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Social Media for Education: Getting started with Social Media

Social Media & Education by www.sayfun.me & www.nomadteacher.org // facebook.com/SaschaFunk


Social Media for Education: Getting started with Social Media

Social Media & Education by www.sayfun.me & www.nomadteacher.org // facebook.com/SaschaFunk

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Social Media for Education: Getting started with Social Media

What is Social Media!

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Social Media & Education!

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Social Media & Education: Brief guide to jump-start!

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1.) Facebook!

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2.) Twitter!

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3.) Google Plus!

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4.) Youtube!

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5.) Foursquare!

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6.) Edmodo!

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7.) Own Blog!

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8.) Skype!

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Using Facebook for Teaching!

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Friendship!

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Keeping the friendship in borders!

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Lists!

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Facebook Groups!

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Facebook Fanpages!

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Content is King!

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Own Website / Blog!

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Short introduction and differentiation!

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Setting up a  website / blog!

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Design.!

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Features!

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Content is King!

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Types of content!

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Maintenance!

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Further purposes!

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How to spice our website up!

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Social Media & Education by www.sayfun.me & www.nomadteacher.org // facebook.com/SaschaFunk

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Social Media for Education: Getting started with Social Media

Twitter for Teaching!

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For those who don始t know Twitter!

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How to use twitter for teaching purposes!

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Enhancing technical abilities!

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Away from the obvious!

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Youtube for Teaching!

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Show your web presence!

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Group your videos!

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Theme your videos!

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Spice up your videos!

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Copyright Infringement!

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Interaction - How to use videos?!!

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Benefits vs. Workload!

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Google+ !

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Foursquare!

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Edmodo!

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& more!

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Short Tips to keep the frustration down!

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Educate your students!

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Safety first!

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Be aware of the dangers - embrace the advantages!

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Examples: How to combine teaching and social media!

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Videos: Singing!

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Videos: Short Stories!

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Article Writing: Short Stories / Reviews / Essays!

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English Communication Scavenger Hunt (EC|SH - #ECSH)!

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Ressources!

Social Media & Education by www.sayfun.me & www.nomadteacher.org // facebook.com/SaschaFunk

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Social Media for Education: Getting started with Social Media

What is Social Media Before we talk about Social Media, letʼs just get clear about what we understand when using the term ʻsocial mediaʼ. Social Media consists, obviously, of two words. Social and Media. When we take a look at each of these two words then we come to understand that social means some form of ʻsharingʼ or ʻinteractingʼ with others. Being ʻsocialʼ means to care about other people, to discuss, to exchange. ʻMediaʼ on the other hands means visualization. If you want, media is the toolset that visualizes your messages, your interaction with others, your exchange. Old media examples are the TV or the radio or, if we take it to the classroom, the whiteboard / blackboard and the overhead projector. All those kinds of media help to deliver the intended message in a visual, more understandable way. Social Media now combines those two above mentioned words and puts them together in one, new & interesting format. Social Media includes Social Networks and Social Services. While we will talk about the difference of networks and services later, the main purposes is the same. Letting people interact with each other via the world wide web. While talking about Social Media I suppose everybody reading this eBook already knows what social media is, its roots, purpose and the big players in the industry. So I will not talk to much about that. However, if you feel in the need for catching up on the latest Social Media Industry news and updates, feel free to check my facebook Fanpage (http://facebook.com/SaschaFunk) regularly. Over the past years Social Media has developed on an incredibly fast pace and is nowadays part of everyday life. Just take a look at the young or younger people outside in the bus, train or at a concert, shopping mall, zoo or other events...most of them use their smartphones to record videos, post them to facebook, send status messages to twitter, check in on foursquare and so on. There is no doubt left that Social Media dominates when it comes to common spare time activities among students. No matter at what age. The use might slightly differ, but the place where they spend their time is the same - the social web. Now that we are probably on the same page about the understanding of social media it is about time to realize that Social Media is more than a ʻwaste of timeʼ or just a common place for young (and young minded) people to gather, hang out and Social Media & Education by www.sayfun.me & www.nomadteacher.org // facebook.com/SaschaFunk

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Social Media for Education: Getting started with Social Media

relax). It is a place of interaction, exchange and - of course - education. As we all know comforting atmospheres help to increase learning and understanding - so why shouldnʼt we use the comforting zone of the social web to educate and teach our students - right where they like to spend a lot of their time anyway?

