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Tag Archives: Social Networking

Connecting around the world (within Timezones)

One of the projects on the back of my mind for our school is to buddy different classes or grades with “sister school” throughout the world.  Where this most often becomes is through technology, authentic needs and projects, and through meeting synchronously at the same time.  To alleviate this last worry, I was examining the idea to limit the schools we would connect with to those within our own timezone (for now).

Time Zones

Time Zones

This would mean that we could still get a cross-cultural feel for how things are in different parts of the world, but never have mix-ups or hiccups because of timing.  I can envision it now:

“Ok, great.  We’ll Skype with your class at 2pm then.”

“Wait, 2pm your time or mine?”

“Oh, ours.”

“Oh, we will already be gone home.”

This preplanning could fix all of this hassle down the road.  Because I am in Istanbul, this gives me a wide gamut of places and schools to consider, for example, Finland, Kiev, Bucharest, Cairo, Lubumbashi, Pretoria, Cape Town, and the list goes on.

Asynchronous conversations would end this worry and could be done through ideas like: Edmodo, Wikis, Blogging, Google Docs, Twitter, Twijector, and more.  However, there is definitely something about connecting in real-time.   I am excited about the idea and will comment further about the progress and the new problems we may face.

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Creating a Wiki?

Some advice that I would give to someone creating a wiki specifically for a class working synchronously:

  1. Students must write their information in Word first – for better grammar, but especially for back-up.
  2. Create separate designated pages for each student to work on – possibly name the pages with their name embedded to be changed out later – as the wiki creator, you may be the only one to have the page creation rights.
  3. If you know multiple people will be working on the same pages at the same times, allocate time buffer zones that people may post – for example, if 4 people work on the same page, one may post between 4-6pm, another between 7-9pm, another between 10-12pm, and another between 6-8am.

There are always Revision histories, but having 15-30 students post on the same page at the same time DOES NOT WORK. Separate the tasks and times as best as you can.

I would actually recommend Google Docs or Microsoft One-note if you are networked and have that option.  It depends on your final goal of the project.

 
 

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If you are a teacher this is how your Facebook settings should be

Attention:

Facebook needs the default privacy settings I have listed below.

Aside to this fact, I have an ongoing argument with a good friend of mine about teachers adding students to their Facebook accounts.  My friend feels teachers should not add students because students might see something not meant for them.

I am this wary about anything I put on to the internet.  As an educator I do not want anything on the world-wide web from or about me that is anything less than professional.  Why are the comments, photos or other things I put on to Facebook any different?

Essentially, if someone who I added as a friend wanted to place my images or text in some other forum they could easily do so.  No one should consider Facebook a secure environment to treat as a secret diary.

Nonetheless, there are some major uses for Facebook in education.

Proof:

Patrick Batty has this to say about Facebook in education:

[M]any students, instructors and administrators are using a number of Facebook applications for a wide variety of academic purposes.

Recently we’ve been examining a number of Facebook apps that are relevant for educational use. We’ve assembled a small list of 20 facebook apps here and are happy to have others add additional apps to the list that you’ve found helpful.

  • Books iRead: Share the books you’re reading, and see what others think of books with this application.
  • Flashcards: With this application, you can create flash cards to help you study on Facebook.
  • SkoolPool: Get the lowdown on schools, online and otherwise, with this neat application.
  • Rate My Professors: Find out what other students think of professors before you register for their class.
  • BookTag: This app offers a great way to share and loan books out to students, plus create helpful quizzes for studying.
  • DoResearch4me: This app makes it easy to gather information using your thesis statement, instructions, and more.
  • Mathematical Formulas: Distribute formulas, solutions, and more with this application.
  • SlideShare: Create presentations to send to students with this slideshow application.
  • Calendar: This calendar app from 30 Boxes lets you organize your days, set reminders and share your calendar with others.
  • To-Do List: Stay on top of your tasks with this Facebook to-do application.
  • Zoho Online Office: You can keep all of your documents online, and even share them with classmates, students, and colleagues.
  • UdutuTeach: UdutuTeach allows you to import courses from myUdutu (a course authoring tool) manage which people can take your courses, and track the learners’ progress.
  • UdutuLearn: UdutuLearn lets you view courses that you have been given access to and shows your progress.
  • Courses: Courses offers loads of functionality for online education, with features that let you add your courses, post announcements and assignments, search university reviews find classmates, create discussions and form study groups.
  • Files: Powered by Box.net, this application makes it easy to store and retrieve documents in Facebook, so you can access them anywhere you have a connection.
  • WorldCat: Use WorldCat to do research, catalog your library’s collection, and share information with students.
  • HeyMath!: These mini-movies explain difficult math concepts, so these are great to share with students or use on your own.
  • Study Groups: Get everyone together on your group project by collaborating with this application.

