Introduction of who I am…BYU Penn State RIC Mexico City Research Junior High Teacher Joint Appointment Educational Studies Dept. Junior High Teacher…I’ve always seen myself as a college professor K-12 educator who reluctantly left behind secondary education, therefore I keep find ways to immerse myself in projects that keep me in both higher education and public school systems as this current project with show. APHumanGeog Reader
In the summer of 2009, Iran held fraudulent elections with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad winning and reform candidate Mir HosseinMousavi “losing.”This was when I first heard the term “CITIZEN JOURNALISM” and saw SOCIAL MEDIA as something bigger than “I ate fruit loops this morning.” The audience isn’t just in the streets of Iran, in the physical space that the protestors are occupying. Place is their stage, their platform to reach the their real audience which is achieved in part through social media.
This movement has the ubiquitous twitter hashtag as a part of the protest and the concept of physically occupying to discursively reclaim an reappropriate a narrative is quite powerful and has even spread to Cyprus where “Occupy” there is to occupy the demilitarized zone and demand reunification of the island in what youth see as a the failure of leadership to bury old ethnic hatreds and historical injustices on both sides. That is a far-reaching impact and we see technology reshaping the cultural and political landscapes today.
The Arab spring
Social Media and online collaboration has us rethinking political power and social mobilization. This technological tools of globalization have change the geography of the 21st century.
But is it having us rethink 21st century Geography Education as well? During the “Arab Spring” I rewrote my lecture for North Africa and delivered it in the same way I always had, teaching my students who are all digital natives about the how twitter and facebook are powerful forces in the world today. That was my moment…time for pedagogy to match content. These technologies are in the classroom today…but very uneven. Research is all current and inherently exploratory and participatory
My role online for my students is to be a digital media curator. I give them the best of the internet with my stamp of approval on it. But I’m also allowing them to find and share with me and their classmates what they have found with their commentary. Trying to absorb all that the internet has to offer is like drinking out of a fire hose. What they need is are filters to get quality sources amidst the vast quantity available, guideposts on where to find information, and commentary to begin to start evaluating sources and critique the diverse opinions out there. Filters, guideposts and commentary: That is what digital media curation is.
After two month of vigorously expanding my twitter network, it quickly became apparent that this had value for my students within my classroom. Although the schools I have worked for to have Learning Management Systems like Blackboard, I try to limit that to a minimum. They have their place for posting grades, distributing assignments and other internal class logistics. LMS are closed systems for the students to interact with each other and the teacher—that is incredibly limiting with they can connect with academics and scholars around the world. I’m trying to kick down the walls of my classroom to have both my students learn from the expertise of others, but also to produce knowledge that will benefit others as they join the global conversation.
This is now “who I am” at least who I am online.
That is the origin of my website, which I hope, will not only reshape my classroom but influence many others. It is gaining momentum and is quite time-consuming. Social Media is also challenging us to rethink publications; while I still plan to publish in traditional journals, this is having more impact than anything else I’ve every produced. I’ve received countless emails of appreciation and support for the project. This site was created in August 2011 and through an intensive social media and email listserv blitzkrieg, it quickly gained a strong following with 5,000 hits in it’s first month. 6,000 in month 2 and 7,000 in it’s third. While that is minimal compared to popular culture sites, for an academic site devoted to geography this is a formidable force. With an average of 3 new posts a day and around 300 ‘scooped’ resources, this are archived but also searchable through ‘tags’ that systematically organize the links in thematically coherent groups.
I use both facebook and twitter for professional development and as a personalized news stream channels. You will noted however, that my twitter networks is far more internationalized and diversified. I truly haven’t met more than a handful of these people.
Most students have fairly limited networks and the majority of their followers are their peers with very few geographers. This is a cartographic rendering on my social network on Twitter, and I ‘lend’ that network to my students by retweeting their ideas to a wide range of geographers and educators.
Key to making this work is reporting on “Classroom Successes.” Allow be to share a few to demonstrate the efficacy of social media as collaborative tool for students.
I remember Hollie’s face as a shared this with the class, just beaming (if a touch embarrassed) knowing that her work MATTERED and had an impact.
The students take ownership of the class and the course material as they PRODUCE part of the course text. This is empowering as a supreme validation of their ideas and that their contributions are worthwhile.
The cell phone does not HAVE to be the enemy…convert this vast array of technological equipment that is just sitting in your classroom into ClickersYou now have online polling devices that can be integrated into Powerpoint or a website.