Social Media & Education Social Media & Education do, despite many doubts, fit perfectly together. As mentioned above, Social Media is THE space where young people like to hang out and spend their time anyways. Itʼs the modern days shopping mall (well many students actually spend their time on social networks while they are in actual shopping malls - so itʼs more the shopping mall to go). What we have to understand is that Social Media does not always happen at home in front of an old-school PC but more often on the mobile phone (e.g. iPhone), tablet (e.g. iPad) or notebook. Furthermore, if students sit at home in front of their PC, they are not very likely to read through endless electronic books (like you do right now), posts or publications using them like school books. Why not? It is boring and distraction is just one click away. When you went to school and read a school book at home when your friend kicked the football against your door - what did you do? Staying at home or going out playing some ball? Right! You then had to study when you came back, your friend was tired or your mom told you to. However, nowadays, friends are never tired. Well, they are actually, but there is always a friend who just woke up and isnʼt tired. The world wide web connects everyone. You - and students, are never alone and therefore distraction is always around the corner - there is ALWAYS a boy with a football waiting to play and to keep students away from studying. While this fact gets many teacher and parents on the page of forbidding social media use that is, of course, not the solution. What did you do when your parents told you not to go out and play ball while they were away? Exactly, you played! So now imagine what students do when you try to forbid them using social media and the internet? And with mobile phones and internet cafes everywhere they wouldnʼt even have to sneak out or work hard for it - social media access is everywhere! So letʼs try to find another approach. Instead of fighting we, teachers, should try to make learning and studying fun and interesting while using social media. Obviously most subjects can not compare with youtube videos or online games but, if we put Social Media & Education by www.sayfun.me & www.nomadteacher.org // facebook.com/SaschaFunk

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Social Media for Education: Getting started with Social Media

a little effort in it, we might be able to gain students attention long enough to teach some important messages, make them understand the importance of studying different subjects and even get them started to like what they are doing / learning. Social Media & Education, Teachers & Students - It始s not supposed to be a fight, it始s supposed to be a friendly, fun and interactive relationship. During the following chapters you will find explanations of the most common social media sites and how to use them for teaching purposes as well as some hands on examples right out of my classrooms. I hope you始ll enjoy the ride, try it yourself and let me know what you did, how you did it and what your outcome finally was. Happy social teaching!

Social Media & Education by www.sayfun.me & www.nomadteacher.org // facebook.com/SaschaFunk

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Social Media for Education: Getting started with Social Media

Social Media & Education: Brief guide to jump-start After my blog post about Facebook & Teaching I received quite a lot of mails asking for more examples and advice on how to use Social Media for teaching purposes. While I am currently writing on further in depth posts on how to use some of the well known social media platforms I thought it might also be a good idea to get a post out that doesnʼt get to much into detail but shows some of the current highlights of social networks in terms of educational implementation possibilities. Having that said I hope everyone understands that this is just thought as an overview. The more specific posts to each of these social networks are coming soon.

1.) Facebook First place in our little journey across social media plattforms is, of course, Facebook. Kind of a no-brainer since Facebook is still THE fastest growing Social Network worldwide and the number one Social Network in most countries. If you are interested in an in-depth analysis on how to use facebook for teaching purposes, please read the next chapter of this eBook or follow the link to my published article about exactly this matter: Social Media & Education: Facebook for Teaching. In short: Facebook is great because most students already are there! They generally know how to use it (mostly for fun of course though) and they feel comfortable sharing and interacting with content on facebook. So the ʻthis is new, I donʼt know how to use itʼ time wouldnʼt apply here. Furthermore facebook offers you a variety of possibilities to interact with students. You can use facebook groups for closed interaction, host videos, share documents, uses pages for a brighter audience and let students maintain these or interact with them on your personal profile. While I totally support this kind of multi-communication structure I understand as well that there are many teachers who simply want their freedom as soon as they leave class. Even for those facebook makes it quite easy. If you know how to use your privacy settings it is no problem to only share and interact in a way you feel comfortable. Social Media & Education by www.sayfun.me & www.nomadteacher.org // facebook.com/SaschaFunk

