Tweeting in the classroom, are you kidding?

No, I am not kidding.  While taking classes at UNI, my eyes have been opened to the possibilities social media offers the higher education classroom.  I know some of the instructors I work with have already started to embrace this semi new world of social media in education.  Lisa Williams at Kirkwood Community College connects with her student via Facebook.  In her opinion, the students are already there so why not give them the important information from her class on that site.  I agree that a closed Facebook group is a great way to communicate due date reminders and other announcements with today’s students, but I think we could be doing so much more.  Why not tweet with students and challenge them to tweet with each other?  Tweeting makes students really think about what is important in their message because the character number is very limited.  Help them build critical thinking skills, technology skills and a sense of community all with a social media platform that so many of them are already using for non educational reasons.   The faculty focus blog I was recently reading encourages instructors to integrate social media into their teaching.  I like how the blog points out that social media can go beyond just posting announcements.  It is truly an opportunity to build relationships and build a stronger community, between faculty and students and between the students themselves.

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Here is a fun little fact.  Did you know companies like KFC do not read through thousands of essays anymore to decide who is going to receive their scholarships?  Heck no!  It just takes one tweet to earn cash for college!  CNN covered the story.  By the time your students graduate, how many of them do you think will apply for at least one job that will require some kind of tweet, maybe even a resume posted to twitter?

photo: flickr.com

Whiteboards gone digital!

I am lucky to be surrounded by amazing educators everyday.  When I was thinking about starting this blog, I thought about all the different things the instructors I know do in the classroom to engage student and increase student success.  I want to keep a record of all of these stories and share them with others, and so it here it is, my very first blog.

Recently, I was at Hawkeye Community and I met with fellow blogger (I’m not sure I can say that yet) Cherie Dargan.  I asked her what apps she likes to use to prepare for class or use in the classroom.  One of the apps she mentioned was a whiteboard app called Educreations.  I logged into one of her courses to see how she is using the app.  She was able to do a voice over as she showed different documents/slides.  In one of her first lessons, she walked students through the assignments and expectations for the course.  You could tell she was excited about some of the content which made it engaging.  She hit on topics students would find interesting – distracted driving and cell phones, I am pretty sure many students can relate to this!  This was a great way to make sure students are well aware of her expectations.  They can refer back to this at any point to make sure they are on task.

Educreations offers many free features but did recently start charging for some.  The free version allows you to record audio, write with different colors like you are using a whiteboard, add a picture and more.  I personally found it extremely easy to use.  My favorite feature was the ability to use my finger and pull an image while recording to animate the image.  Beginner’s tutorial:

I live in the higher education world, but for any of you who teach in K – 12, I read a story I loved!  Instructors are using this to record little math lessons to teach the parents.  Here is what happened at my house last year: my children come home and pulled out their math.  We hashed through it and got it done even though they said it was not done the way the teacher did it.  To us, that was okay, they had the right answer and they knew how they got it.  But then, the paper came back with zero credit. The way they were learning was foreign to me so a quick video of the lesson would have been priceless!  Click here for the story.

Please share how you use this in your course or how you think you might use it now that you have discovered it!