The Chronicle of Higher Education posted a very interesting article in their Wired Campus tech blog a few days ago on Snapchat. What is Snapchat you ask? Ask a teenager, and they’ll tell you that you send photos that disappear after 10 or less seconds. Ask anyone above 25, and it’s that app with a little ghost. Ask Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, and it’s a punch in the face. Just last year (November 2013), Zuckerberg offered $3 billion to buy Snapchat, which was turned down. I know, right!? Who would turn down $3 billion? Especially with the founders being 23 and 25 at the time! But, they believe their product, Snapchat, has way more potential than $3 billion, and so do all the teenagers running from Facebook to Snapchat. Check out this pie graph of how many photos are shared daily on Snapchat compared to Facebook and Instagram…I do not blame the University of Houston for adopting Snapchat as a medium for reaching their current and prospective students. It just makes sense. Teenagers and young adults are using less of Facebook, and more of Snapchat to communicate. So why not go to them? Like I said, I’m fresh out of undergrad and currently working on my master’s degree—I’m a millennial. If Snapchat was around when I was searching for colleges, I would definitely be drawn to a school that was sending me snaps. That would tell me that this university understands me, understands my generation…and this would be a place that I would be understood. After all, that’s all kids want nowadays, to be understood.
I’ve heard many names for my generation: Generation Y, which I think is boring; Millennials, getting a little more interesting; Net Generation; Echo Boomers; Generation Next; and so on. But my favorite, and what I think describes Millennials better is the ‘Netflix Generation’. You could also call it the ‘Netflix Age’ as Generation Z will also be lumped into having instant access and gratification of streaming videos. I read a very interesting article last month on how to engage the Netflix Generation: 5 Strategies For Engaging The Netflix Generation.
Number 2 on Beloit’s Class of 2018 List says, “Since [students from the Class of 2018] binge-watch their favorite TV shows, they might like to binge-watch the video portions of their courses too.” And Netflix is largely to thank for this. I just read an extremely interesting and exciting article just last week from Netflix Hack Week. Netflix made an awesome virtual reality interface for the Oculus Rift.
I consider myself part of the Netflix Generation. I love watching and consuming video, especially from Netflix. Also from my iPhone thanks to YouTube, Vimeo, Twitter, and Facebook. It’s always there. I can always find a really engaging video to explain something or a great story to get lost in. And that’s how education needs to be. These students need to get lost in the videos of lectures. Educational videos need to be engaging, creative, and “binge-capable”. It used to be students would “cram” the night before a big test. Maybe the future is that students will “binge watch” their class videos the night before a big test. This may not be the education we need, but it’s a step toward a 21st century education.
Google +, Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Hangouts, Google Communities — Which of these savvy, trendy Google tools do you use in your classroom? I have become somewhat of a fan boy of Google for Education (don’t tell my iPhone, or iPad…or MacBook Pro). These tools provide easy collaboration and friendly, intuitive design interfaces, both on the computer and mobile. And now, Google is introducing Classroom, coming in August 2014!!
Daily Genius just published a sneak peek at the new Google Classroom. And it looks awesome! Google basically designed a virtual classroom for teachers and their students to digitally gather in one place and use all of those awesome Google tools in “one cohesive online environment”. I am excited about this.
Here’s to hoping one of my future graduate classes (in educational technology) experiments and uses Google Classroom!
My learning philosophy from 10 weeks ago hasn’t changed much. I chose to begin my video with a quote from Williams Butler Yeats, which also happens to be the first thing I wrote in my Personal Learning Philosophy v1. “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” This idea is extremely important to me and resonates with me on many levels. I mentioned before that my early educational experiences were mainly “filling of a pail”. Pretty boring. It almost feels like a chore. “Son, go and fetch some water!” No thanks. But when that switch turned, and I became excited about learning, something sparked inside of me. From that moment on, I was all about feeding my fire of learning. I started with this because it takes passion and excitement to get to this point where learning becomes fuel to your fire. When you can infuse excitement, passion, and relevancy into education, that is how you create engagement in learners.