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Social Media for Education: Getting started with Social Media

The negative aspect with facebook. What you post on facebook stays there (well thatʼs actually the case with most places in the internet). Even if you delete it, it might stay there for a while. It wonʼt be available via your site or link, but it still is somewhere ʻin the internetʼ. However, as mentioned, thatʼs the case almost everywhere.

2.) Twitter Twitter is nowadays also a widely known Social Network across students. While many of them still only use it as a kind of chat (which isnʼt actually the true power of twitter) it offers you another possibility of interacting with your students (in depth post soon to come!). Twitter enables you to connect to your students in a more ʻanonymousʼ way. There are no big status updates, no profiles that change their relationship status every second day. It is basically only about sharing short (140 characters) messages and thoughts. Therefore it is ideal for discussions (you can adress messages directly and tag them so that others can join the conversation). Furthermore it is useful for sharing your assignments, useful articles, book tips, etc. without getting to much into the private life (that normally happens on facebook) of your students. Furthermore you donʼt need to ʻfollowʼ (adding on twitter) your students. It is enough that they add you. Nobody stops you from adding them though. In depth post ʻSocial Media & Education: Twitter for Teachingʼ in chapter three.

3.) Google Plus Google Plus is the new guy in our social media class. It was launched by google in 2011 and is considered by many people as direct competitor to facebook. In my opinion however there are some significant differences. Besides that fact that you, of course, can Social Media & Education by www.sayfun.me & www.nomadteacher.org // facebook.com/SaschaFunk

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Social Media for Education: Getting started with Social Media

manage a profile, add people to your circles (what you can achieve on facebook when ordering people into lists). Obviously you can also send messages, write on profiles, share pictures and videos and so on. An improvement to facebook however is the video chat function (called ʻhangoutʼ). While facebook, right now, only offers one to one video chats, google plus lets you ʻhang outʼ with as many people as you like. That is a very neat move and enables you to offer very interactive classes with students and teachers in different places at the same time (you have to figure out by yourself why this could be good for your class). Furthermore it eases teamwork up. So if you are having assignments where teamwork comes into play, you might suggest google plus (as add on googleʼs free service ʻgoogle documentsʼ) as tool of choice. In depth post ʻSocial Media & Education: Google Plus & Teachingʼ in chapter four.

4.) Youtube Supposing most of you are already using youtube to watch videos once in a while I can keep this one short. Using videos for your classes can be of great help. It is not only entertaining and lets students repeat your stuff over and over again on their own pace, it also urges students to interact and be creative. After setting up your own channel you can divide videos into different lists (see screenshots), promote further sites of yours and – one thing I like very much – you can edit videos quite nicely. For editing you donʼt need much video editing knowledge since it is quite easy to follow the steps youtube suggests. With these editing possibilities your videos can get even more engaging and interactive (e.g. if you use annotations and links). Moreover, if you are afraid to show yourself or your teaching material online to the world, you can adjust your video settings the way that only you and the people you invite (or the ones that have the link) can see your videos. All power stays with you. So why donʼt you just give it a try? Another nice thing by the way: Videos can be embedded into other social networks quite easily. So youtube is a nice add on to all the other networks mentioned here. (of course there are other video hosting platforms, I just stuck to youtube since it is the most popular). In-depth post about teaching & youtube in chapter five.

