Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Putting Ed Tech Into Practice - Social Media on Paper

I teach Government for the next 12 weeks.  We were starting our investigation into the Constitution and for one of the assignments I had my students take the Preamble of the Constitution and transform it into a SMS, Tweet, and Facebook Status.

For the SMS, students were required to change the text as if they were to text it to friends and texting existed during the Constitutional Conventions.

For the Tweet students had to try and shrink the text to 140 characters.  Surprisingly students struggled trying to do this and keep it in the 140 characters limit.  I also explained and had them include hashtags that would have been used if Twitter existed. 

For the Facebook status, students had to act as if they were participating in the Constitutional Convention and update their friends on what was happening with the Constitution and their thoughts on how it would impact/change the United States.

I found an image of a SMS bubble that you normally see on an iPhone, created my own Twitter update box, and also cut and pasted a Facebook status update.  Some students got really creative with their Facebook statuses and even included the "location" for where they were.

Surprisingly, the buy in to the assignment was not as I expected.  I am coming to the realization that students I teach have not been exposed completely to using technology outside of the classroom and it is a tough adjustment for them.  The interaction online with the blog and Facebook is not nearly the percentage that I thought it would be, and I think a lot of that has to do with students not being comfortable with it and not having exposure to it.  I think it also has to do with the fact that I teacher freshman.  I feel that upperclassmen would probably have more experience and be more open to using it in and outside the classroom.

I am using the Remind101 website for SMS reminders for students, and I do have 5 times as many students signed up during this 12 weeks.

I think I am coming to the realization that the concept of "Digital Natives" might not be as broad as some people might say.  I also know that it is on me as well to figure out how to adjust and encourage use by my students.  Something that I know I need to work on and will figure out as time goes on.

Anyone else integrating technology for the first time, more specifically social media, experiencing struggles?  Anyone having great success, if so, what are you doing that is working for you?


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