Saturday, May 14, 2016

Potential Power of Student Center Internal Social Media Networks

On April 18th, I began a journey to open an internal social media network for all my 3rd through 5th grade students.  I have 227 members in this internal network, all of the students, with teachers.  As a connected educator and trying not to be a fake one, should I not try to model this for my students?

Here is a picture of the members number.

It was slow to start and still growing, but we have had over 800 hits in a month.  We have had screencasts, polls, questions, poetry, video, product reviews, sharing of websites, and just random thoughts.  These were all generated by students with no real direction other than it is open to post and some guidance on appropriate and inappropriate content.  

I mean come on, are you really modeling or teaching digital citizenship if you are not living it with "our kids?"  

Are you even a connected educator if you are not doing it with your students?  

You might be a connected person, maybe developed a PLN....

Are you a connected educator if students are not involved?  They are why we are here...

Don't they need to see that connection?  I have many staff that connect through +Schoology with classes in other places or @twitter.  It is really important, for the teachers to connect classes as well and for students to see this modeled.  

Being connected is not about you, it about them.  If it is through an LMS like +Schoology or some other social media site, there needs to be a student presence and leadership.  That is why we are here!

I have a youtube clip on "what's best for kids!"   but I think modeling and living digital citizenship is what is best for them in this medium.  More #edubabble to come soon... 

I feel like I am in the "wild west" of digital citizenship.  The students have full ability to post anything they want, it is not password protected or pre-filtered.  They want to post, they post, we have to monitor it.  Posts have been removed, but they are able to post with no filter.  I did do a very brief intro, but I feel like we learn by doing, and that was the approach here.

Here is our analytics below of usage over the month.  The top is 248 hits in one day.  The bottom is obviously 0 on a few weekend days.  I am looking for a trend to the positive, and am working on those students I know are outspoken to help me.  That spike was a day when I made a school wide announcement to launch this and I got a great response!  

If you are connected and believe in the power of crowd sourcing and you don't have your students on some sort of internal network for sharing, then I suggest you should move there.  Otherwise what are you doing?  Find that medium, even if it is a free LMS.  If you only talk about what you do and don't do what you practice, what are you doing?  

One month in, we are not perfect, but we have traction and it is up to the students to determine whether this is successful!  That is so cool!  And I might encourage them a bit too!  Just as a reminder that they have a voice there!

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