Social Media & Education by www.sayfun.me & www.nomadteacher.org // facebook.com/SaschaFunk

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Social Media for Education: Getting started with Social Media

5.) Foursquare Finally a Social Service that most of you havenʼt been expecting I guess. Foursquare. For those of you who arenʼt familiar with it: Foursquare works similar to ʻFacebook Placesʼ. You use it via your mobile phone and GPRS. It allows you to ʻcheck inʼ in public places or to create your own places where others can ʻcheck inʼ. Saying this some of the opportunities that lie within foursquare might already come to your mind. Paper-chases or scavenger hunts for example. Furthermore foursquare allows to hand ʻbadgesʼ or other rewards to users. This means you, as user, can earn rewards for checking repeatedly in the same place. Might be a further point of interest for your class. For further ideas on how to use foursquare and more services you probably havenʼt thought about, read chapter six.

6.) Edmodo Edmodo is the only Network mentioned here that has itʼs main aim in providing teachers and students with social media related study possibilities. However I have to say that I only used it for a short time now since it is not very famous over here and I usually donʼt want to ʻforceʼ my students to join another network. I usually try to stick to networks they know and like. If you make them use more and more networks thatʼs like making them read books they donʼt want to read. In this way you might take the fun out of using the internet for studies. However edmodo gained quite some reputation among teachers online so it should be mentioned here. It looks like a facebook clone (even the colors are the same) and allows you as teacher to manage different groups (grades) of students, create assignments & discussions and use the network to store further information and communicate with your students. There are a few more networks that aim on student & teacher relations but as mentioned above I am not a big fan of forcing students into something. However, if there is enough time, I will give some of those services a try and post the outcome in an updated version on my blog and in an updated eBook version. Social Media & Education by www.sayfun.me & www.nomadteacher.org // facebook.com/SaschaFunk

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Social Media for Education: Getting started with Social Media

7.) Own Blog This is now by far the option that needs the most maintenance and has the biggest set-up process involved. Even if you have a ʻcomputer guyʼ helping you out with setting everything up you still need to understand how the website works and how to use the backend. Speaking from my personal experience it is however worth the work. With a own website / blog you can motivate students to write own articles and publish them to a wide audience. Furthermore using a blog or website with a CMS (Content Management System) will enable students to get used to this kind of backend and prepare them for using systems like this in the future (depending on the field you are teaching this might be from importance). Finally it is also a nice place to publish videos (we talked about youtube earlier) or further assignments. Telling students that their work will be accessible online on the ʻofficialʼ website or blog of your school / college / uni should add some extra motivation. A post about how I use our own website / blog for teaching (e.g. getting to used to use CMS, write articles, cross-media posting, etc.) can be found in chapter seven.

8.) Skype Another entry many might not have been expected. Skype is not a social network of course, but a social media related service. Skype enables you to add people to your address book and chat with them (like msn live messenger, icq, aim, etc.). The strength of skype however does not lie in the chat function, it lies in the ʻtelephoneʼ and ʻvideo chatʼ function. Unlike facebook it offers, similar to google+, the possibility of conference calls. This means you can chat (talk!) with many different participants at the same time. Furthermore it offers the option to ʻshareʼ your computer screen. This means your chat partner can see your screen and what you are doing. This is, obviously, a great feature for studies. Using this you can show live how to complete different tasks without being present at the same time. This adds a completely new form of flexibility to your teaching and Social Media & Education by www.sayfun.me & www.nomadteacher.org // facebook.com/SaschaFunk

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Social Media for Education: Getting started with Social Media

consulting possibilities. Skype will be featured in the post I already announced when talking about foursquare. So if you are interested, make sure to check out chapter six. Once more, this short introduction is only thought as brief overview for you to jumpstart if you really can始t wait to read the in-depth posts and are more the 驶I read the manual after I screwed up始 kind of guy (no offence, I am that myself quite often). However do not blame me if you got burned while playing with the social media fire. But I always encourage trial & error. So feel free to give it a try and come back here later. Or finish what you started and head well prepared to the battlefield. As long as you are trying it at all, I am happy.

