I got to visit my old alma mater today, went to UT to visit with some high school journalism advisers at the Reynolds ASNE High School Journalism Institute. I had an hour to talk about the ways I use social media in the classroom. I didn’t want to bombard them with Web Design concepts, since they would have sessions on using the ASNE content management system later in the program. So, I thought I would provide an overview of social media techniques and how they could be used in academic settings, tools that are free and easy to implement. I was only on my 2nd slide, the timeline of milestones in multimedia, when the discussion got derailed regarding social networks. I asked if anyone was on MySpace or Facebook. I think a couple of people out of 32 raised their hands. This led to a discussion of their fear of using those sites, due to potential liability across a variety of issues. Since I am not a high school teacher, nor am I an attorney, I didn’t have much solid advice to give them that would dispel their fears. I emphasized that knowing about these spaces is much better than not knowing, and finding ways to use them (and others) might help them understand their appeal. I agree with one of the participants who stated, at the end of my talk, that it is important for us to communicate these technologies to students in a way that does not make them fearful, but makes them feel empowered in their usage.
When things got back on track, I continued with my presentation, that is embedded below. I showed how I used blogs in different settings (coverage of actual event, blogging about class discussions on my tech blog, classroom blog assignments, personal site), how I kept up with technology via RSS feeds, and how I created a social network for my former students. My goal was to provide a brief overview of a wide range of tools, with hopes that each person might find one that would be of interest to them. The presentation went quickly, but I hope the handouts provide them access to resources to explore further on their own.
Here’s the presentation I gave, using Slideshare to embed. BTW, this is the first time I’ve tried Slideshare, heard about it last week from a TX State colleague. It was very easy to use, upload a powerpoint and it hosts it and allows you to embed in a blog post. Always trying new things…
Also, I was trying to show how to grab the Embed code from YouTube at the end of my presentation, but the Internet connection was running too slow. Here is a screenshot from a YouTube video page. You can see the Embed box. Copy that code and paste it into your Blogger blog. Just remember to press the Edit HTML button before you insert it. You won’t actually see the video until you Preview or Publish the post. WordPress uses a different method to embed video.
Many thanks to the teachers for their attention and comments during the presentation.