Category Archives: Articles

Social Bookmarking

I came across a review of different social bookmarking tools that I thought I would share.

8 Simple Tools for Better Bookmarking by Adam DuVander.

The author mentions an upcoming Twine and predicts that this social bookmarking site will be at the top of next year’s list. I think that this site bears looking into . . . (Of course which I am more than happy to investigate.)

Article about Blogging

In the October 2008 online version of Campus Technology, there was an article about common mistakes professors make in using blogs with students. My first reaction was, “Well, duh!” But then, I retracted my initial thought.

If a professor has experience with blogging, this article would not be very beneficial. However, if he does not have any personal experience with blogging, this would be a good article for him to read. I especially support what the author said about learning outcomes — which boils down to the fact that the professor needs to have a clear idea what the student learning outcomes are and how blogging ties into the outcomes.

I wholeheartedly support the idea of having a grading rubric if a blog is to be graded. Otherwise, how would a student know what was expected? Or how would she be able to determine if her blogging was what the professor expected?

The author briefly discusses the need for adequate time for students to complete their blogging post. She suggested that the tool be left open till the end of the course. I think there needs to be parameters around this issue of time.

If students are graded on their blogging and there is not some sort of a deadline, students might wait until the very last moment of the semester to post on their blog. Doing assignments at the last moment possible is quite typical. How is a student supposed to grow and learn and improve their constructive thinking if they wait until just before the final was given to write something. Those posts would not be well thought out nor would the be well crafted.

I would suggest that deadlines be given throughout the semester for the posts. This will ensure students will respond in a timely fashion (instead of waiting until the last of the semester). Hopefully quality of posts will be better. Hopefully posts will be pertinent to in-class discussions. And (hopefully) the professor won’t be inundated with grading all the posts at the end of the semester when there are term papers and finals to grade.

Two Different Uses of Social Media

Before I share the two interesting uses of social media that I’ve read about today, I want to mention Google News.  For work, I was browsing the ‘More Google Products page. I thought I would take a moment to check out Google News.  (It searches 4,500 news sources that are updated continuously.)  It was pretty slick.  If you’re interested in searching just for news, Google News would be much better than just plain Google.

I typed in “social media” +education.  (The quote marks around the two words tell the search engine to find only web pages that have those two words next to each other.   Otherwise, it would return pages that had the word ‘social’ and pages that contained the word ‘media’ and not necessarily pages with the phrase ‘social media.’  The plus sign means also include pages that include the word education.)

Now for the interesting uses of social  media.

The Ad Council, the leading producer of public service announcements, is teaming up with Deep Focus, an interactive marketing agency, to create widgets for the Ad Council’s ads on Facebook or Myspace. (Read the article here.) The widget will track in real time Facebook or MySpace  users who support the the Ad Council’s causes.  The Ad Council hopes that those using their widgets will encourage their friends to use the widget who will in turn encourage their friends so everybody can literally watch the network of supporters grow.

The other news story told how Universities are using social media to recruit new students. The article claimed that high school graduates will be declining after this year and thus college enrollments will be declining, too, as a result.  To combat this, universities are using social media to compete for those prospective students.

Texas A&M has a Facebook page that allows people to become a fan.  Then, the university can ‘reach out’ to those prospective students  (The article didn’t specify what reaching out entailed.)

My definition of the use of social media in education had been focused mainly on what happened in the classroom.  These two articles expanded my view of how social media could be used.

If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em

Is this a case of administration giving up the battle against cell phones in a classroom?

But, from a student point of view, what’s wrong with cell phones in the classroom — if used in an accountable and acceptable manner.

The Salt Lake Tribune has an article about schools fighting this losing battle.  The article mentions an English teacher incorporating text messaging into her assignments and lessons.  Is this best practices? I think I’d have to learn more about what the teacher is doing . . .

NYC Gives Middle School Student Cell Phones

I just came from a very interesting web seminar on mobile learning.  In the seminar, the presenter mentioned that New York City is giving over a million cell phones to middle school students as a learning initiative.  Here is a link to that article.

Here are 3 (of the many) interesting points in this article:

  • Students can earn ‘talk time’ minutes or ring tones by completing homework, getting good grades, and participating in class.
  • Students will be set up with a successful professional mentor who will help model that a middle-class life is desirable.
  • Cell phones were banned in class in the NYC school system in 2006.  (This must mean that the cell phones will not be used as a learning device in class . . .)