Social Media & Education by www.sayfun.me & www.nomadteacher.org // facebook.com/SaschaFunk

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Social Media for Education: Getting started with Social Media

Using Facebook for Teaching Social Media is definitely a huge field with numerous possibilities to interact or getting started. However facebook somehow simply is the one network which is widely known as ʻthe social networkʼ or even ʻthe internetʼ. So it seemed quite reasonable for me to start my series ʻUsing Social Media for Educationʻ with facebook as first example. I simply assume that most of you know facebook and already are there (active or passive). If this isnʼt the case please feel free to head over to my ʻSocial Media Explainedʼ section and explore facebookʼs possibilites in general. But enough with the preface, let us start with the conversation. However, before getting into examples and best practices, let us get rid of the thought that facebook is bad and the origin of all evil. I already discussed whether social media is good or bad in terms of teaching & studies, letʼs not start this discussion again (if so, please in the comments section beneath the post mentioned above) and assume that facebook is not developed by the devil himself (even though I wouldnʼt put my shirt on it – however itʼs not the root of all evil). Here is a short informational graphic that demonstrates what I just said.

facebook & teaching. a tag team with potential.

Hopefully we can now agree on the point that facebook itself is not bad, the amount of the usage on the other hand, of course, can be damaging. But now, finally, facebook & teaching. How, why, when, what?

Social Media & Education by www.sayfun.me & www.nomadteacher.org // facebook.com/SaschaFunk

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Social Media for Education: Getting started with Social Media

There are many  different approaches of course and I will try to have a look at most of them. If you feel like there is something missing, please comment. I am always happy to get to know new perspectives.

Friendship The first way to interact with facebook might be the ʻeasiestʼ way but could also turn out to be the most difficult one on a long run. Telling students your private facebook account and accepting friend requests from students. This does not sound like a lot of work at first but will eventually turn exactly into that. Once you started to accept friend requests from students you have to stick with it. You have to be unbiased and accept EVERY student who has any relation whatsoever with you. You canʼt just add your ʻfavoriteʼ students and ignore the others. Furthermore having students among your friends makes it pretty much a 24/7 job (as long as you donʼt adjust some settings – which I will show you shortly). Students will always be able to communicate with you. Even at night, on weekends, during holidays, etc. While I teach many communication related subjects I urge students to talk and communicate as much as possible and I am always glad when students are ʻbraveʼ enough to talk to me outside the classroom. However it sometimes becomes quite exhausting. That is part of the game though and you have to be aware of that possibility.

Keeping the friendship in borders

facebook lists help to organize and keep track of your students Social Media & Education by www.sayfun.me & www.nomadteacher.org // facebook.com/SaschaFunk

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Social Media for Education: Getting started with Social Media

Like mentioned above, having many students among your friends can make student communication a full-time and 24/7 job. If you want to avoid the persistent presence for your students, there are some drifts to achieve this.   Lists First and foremost I suggest you create lists for your students. Lists are ʻcategoriesʼ in which you can divide your friends. As soon as you accept a friend request on facebook you can select the lists (multiple are possible) in which you want to move your new friend. I for example move all my students into the list ʻawesome studentsʼ. Since I work with further separation methods (I will show you later) this is enough for me (however I add them to other lists, which contain not only students, as well in order to accelerate communication – but thatʼs my personal thing). If you wish to divide even further you could also create lists like ʻhotel management studentsʼ or ʻfirst year studentsʼ or whatever feels convenient for you. When you classify (that doesnʼt sound nice, but it helps) your students into different lists you can easily choose whether you let them see everything on your facebook page or if they are only allowed to see certain things. This can all be done within your privacy settings (a section you should be quite familiar with when you want to use facebook with a larger audience). Simply choose the ʻcustomʼ menu point and select the lists that you want to block from seeing your information or the lists which you want to enable to see all your shared stuff.

customize your facebook posts to control whether students can see it or not Social Media & Education by www.sayfun.me & www.nomadteacher.org // facebook.com/SaschaFunk

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Social Media for Education: Getting started with Social Media

A similar customization can be achieved when posting status updates. You can choose with every post (except when you are using third-party providers, like tweetdeck or others, to update your status – those applications will usually use your ʻdefaultʼ settings) who will be able to see it and who wonʼt. As you can see it is quite easy to ʻhideʼ from your students if you really want to. Nevertheless I am a big fan of sharing and interacting with my students. I usually share most things with them since it is quite fun and interesting to talk about more different topics and not only about class related things. Communication about fun things, every day stuff or personal matters are usually way more intense and provide an incredible high learning value due to the high motivation behind the communication. This was the ʻeasyʼ part in terms of preparation. ʻSimplyʼ becoming friends with your students. As you already may have guessed, there are some more possibilites to interact and accelerate interaction with students. One of those possibilities is the creation of a facebook group.  

