Friday, September 19, 2008

Social Media in the Classroom

I know it's been awhile since my last post. Forgive me, while I focused on starting the school year and trying to overhaul how I organize my classroom. Now that we are a couple of weeks into the year, I would like to share how I am trying to use blogs in my classroom. The biggest change I've made this year is to get all my students blogging about psychology. I am using Blogger and getting students to sign up for their own accounts was fairly easy. Their first assignment was to respond to a series of articles and blog posts about memory. Where did I get the list of articles and blog posts? Well, I went through my Google Reader and Delicious tags for memory and easily came up with a list of recent research and applications of memory research. The second post was to respond to online video clips about memory. These happen to be from The Brain and The Mind series. This saves class time and with a blog response I know that everyone is interacting with the video, not just passively gazing at the screen in class. I am also asking my students to label or tag all of their entries. I learned from Chris Dede (Harvard) how tags develop a shared language among a community of learners. It forces my students to create a mental model of relationships that should match the content in the course . Here is one example of what one of my students have been writing about so far. My next step will be to have students differentiate their posts so it will become more meaningful for students to comment on other blogs. I might venture into video blogging as well...stay tuned!


Brian C. Smith said...

Dave, I'm very interested in how this progresses and evolves for your students and your classroom environment as a whole. I'm assuming their initial posts will be just to "dip their virtual toes", but will students be reading each other? Because you have two high schools, I would think that this could be an interesting bridge that educators in the district might think about for their practices. Afterall, they have similar courses, right? Thanks for your leadership!

Dave Waltman said...

Yes, the plan is to eventually have them blogging about different things so there can be some interaction. Right now, they are responding to the same list of videos and blogs (although they do make different choices as to what they are reading/viewing). My goal is for students to be constantly having a conversation about psychology. Conversations are at the foundation of our learning. Conversations are about asking questions and explaining. Just this morning, I had a conversation with a banking friend of mine. I asked questions, she was explaining. I asked for clarification, she explained. She asked me questions, I gave my point of view. Students continue to read and listen passively. They need to understand the importance of having a conversation and I think blogging helps that....even if the conversation is only with themselves!

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