sing your life
A couple of weeks ago, my fifth and sixth grade English Language Development (ELD) students read an article in the Merced Sun-Star that made them realize, sometimes, news stories don't always tell the whole truth. So, what's a group of 30 students to do when they realize they have been marginalized? Write letters to the editor, of course! Here are some of their responses to the Dec. 1 article.

Don't forget the real problems behind this lesson-- childhood obesity and a lifetime of health problems. In the end, there is no contest between brain v. body; both must be used vigorously to maintain their abilities and skill-sets, while each reacts to the other's activity level.
Viral media has become an inexpensive way to spread a brand or message quickly. Yet, low upfront expenses may be nothing compared to how much negative brand image may cost in the long run.

Take for example Brandt Andersen, the owner of the NBA Development League team the Utah Flash, who is trying to restore his team's image after a  social media experiment gone awry.  In an NPR interview, Andersen said, "What we didn't think would happen, actually happened," after posting messages on Twitter that Byron Russell would play Michael Jordan during half-time. Andersen goes on to say, "We were testing some viral media stuff. That started to set a crazed expectation."

Well, Mr. Andersen, when you tell people that Russell and Jordan are facing off during half-time, expect that people will believe what you are selling. Using viral media may seem easy and fun, but just like any other form of advertising or journalism, don't forget who the audience is. And never underestimate the backlash of negative press coverage.

As Anderson begins to make reparations, might I make a suggestion? Hire a social media manager who advises on how to correctly use social media, viral media, and 21st century journalism for increased positive brand reaction and maintained image in the future. Even if hiring a media manager is too much, the most basic of any business plan should be don't lie to, cheat, or steal from the customer.
According to Penn Olson's Willis Wee, Facebook has an astounding number of users, 350 meeellion to be exact, and more than 45 million subscribe to some kind of Group. With stats like these, educators need to reconsider how fb is used as an educational platform. Here are My Top 5 Groups that may lead to further use of fb in education:

1. Facebook in Education
2. Arts Education is Absolutely Necessary
3. Using Wiki in Education
4. Integrating Technology into Education
5. Media Literacy

Of course, fb as a collaboration tool is easier at the college or university level, yet K-12 educators must continue to fight for media literacy, even if administrations refuse to open the pearly gates of social media to staff or students. Parents and students must stand up for their own learning, and remind schools that social media requires practice and explanations, not censorship.

In my current district, social media depends on what sight you toil on; fb is open to staff computers at the junior high and high school levels, yet blocked at the elementary levels; student computers block fb on all campuses. I am appalled that not only am I, as a professional educator, treated in an untrustworthy manner, but that my students are not able to access such a popular site that will no doubt play some kind of role in their lives. Do school districts really believe it is easier to not deal with parent complaints or inappropriate use by students and staff than to educate all parties? Ignoring social media won't make it go away, and students may never get a chance to learn the correct way to use the Internet with such a large part of our online culture being blocked.

*Read what International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Connects has to say about the effects of blocking student Internet use here.

For my first, and long-awaited *wink*, blog post on this site, I wanted to blather on about Google Wave. Yes, really.

As soon as I got my invite and watched the video (posted below,) I decided to investigate how GW could be used for educational purposes. Not that it would be available to educators or students for unlimited use any time soon, but what made me ponder such an out-of-reach option was the fact that I would love to use GW in an educational setting, whether I'm the instructor or the student. The following articles discuss how GW could eventually lead large groups of students, educators, and other entities such as universities, to make use of this real-time collaboration tool.

Educause, a leading non-profit supporting tech in higher ed says,
"Wave opens new avenues for critique of engineering projects, architectural designs, musical performance, or any discipline that benefits from peer or expert review. Instructors, using the playback function, could see how waves were built, step-by-step, and draw inferences about the thinking behind and evolution of student projects. Wave might also change how knowledge is created, stored, and shared. If adopted by professionals, it could provide an accessible way to model disciplinary thinking and processes with students."

e-School News, an online ed-tech magazine, states,
"Google's announcement has the education blogosphere buzzing with ideas about how this new application could possibly shake up the way educators approach teaching and collaboration."

Of course, not everyone is ready to jump on your Wave, Google. Chris Dannen gives five compelling reasons why GW could be your worst nightmare:

"Dislike long billowy emails? You'll despise the bizarre, choppy prolixity of long waves." Maybe. Give me a few months to try it out, and see how much playback I can stand for messages I might not care about.

I definitely agree with the fact that, after using GW, I am skeptical of how many Waves I will actually send, since I prefer to edit my messages after typing them. I noticed while Waving that I'm a little old school in that degree, but maybe that's our instant gratification culture knocking at my door while I hide out behind the couch. That, or my OCD.

I also agree with Dannen when he writes,
" 'Any participant can reply anywhere in the message, edit the content and add participants at any point in the process,' Google says. That'll make keeping track of participants a lot harder. Subtract the aforementioned opportunities to self-edit, and you have a social trainwreck ready and waiting."

All in all, GW looks promising in several arenas, such as email, real-time collaboration suites, social media, and PLNs.

PS- Wave to me!

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    educator, student, yoga enthusiast, roller derby girl

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    The views expressed in this blog are my own, and do not necessarily reflect those of my employers, colleagues, friends, family, or pets. Thanks for visiting!


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    21st Century Journalism
    21st Century Skills
    Ed Tech
    Google Wave
    Media Literacy
    Social Media
    Viral Media