Facebook Groups Facebook groups have many features like sharing documents, videos and pictures with all members as well as group chats with online members. Therefore such a group is perfect to share more specific information and to urge more interaction. To give you only one example: I run a group for my current communication students. Since a lot of students (former students or random students from the college who are not in my class) added me on facebook, I invite my actual students into this group. In this group I will post links to current presentations I used in class, polls (good way to interact and to give students the chance to ʻdecideʼ) or simply short reminders about tests and homework. Furthermore groups enable students to post and share homework (e.g. videos) with their friends and exchange information, questions and knowledge with classmates or older students. Students helping students. A pretty good way to get conversations started. Besides that it is also very helpful that students can ʻlikeʼ things they posted. If students had a video homework (e.g. communication students) and others like those videos they feel, of course, endorsed and are happy with their outcome (even better when the teacher ʻlikesʼ it of course ;-) ).

Social Media & Education by www.sayfun.me & www.nomadteacher.org // facebook.com/SaschaFunk

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Social Media for Education: Getting started with Social Media

using facebook groups for teaching purposes

As you can see I am a big fan of facebook groups for teaching purposes since they give you quite a nice set of tools to work with. Moreover they are set up pretty easily and when you don始t need them anymore, say after the term has finished, you can simply delete them again and set up another one for the upcoming term.

Facebook Fanpages If you want to take the conversation out into to wild groups however might not be the perfect choice. They are great for a specific audience but if you are aiming on a broader target group you might consider setting up your own facebook fanpage. This is primarily recommended for schools itself, departments, faculties or private teachers.

facebook fanpage - college style Social Media & Education by www.sayfun.me & www.nomadteacher.org // facebook.com/SaschaFunk

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Social Media for Education: Getting started with Social Media

Fanpages in general give you the opportunity to communicate and to present yourself or your institution to wide facebook user range. Even ʻstrangersʼ who do not belong to your educational institution can ʻlikeʼ you, post and ask questions or leave comments (again, you decide what can be done. Privacy!). The features of the fanpage are similar to those mentioned in the group section above. Sharing pictures, videos, polls, etc is also possible. The biggest difference is, like already explained, the fact that fanpages are ʻpublicʼ and that you do not choose who connects with your fanpage, facebook users choose whether they ʻlikeʼ you or whether they donʼt. So fanpages are usually a good place to show off your skills, explain what you are all about & give some interaction and information possibilities to a larger audience.

facebook fanpage - private teacher style

Content is King Now I am glad that I can use this catch phrase that followed me through my studies at university in one of my posts. Content is King! This means that, whatever you decide to do on facebook, success always depends on your content. If you simply post homework or test dates online that might find acceptance since it eases things up for students, however it wonʼt increase the interaction and the social learning abilities (which are quite crucial nowadays in my opinion). You have to implement your facebook (and further social media appearances – of which we will talk about soon) in your teaching style, update your assignments to be ʻsocialʼ and ʻinteractiveʼ (e.g. videos, but thatʼs only one very basic example) and never forget to Social Media & Education by www.sayfun.me & www.nomadteacher.org // facebook.com/SaschaFunk

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Social Media for Education: Getting started with Social Media

be present yourself. Even if you decide to go the ʻhidingʼ way we talked about in the beginning, you still should be present from time to time (the more the better, of course) so that students see that you care and that you use social media yourself and that this is not ʻjust another assignmentʼ but a way of studying, exchanging and developing. Finally I hope I could shed some light into the dark field of ʻsocial media & educationʼ on the example of facebook for teaching. More posts regarding other social media platforms and services will follow and in the end we will come up with a best practice example that combines many of the current state of the art social media offers. However, if you feel a little overwhelmed, are in the need for a talk, want specific examples, totally disagree or are eager to learn more (yes, there are courses available – for teachers as well as for students) please feel free to use the contact button up right, leave a comment or pay me a visit on facebook.

