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My 1st year with Social Media in the Classroom

I will start with this statement.  Our class uses and has improved due directly to social media use.  Both as a consumer of other classes and professionals content and as creators of content, the relationships with other classes and professionals have an immediate and direct impact in our class. There have been some very positive results with students that I never would have dreamed up until they happened in my class.

Instagram:

It all started with my student’s work. My student’s have always done amazing work, but the work rarely stays in class very long as they like taking their projects home.  I started taking lots of pictures of student work just so we had a record of the projects being done.  Eventually my phone filled up and I had to find a home for all of these pictures.  I started a photo gallery website, but I found it took too much time to manage, so my phone filled up again.  I purposefully settled on Instagram.  I liked the quick photo based site and hashtag system to start relating our student’s work with other people’s work in the world.  Admittedly, this isn’t the most popular social media platform, but it is still best for our pictures.  That said, many students have now joined instagram for the sole purpose of seeing our classes pictures.  It felt odd trying to get high school students to use more social media.

A few unpredicted things happened from this:

  • I started seeing and communicating with other school’s work and manufacturing companies that were focused on work similar to student’s work.
  • Student’s have a relatable model of professional digital citizenship.
  • I communicated with students about projects outside of class time.
  • Students were more aware of projects happening in other classes.
  • Students were producing better work because they it was going to get shared.
  • Companies that make our equipment and software started commenting proudly of student work.
  • We started using our equipment better due to these professional relationships.
  • People in our own community and school district were more aware of the amazing work our students did.
  • Our skills in CNC routing have helped out other schools and individuals trying to do similar work.

Twitter:

Twitter has been much different for me.  I use this less than Instagram and for different reasons.  I am always trying to better myself as a teacher and trying to stay current in education.  I have found Twitter to be a place where teachers are going to positively chat about education.  It has been the most uplifting experience in education development I have ever had.  I use Twitter as a professional.

Some highlighted experiences with Twitter:

  • I have followed others teachers and administrators experiences at conferences while they live tweet.  I gain knowledge about the subject and purpose of the conference and I gain insight about colleagues I work for and with.
  • I read more educational articles.  Instead of researching articles, other people share great educational articles.  I have been reading a few a day.
  • Shared hashtags create a longer lasting information base.
  • I get more out of conferences I attend.  It has been a great way to comprehend my own thinking as I create a tweet and I have seen what others are sharing at the same conference.
  • I follow new people after conferences, so conferences live on.  I now have a concrete and permanent change in my life after a conference.  The keynote speakers, presenters and other participants keep sharing information on twitter after the conference and this makes the information last a lifetime.
  • There are live chats around the world in education and about a huge variety of educational topics.  I have never learned so much is such a short amount of time.

Here are some screenshots and my thoughts:

Instagram: Here is a student from one class commenting on work from another class.

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Instagram: Here, a student started a machine, but had to go to her next class, so she didn’t get to watch it work it’s 3 hour carving.  She was excited to get the media update.

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Twitter: Here is the Vectric company reaching out to congratulate a student on her great work with the Vectric Software.

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Instagram: Here we are helping out a makerspace and an individual with technical questions about some of our work.

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