The most active participants are 1) British first of all because geography education is more important there. But secondly, the most active participants are high school teachers. One of the reasons I’m deeply committed to the AP Human Geography readings is that it is a fabulous gathering that merges high school geography teachers with college professors. Generally speaking, there is no ego and both are mutually edified by this collaboration. Kit Salter, once wrote an article for the Journal of Geography entitled “The University and the Alliance: A study in Contradictions.” While the universities such as this one, house the state alliances, often there is a divide between the high school geography and college geography that is fundamentally because of social networking and failure to collaborate. This is what attracted me to AP Human Geography as well as the local alliances, to bridge that gap. Social Media can be another key way to reduce barriers and interact with people with all types of affiliations that are deeply committed to Geography Education.
One of my student teachers produced a fantastic site with 6 main links for his middle school students. They were given a worksheet to fill out with many ‘Synthesis’ and ‘evaluation’ type of questions. I observed the lesson in question and I was startled in that computer lab…virtually all the students were on this site our the 6 linked sites the entire class period. The got them asking questions and the teachers were facilitating their exploration of online resources that had been professionally curated.
Structure and flexibility: The lesson plan was the perfect balance of teacher-driven instruction and student-led exploration for that particular classroom. The scaffolding was necessary to allow the students to then engage with the right materials and to begin asking some probing questions. This also allowed for instruction to be differentiated as students were all working at their own pace, but still collaborating with their neighbors. Both the “Sage on the Stage” and “Guide on the Side” paradigms have their role in education, but the social media classroom allows for both to flourish. Scaffolding Theory was first introduced in the late 1950s by Jerome Bruner,
I do NOT want to impose social media on the anti-social, so I’ve built in an alternative to Twitter within the social media classroom: On my curated site, comments are allowed (which I can moderate). If students are uncomfortable posting publicly on social media sites with their profile, they set up a psuedonym to comment on various posts on the website. I always make sure that the alternate assignment is more work because I’m trying to push them just a little outside of their comfort zone if they are apprehensive about it.
Twitter is a big world—as is the internet…asking them to find the best that the web has to offer and they might end up with the “NumaNuma dance” or “Charlie bit my finger.” This is primarily and journalism tool to empower citizen journalism, but I use it as another curation tool to put together Tweets, links, videos and pictures related to a theme with my added commentary…thinking in the future this can be a powerful tool for students to create reports. Geography students are learning about a dynamic world that can render the newest textbook irrelevant. Earlier this year I had to rewrite my plans for my “North Africa” lecture…if the research topic in question is current, this could be a helpful component to organize emerging texts and sources. quoteurl.com is another similar service
The cultural ethos of Twitter is of recognizing where you found your information. Students learn how to properly cite their sources and the important of not plagarism through Twitter. Go fig.
10 minutes after class ended I had several photo galleries and news clippings about the currents workers strike just sitting there on twitter waiting for me.
So I used Storify to gather together the best of my student’s work for the regional geography, and publish it on both “Storify” and Scoop.it while tweeting the link to my network. This is more that just a glorified refridgator magnet to show off my students work like a proud papa. This is vital to the ideological underpinnings of the social media classroom as I’ve conceived of it. Students are NOT attending my courses simply to receive knowledge from me. Nor are they there to synthesize information that they have receive to evaluate it. I am working to ensure that my students have the skills, content and platform to become producers of knowledge. Gone are the days when I assign a project with an intended audience of one.
My site has spawned numerous ‘Geography Education’ sites on scoop.it and GEOGRAPHY is disproportionately represented on the site. All of these sites are referencing my material. My initial gut instinct was to say “you’re copying me!” Seeing these as a modern version of a publishing citation, I’m glad to see that others are finding the material useful, and the format inspiring.
Another aspect of Social Media Classroom is the enormous potential for Service Learning to integrate learning into producing usable knowledge that benefits others. Our knowledge is only helpful when it is shared. Through social media channels I became affiliated with this organization that shares an educational philosophy grounded in service. Once the walls of the classroom are kicked down,
Rhode Island College’s Study Abroad program was the first beneficiary of this service learning program. This was an introductory GIS class with no mapping skills and their first assignment is going to go on the school’s website? There were some standardized tutorials that the could have received, but this was the assignment were they cut their teeth and truly immersed themselves into the project. Again, this isn’t just some ‘fluff piece’ since they are emotionally invested because others are relying on them. Simply put: they cared.
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Social Media Classroom Challenges & Opportunities of teaching in the Digital Age http://storify.com/APHumanGeog/social-media-classroom-resources
Freeport-McMoRan Grasberg mine, West Papua World’s largest gold reserve – estimated that mining will continue for another century. Has contracts to mine more than 9 million acres Tailings and side effects hurting the local village populations
Conclusions• Social Media is reshaping society---education• Students need to be producers of knowledge – Content, analytic skills and a platform• Social Media is the most individualized form of professional development• Networking tool for collaboration