Example 1: Student videos are perfect content to be shared on facebook

Social Media & Education by www.sayfun.me & www.nomadteacher.org // facebook.com/SaschaFunk

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Social Media for Education: Getting started with Social Media

Own Website / Blog

This part about using social media covers how to use a blog or website for educational purposes. If you are not familiar on how to set up a blog or website on your own, feel free to check my quick guide on wordpress websites or simply get in touch with me via email or the comments. I'll try to help as soon as possible.

Short introduction and differentiation Setting up a website for your school can have several very different advantages. I will try to cover some of the more obvious here. Some of them are related to specific areas of studies, some are general. I try to order it in the way a website is usually set up and maintained.

Setting up a  website / blog This is obviously a more technical thing. However, if you are teaching in this sector or students from this sector this is the first step you could start your teaching from. One example from my experience: I taught English Communication to 'Computer Business' students which means the all should have a basic understanding of how websites work and how you can set them up. Their task now was to set up a website (domain and hosting came from me - however this could be part of the task as well. Evaluate where to host and where to buy the domain) in English. I didn't tell them what CMS they have to use (Wordpress, Joomla, etc.) or what functionalities I want to have (despite the obvious 'Blog' functionality). While it took some time to Social Media & Education by www.sayfun.me & www.nomadteacher.org // facebook.com/SaschaFunk

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Social Media for Education: Getting started with Social Media

set up this website (they never did it in English) it was a good training and they totally understood why it is important to use English here. Furthermore I could see that they sometimes worked day and night on the website. Especially when the deadline came close. Nice to see motivation kicking in. So task one: Setting up a website (register domain, link to hosting service, install cms, get database running: check!). Design. Kinda obvious who could be involved here, don't you think? However it is not only design students who could get involved into this process. Early in 2012 we will have for example a competition among all students for a new header picture (the picture on top of the website). This gets different groups (example: Cheerleader, B-Boys, Dancer, Singer, Art students, etc.) involved and gives them an incentive to be creative and a chance to get featured on wider level. That's just one idea of course. Another idea was regarding the...

Features What does a website need to be successful? That was one question I asked my 'Internet English' (don't blame me for the course name!) students. This is a perfect start for talks about websites, features and social media as a whole. 'We need twitter, facebook oh and let's add youtube...'. Great when students can try in real life what they just heard about in class. And, since we all love circles (not just since google+ came out) here is one that closes: When we know what features we need, we tell the guys (students) who are responsible for the implementation or the backend  maintenance  to implement those features. Project Management in easy steps. And that in English class. Welcome back to head-fake learning.  

Social Media & Education by www.sayfun.me & www.nomadteacher.org // facebook.com/SaschaFunk

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Social Media for Education: Getting started with Social Media

Content is King After the website is set up and ready to go you're in the need for the most important 'feature' of all. Content. Content is the most important thing since it drives users to your website or keeps them away. However, on a school website / blog, there is no need to be perfect. Everybody who visits such a site knows that students make mistakes. There is absolutely no problem in that. So get your students going, make them try, let them make mistakes and publish their stories, experiences, videos, pictures, etc. In order to avoid to many grammatical mistakes you can install one of the many 'correction plugins' (example: JetPack for Wordpress) that are available through the wordpress plugin section.

Types of content Content is not necessarily only restricted to text. However text is the most important one and obviously also important in terms of teaching. Nevertheless content like videos, music, pictures, etc. are also a good idea once in a while and keep the whole thing attractive. 

