Get the Word Out: A Social Media Case Study

Police Dog Tess I teach future teachers – secondary social studies teachers. The course has three goals:

  1. Learn to think like a historian. 
  2. Become a skillful instructional designer.
  3. Develop skills for reflection, growth and professional networking.

They begin the course by doing self-audits of their social media use for professional networking – a good starting point to reflect on their expanding professional learning networks. Along the way we use load of tech tools to achieve our course goals. Every activity results in a public product for their growing professional portfolio.

Rather than tell them what to do, I prefer to model it. Here’s a brief Storify that illustrates how to fuse our three course goals and produce content to share with the world. Here’s our first set of student posts. Take a look and leave a comment.

Image credit: Police Dog Tess, 29/1/35 by Sam Hood
State Library of New South Wales

Students at the Center of the Learning

Thomas Hawk - Hub and SpokesIn the early part of my high school social studies teaching career, I saw myself at the center of the classroom. I was the focal point of the learning. I played resident historian – reading, crafting lectures and dispensing history to my students. They were on the periphery of the learning – waiting for my instructions, checking back with me for approval, giving me back my lecture on the unit test. Even the whole class discussions “flowed through” the teacher. Students directed their responses to me. I commented after each student with my approval or directing another student to give it a try. Without realizing it, I taught my students the only thing worth knowing was something coming from their teacher.

With time I learned to stop working so hard at being the smartest person in the room. With practice, I honed the skills of an instructional designer – an architect of learning environments – “spaces” where the thinking was done by my students.

I try to model that “architectural approach” in my social studies methods class. Take a look at today’s class, (University of Portland) you’ll see that I’m not the focal point of the lesson. By “flipping” a few instructional components and providing a student-driven evaluation, my students will be at the heart of the lesson. I’ll be floating at the periphery. Here’s a summary:

The students have written drafts for their first authored posts on EdMethods, our class WordPress blog. While I assigned the format of their post – they have selected the content. Before posting they will go through two peer reviews in today’s class and then make revisions based on the feedback. Instead of writing for their teacher they are writing for the web. Rather than being graded by the teacher, the quality of their work will be assessed by their peers before they “turn it in” for publication on the web.

Most of my students are new to WordPress. Rather than force the whole class to sit through my “How to use WordPress” lecture, I used the QuickTime Player to prepare ten brief (under 2 mins) video micro-lessons on posting to WordPress. Students can use that “just-in-time instruction” for exactly what they need to complete the posting process. That frees me to work with students who might want to make major revisions to their posts or need extra help with WordPress.

Next week, our class will focus on historic thinking skills. I want to use our class time to actually dohistorical thinking tasks, so I wanted to flip the content delivery. I used TEDEd’s great lesson builder to annotate an existing YouTube video with questions, student reflections and further readings. See Who is the historian in your classroom?

Interesting in flipping a lesson? Here’s info on my Flipped Classroom Workshop

Who is the historian in your classroom
Image Credit:
Flickr: Thomas Hawk – Hub and Spokes

Flip Any YouTube Video into a Lesson with TED-Ed Tools

The folks at TED talks recently launched TED-Ed to serve the mission “of capturing and amplifying the voice of the world’s greatest teachers.” more 
In addition to developing a library of instructional videos, they’ve just added a free set of tools that allow teachers to create customized lessons from existing videos on TED, YouTube or YouTube for Schools. 

Open a free account at TED-Ed. Once you have selected a video, it will publish to it’s own unique URL. You can share the lesson with students and others via e-mail, Facebook, or Twitter. It will exist on its own unique page on TED-Ed, and you can decide who gets to see that page.

Screen shot of TED-Ed interface …  yes, that’s me in the ’80’s

In addition to framing a video for your students, you can create multiple choice and open-ended questions, and add additional readings or activities to each lesson you create. After you have shared your lesson, you can log in at any time to see who viewed your lesson, the number of questions they attempted, the answers they provided, and, in the case of multiple choice questions, the number of questions they got right (with their permission, of course).

Want to know more about flipping your classroom – see more posts on my flip tag.

Calling Teachers, Lessons, Animators! TED-Ed Wants You

The folks behind TED talks have just launched TED-Ed to serve the mission “of capturing and amplifying the voice of the world’s greatest teachers.” More

They’ve put out a call to teachers everywhere to submit lesson ideas for inclusion in the new YouTube Channel – TED-Ed: Lessons worth sharing. (Hey, it’s your chance to satisfy your inner Sir Ken Robinson!)

Suggest a lesson and and nominate a teacher (or yourself) on this form. TED will review submission to find the great lessons. They will work with the educators to refine the lessons and make sure they are under ten minutes long. Then a team of animators will work with the educator to visualize the lessons and create a new video for posting on the TED-Ed channel. In anticipation of growing the initiative, TED-Ed is also looking for talented animators.

Right now there’s a gifted educator delivered a great lesson to their class. TED-Ed is looking for your help to find that educator, team them with animators, and amplify that lesson for all to see.

Nominate an educator | Share a lesson | Nominate an animator.

Here’s a few sample lessons to get you thinking (both animated by Sunni Brown). ”Symbiosis: a Surprising Tale of Species Cooperation” Lesson by David Gonzales and “The Power of Simple Words” Lesson by Terin Izil