Caroline Lego Muñoz of Fairleigh Dickinson University states, “Facebook is equipped with bulletin boards, instant messaging, email, and the ability to post videos and pictures. Most notably, anyone can post information and collaborate within the system. Recently, Facebook has opened up development of downloadable applications, which can further supplement the educational functions of Facebook.” in the essay, Opening Facebook: How to Use Facebook in the College Classroom.

I try to take the early adoption technique about new technologies and implementation of such.  If you want to as well, try the following.

Strategy:

Follow these 19 steps.  This will take 1/2 hour to an hour.

  • Choose Privacy Settings in the top-right corner, like you see in the picture below.

  • Click on View Settings

  • Change the Search for you on Facebook setting if you do not want everyone to find you
  • Definitely change the See your friends list.  I set mine solely to myself.
    [Side-note: Last night, at a staff party, a colleague of mine was wondering why students I had added as friends were not trying to add her.  She said the students all asked if she was on Facebook, as they wanted to add her.  She thought the students were a little slow, but then I mentioned I don’t allow others to see my friends list.  She thanked me.]

  • After you have changed those settings, go Back to Privacy

  • Choose Customize Settings

  • Assuming you consider what you write when you post, you shouldn’t need to limit the Posts by me for your friends – who may be students.
  • Consider your Relationships, Interested In, and Religious and political views as private
  • Take note: You can edit Privacy Settings for Photo Albums and Videos here

  • When you Edit privacy settings for photo albums, you have the options seen below.
  • If you only want specific people to see, choose Customize

IMPORTANT:
You want to limit what others post about you

  • Choose Edit Settings for:
  • Photos and Videos you’re tagged in
  • Can see wall posts by friends, and
  • Friends can check me in to places (You never know where someone might check you in)

  • Choose Customize

  • Choose Specific People
  • This will take a while – You need to go through your friends list and choose who can see.  I usually start typing “a” and Facebook auto-completes with friends with an “a” in their name.  Then I type “b”, then “c”, and so on, up to “z”.

Good luck.  Report back if you think I missed something or if you would do it differently.  Cheers.

 

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Create comic strips like a Pro

Less than 2 minutes is all it took me to make the above comic strip.  The learning curve using stripgenerator.com is low.  The options are seemingly endless.  The ability for teachers to use this in their classroom at a low age is high.  There is a “like” factor for kids.  Why not explore it for yourself.  I have listed some of the abilities with this all-in-one website below.

Strip Generator allows for different types of:

  • frames
  • characters (plus you can build your own)
  • items (like tvs, hats, books, toys, instruments and so much more)
  • text (and text bubbles)

Everything can:

  • be rotated
  • be re-sized
  • be arranged front to back
  • blurred
  • have its opacity changed

When you finish you can tag, print, share on Facebook and Twitter, embed on your website or blog, or even join with other strips you have made to create a booklet.  The website is very intuitive.  I can see many uses for it in education and give it 5 out of 5 stars as a resource.

 

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If you don’t consider “The Cutoff” you’ll hate yourself later

This is important if you are a blogger and you use Facebook to publish.  After the Headline of your article, the next most important characters you write are the following 280.  This is the “Facebook Cutoff”.  Without getting people interested in your article in this amount of time they are not going to click on the link to see the rest of your article and hopefully peruse (read intensely) through your blog.

So, how do you do it?

Put the important information up front.  Newspapers have been doing this for a long time, you can too.  Look back at an article to see how they are doing it.

Don’t tell people something they already know.  Why do they need to read the rest of the article if everything they are seeing is something they have already read before or is something they concluded about themselves.

Now, here is the interesting part: Test to see the sentence getting cut off at 280 characters is leaving someone yearning for more. Test the length in Facebook. Have you done so well that you have put ALL the important information in the first 280 characters that readers do not feel they need to read any further to gain insight?  If so, rework the article.

Finally, do something I didn’t do in this articles headline, and ask a question.  It might generate people commenting on the article, as they have thought about their response since they read the title.

 
 

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