I would have to say that my ideas around learning and education are in perfect alignment with John Seely Brown’s “The Global One-Room Schoolhouse” Vimeo video from his “Entrepreneurial Learner” keynote at DML2012. He talks about play as a “kind of a permission to fail, fail, fail, again and get it right.” I feel that this is incredibly important to give students a permission to fail, to give them an environment where they feel safe to question the status quo or even the teacher’s expertise. He later says in the video that “the key part of play is a space of safety and permission.” Brown also talks about epiphanies.
If we can create one epiphany for one child, that epiphany lasts for life for that kid. Brilliant teachers are brilliant in being able to create epiphanies for kids. How do we think about that? And how do we use play as a way to amplify the chance for that to happen.
What if every teacher’s goal was to create an epiphany for each one of their students? Maybe some teachers do strive for this. But I’m willing to be that this isn’t even on the radar of the majority of teachers. I want to cover two last quotes from Brown in his video:
In a world of constant change, if you don’t feel comfortable tinkering, you’re going to feel an amazing state of anxiety.
I love this idea because it’s so true. Everything around us is in a constant state of flux, and if you can’t adapt and be able to tinker with new technologies, it’s going to be a tough world. If we are teaching our students to tinker, to play, to be curious, we are teaching them to adapt to change. I wrote about the PlayMaker School in LA in a recent post. This is a great school that is really pushing the boundaries of what education is and how kids learn. If you haven’t heard about it, check it out!
And to close, Brown’s idea of taking the one-room schoolhouse idea of yesterday and mixing it with today’s classroom and technology to get the “global one-room schoolhouse” where “the teacher [isn’t] transferring knowledge, but the teacher [will act] as a coach, a will turn around and also teach the younger younger kids.” This is how the one-room schoolhouse operated. Why couldn’t we have a global one-room schoolhouse today? With social media and web 2.0 tools, this is absolutely feasible.
What will tomorrow’s classroom look like? How will it operate? What if tomorrow’s classroom partnered with a classroom from the other side of the world, every day? Now that would be cool.
This week I sat down with a practitioner of Web 2.0 tools in education. I interviewed Brittany Spayd, a 10th grade English teacher at Central Cambria High School. I was very curious when initially speaking with Brittany because she uses several web 2.0 tools for her personal educational planning, however, her students do not use web 2.0 tools as much as she would like in the classroom due to barriers from the school being old. We dive into this issue more in the podcast. Enjoy and please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below!
*I used a program called Soundtrack Pro to record and edit this podcast.
Let me start off my saying Flickr is outdated, or at least so I thought. I have never used Flickr nor have I had any interest in using this medium. I grew up with the cliché stereotype that Flickr was for girls and photographers. Now that I am a videographer, I know that photographers rarely use this site and girls gravitate toward Tumblr more. After reading “Pedagogical Uses of Flickr” by Jennifer Chu and Erik Van Dusen in 2008, I still wasn’t sold. Everything they described in that article, Pinterest does better, at least in my opinion. Pinterest is more popular, more versatile, and provides more options to spark creativity. However, after looking into Flickr a little further, I discovered that Flickr now gives everyone a terabyte of free storage. That was enough to spark my interest. I signed up for Flickr using my already created Yahoo email, which was simple enough, and lone behold, 1 free terabyte of storage! I was impressed by the revamped structure and usability of Flickr. I still believe Pinterest is has far more versatile in the classroom, but I will admit that there could be potential for picture blogging and digital storytelling. Chu and Dusen acknowledge that Flickr “allows students to explore the world around them from the comfort of their own classroom and home through photographs.” Eh, I’m sure it does. But so does Pinterest. And now Instagram. And Twiiter, and Facebook, and so on. I understand this article was written in 2008 and back then, Flickr was a great medium for exploring the world through your computer. But due to the ridiculous growth of new social media platforms, that has since lost its touch. The last thing I would like to touch on from C&D Flickr’s article is in the closing statement. They quoted Will Richardson in saying, “using web applications such as Flickr in educational settings carries some risks and it is usually the teacher’s job to teach students what is safe to post in terms of safety and privacy.” I bring this up because I feel it relates to the conversation that was sparked from Joe’s blog 4, Networked Teacher, about privacy. There is a big risk that comes with using Web 2.0 tools in educational environments, especially for children. This is why it is important for the teacher to first explore these tools and become familiar with them first, before employing them in the classroom, as Richardson and Mancabelli point out in “Becoming a Networked Learner” chapter in their book Personal Learning Networks: Using the Power of Connections to Transform Education.
