GoAnimate is a site where you can make professional videos with little effort and in little time. You first select a theme, choose and modify the background picture, add and manipulate characters and so much more. There is narration opportunities on this site as well. However it cost money, about $50 a month. You would have to ask your principal if there is room in the budget for the program and then demonstrate that it would enhance the learning of your students. I myself could see using different (free) programs in the classroom that have most of the same capabilities. For example, Animoto where you can create your own video using pictures, sounds, text and then share it on mulitple forms of social media. Animoto puts personal pictures and videos into a meaningful order and they can be enhanced with sound and text that you design. I can definetly use this in the classroom to make a student year book. This way each student can have a free year book that they can access any time.
Twitter and Instagram
Articles: How Twitter Can Be Used as a Powerful Educational Tool (http://novemberlearning.com/educational-resources-for-educators/teaching-and-learning-articles/how-twitter-can-be-used-as-a-powerful-educational-tool/); Everything you need to know about teaching with Instagram (http://www.avatargeneration.com/2015/01/everything-you-need-to-know-about-teaching-with-instagram/) ; Nerdy, Nerdy, Nerdy (http://www.nerdynerdynerdy.com/2014/06/using-instagram-as-classroom-tool.html), David Truss: Pair of Dimes for Your Thoughts (http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/twitter-edu/)
I have used Twitter throughout high school and college and I did not realize the educational impact it has had on me until I read some of these articles. Every time I see a new hashtag that is on everyone’s newsfeed I immediately find myself wanting to join in the conversation and to learn more about what is going on in the world. In “How Twitter Can Be Used as a Powerful Educational Tool” students were able to be a part of a world conversation for political events going on in Egypt. As an outsider watching this event it is hard to not be biased because you are seeing what the media displays. However, if you discuss with someone who is actually witnessing the event you get a more well rounded opinion of what is going on in the world. I think it is so cool that the concept of “pen pals” has been taken to a global perspective and takes little to no time at all.
For Instagram I think they would be great to use for morning meetings. You could enhance student’s abilities to describe a picture; maybe a lesson on adjectives. You could have students write a good heading that describes the events in the picture. You could have students share their accomplishments on Instagram as well! Just so many opportunities that I never would have thought of if I hadn’t read the articles “Everything you need to know about teaching with Instagram” & “Nerdy, Nerdy, Nerdy” & “David Truss: Pair of Dimes for Your Thoughts”. Just getting the conversation started with classroom teachers on how to integrate social media into lessons opens doors and innovates new ideas that we might overlook.
I have read most of my classmates blogs, and we all have a positive attitude towards integrating Twitter and Instagram into the classroom, however, we all agree that it must be in a meaningful way. Rachel Hunter mentioned that you have to keep the students engaged and interested (the social media that they relate to in their current schema) while having them master the content (how the social media is used in a way they are not used to).