A Hangout is a web-based tool created by Google for communicating through video. Up to ten people can "hang out" at one time in a virtual "room." A Hangout can be as simple or as complex as needed for the task at hand. It can be used simply to converse or, through the use of extra apps and add-ons that Google provides, a Hangout can become a robust, virtual meeting space.
I tried to write a single piece on raising digital kids at home -- but childhood is just too epic a journey for a single piece. Still, the overall strategy for technology in the home is the same from birth to high school graduation: match their developmental level, and make sure they understand whatever medium they are using from the inside out: who made this, how does it work, and what does it want from me?
While the schools in our district are not far apart in terms of distance, it is often difficult for them to make connections with each other even though we have the best intentions and we all realize the potential for increased engagement when we do facilitate these experiences. As part of an increased emphasis on technology integration in our district, as well as our mixed device program, we've started using some tools that we have in common to facilitate these connections between classrooms throughout the district.
When I explained the assignment, the classroom erupted in cries and groans. Students in my sophomore “The Individual and Society” course were to spend 48 hours, from 7:00 p.m. Friday to 7:00 p.m. Sunday, without electronic media. The course examines the relationship between the individual and society in three modes: politics, economics, and culture. This was an assignment during the third mode, and we were exploring how electronic media shape an individual’s relation to the larger culture.
I think it's fair to say that Twitter can no longer be dismissed as a trivial passing fad. Though I had dabbled with a personal account, my entire opinion changed when I started my @VideoAmy account and dove in to the conversations educators were engaged in. While some people certainly do tweet about what they're having for breakfast, teachers, administrators, and educational organizations use Twitter in a whole different way -- making smart use of those 140 characters to share resources, wisdom, and inspiration.
On October 22, teachers in our district came together on Twitter under the hashtag #mcvsdDebate. We are a county-wide vocational district with five academies, focusing on math, science and communications. Students are academically talented and apply to their school of choice. They must complete an application and take an entrance exam. Our goal was to work with students beyond the classroom walls as they put their thoughts about the Presidential race into writing. We also wanted to teach them how to use social media to learn from students outside their class.
I recently talked with Lucas Gillispie, an instructional technology coordinator at Pender County Schools in Burgaw, North Carolina. Like Alex Pettyfer, Gillispie sports a beard befitting a Teutonic infantryman at the Battle of Aquae Sextiae or an avatar-warrior in World of Warcraft's (WoW) Dragonblight graveyard. Gillispie seems bemused by the acclaim he has received by incorporating Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplay Games (MMORPG) into the public school curriculum. To his credit, when I talked to him about three of his projects -- WoWinSchool (WoW used with middle school children), Minecraft (used with elementary students), and SAGA (Story and Game Academy) -- Gillispie repeatedly deflected credit from himself to his professional peers and administration. For conciseness, I edited some parts of the interview below.
Editor's Note: Although Kevin Curwick graduated from Osseo Senior High, the Twitter project he started continues to be a source of inspiration from current students. In this post, written when Curwick was a senior, he highlights why he started sending positive tweets to fellow classmates. (Updated 10/2013)
As simple as any introduction, my name is Kevin Curwick, and I am currently a senior at Osseo Senior High in Osseo, Minnesota -- a suburb of the Twin Cities. I have always been involved in my school and, just like many students, I strive to make a difference. I have recently been able to achieve a significant change that has already produced encouraging results.
Social media tools, including Google Tools, Twitter and Facebook, are a dynamic means of locating, applying for, and tracking grant funding. This article outlines specific methods your school can follow to grow its funding base. You can use social media tools to locate, manage, update, track, announce and implement grant funding. Acquiring funding is a relational process. You are communicating your school's story and making connections with grantors who share your values. Leverage your social media tools to improve your chances of engaging these donors.
"Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." -- About Google
Google is the most powerful nonhuman teacher ever known to actual humans. Implicitly and ceaselessly, Google performs formative assessments by collecting the following data: the content, genre and media that interests you most; when and for how long you access your external cloud brain; what your hobbies and routines are; with whom you work and communicate; who will get your November vote; and whether you prefer invigorating clean mint or enamel renewal toothpaste. By continuously refining the nuance of your sociogram, Google has already customized your next web exploration and taught itself to teach.