It’s not enough to employ these tools and technologies with our students; we have to employ them in our own learning practice. Otherwise, nothing changes. The vast majority of classroom uses of blogs, for example, are little more than taking what has already been done on paper for eons and publishing it in a different medium. In these cases, nothing has changed because the person at the front of the room (or in the front office) doesn’t understand that a blog is not simply about publishing; it’s about connecting. The great opportunity these tools provide is that they allow us to interact with others out there, but it’s an opportunity that’s meaningful only if we experience the full potential that exists in those interactions. (34)
This is crucial to understand. I fear that if we do not introduce Web 2.0 tools such as blogging to our students, we are limiting developing their personal learning networks and their education. But if we understand the tools, understand the risks, and give students the option to make these connections and interactions, it could be a game-changer.
Another game-changer that are not used even remotely enough as they should be, are podcasts. Most of my experiences with podcasts come from me subscribing to Happy Tree Friends and the Best of YouTube on my first iPod, not even close to being educational. But as you can see like any other Web 2.0 tool, podcasts are used for many more purposes than just education. I have had only one experience with podcasts in an educational environment, and that came last semester in Design Studio (LDT 550). We used Flipgrid to virtually introduce ourselves and to play around with a new edtech tool. You could argue that Flipgrid isn’t exactly a podcast, but I agree…and disagree. I would say it falls under the podcast umbrella, but just like other Web 2.0 tools, they are constantly evolving and transforming to fit the needs of this world. In an article posted in the British Journal of Educational Technology, “Educational usages of podcasting“, Howard Harris and Sungmin Park say that podcasting “has become a means of communication and dialogue between teachers and students.” Flipgrid allowed us (the students of LDT 550) and the professor to asynchronously communicate via a short video clip. The professor created our “Flipgrid classroom” and posted a question. We then answered the question with a short video that anyone in the class could view at any time, and respond with another video. As Harris and Sungmin point out in their conclusion, “podcasting enables direct communication and interaction with students which go beyond the temporal and spatial limitations of conventional face-to-face education.” This is exactly what Flipgrid did for our classroom. LDT 550 was not an online course. We met once a week in a classroom; however, we used tools such as Flipgrid, Google Hangouts, Adobe Connect, and even Second Life to push the boundaries of our classroom experience.
Want to create your own podcast? Check out my podcasting resources under my links page!
Hi, I’m Zach Lonsinger and I am enrolled in the Learning, Design, and Technology master’s program through the Penn State World Campus. I work as an Education Program Assistant for Penn State Continuing Education and will soon be merging with World Campus PP&M (Program Planning & Management). My role is working with the colleges within Penn State on obtaining approvals and then working with each individual faculty member in creating their course and publishing it to the Schedule of Courses for students to register for.
I use a lot of Web 2.0 tools, both professionally and personally. Professionally, I work with Survey Monkey, an online survey tool, and Basecamp, an online project management tool. I also work with a few internal systems, one being Destiny One. It is a tool used by World Campus to manage both credit and non-credit courses, including details about the course to instructor information to budgets to student information to textbooks and final exams. I also work with a handful of other systems designed for Penn State, including ANGEL Course Management System and eLion. Personally, I am a social media guru. I am an frequent poster on Reddit. I’m always on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. I manage multiple accounts, including being a page moderator for Christian Memes.
Throughout the semester, I hope to learn more about Web 2.0 tools and how they can be effectively used in classroom learning as well as online learning.