Maintenance  Maintaining a website / blog is obviously not a one time activity. You need to keep it at least   little up to date, post once in a while and make it interesting. While this means work for you, the teacher (motivating students, checking their work) it also provides, like already mentioned, a good learning experience for students. If they are responsible for different parts (technical maintenance, content, design, etc.) they will learn how to manage projects among different groups all by themselves. In my experience it is totally worth the extra work for me since students really learn much more than they actually think they are learning. 

Further purposes Besides letting your students write articles / content and maintaining the site it also has one other big advantage. You can show off. Don't tell me your school doesn't like that. Every school tries to do it, and every director loves it. A own website is a great way to show off and to let also the school's staff interact.  Furthermore it is a good place to promote your social networks, announce news and changes, etc. I think you all got the idea. 

Social Media & Education by www.sayfun.me & www.nomadteacher.org // facebook.com/SaschaFunk

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Social Media for Education: Getting started with Social Media

How to spice our website up While nice content, cool pictures and videos are a good start for your website / blog you always should think about how to spice it a little bit more up. Be special, be unique. Show something, that other schools don't show (if they have a homepage at all of course). •

• •

Check grades: Being able to check grades online became very popular among my students. Over a long time they could only check their overall grades on the official school website, now they are able to check their English grades in detail. Very useful add on.  Wiki: Introduce a  wiki. Students can exchange knowledge this way and will have a lexicon easily available.  Games / Quizzes: Adding games and quizzes to your website can also be a good idea. You might even want to add a 'ranking' of the best students (nicknames only). 

Like always I am already talking to much. However I hope you understand that maintaining a website or blog for your class / school can bring many advantages with it. Nevertheless it means work and you should be prepared for it. The outcomes is, in my opinion, worth the extra work though. 

Example: Spiced up website - social sharing & video - www.sayfun.me

Social Media & Education by www.sayfun.me & www.nomadteacher.org // facebook.com/SaschaFunk

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Social Media for Education: Getting started with Social Media

Twitter for Teaching After already talking about the biggest of all social networks, facebook, and its potential for teaching purposes and the article on how to use a self hosted website for educational matters, it is now time to focus on another big player in the social media hemisphere. Twitter.

For those who don始t know Twitter Twitter is a short messaging service which actually plays a big role in social media marketing, branding and entertainment. The biggest user group is, right now, therefore not the typical 16-25 peer group but older users with more experience. However more and more students are getting into it and warming up with the short and quick way of sharing interests and news. Twitter allows you to send messages up to 140 characters through the web. You can either publish those messages publicly on your profile (e.g. twitter.com/ nomadteacher1)

twitter profile with publicly visible tweets (messages)

Social Media & Education by www.sayfun.me & www.nomadteacher.org // facebook.com/SaschaFunk

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Social Media for Education: Getting started with Social Media

or you can address those messages directly to a specific user while adding his username in front of a message (e.g. @sayfun check out this cool blog post about how to use twitter for teaching on nomadteacher.org).

addressing a message on twitter directly - still publicly visible. you can also add URLs and tags to identify the topic of the message

Furthermore you can send private messages as well. Those messages can only be seen by you (the sender) and the person you addressed it to. Besides those features it is also possible (and recommended) to use twitter not only via the web interface (which is kinda boring) but also via different applications which make the whole thing more fun. Twitter is ideal for communication on the run and there are several great applications for all kinds of mobile devices (no matter if Android, iPhone, BB or Nokia). Moreover you can not only share text messages or links, you can even share pictures and videos attached to your messages. If you want, you can even search twitter for different areas of interest or single tag words. All of this makes twitter and its partners even more interesting.

How to use twitter for teaching purposes Now, having the basics set straight, let's have a look on how we can use twitter for Social Media & Education by www.sayfun.me & www.nomadteacher.org // facebook.com/SaschaFunk

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Social Media for Education: Getting started with Social Media

search function on twitter - searching keywords, videos, pictures, etc

educational matters. The obvious first: Direct communication. With twitter being far less personal than facebook (you're not even called 'friends' on twitter. only 'followers') the communication usually doesn't get to friendly and personal. It is quite easy to maintain a professional relationship and keep distance to the people you communicate with (students in our case). You can, for example, publish links to informational sites, homework, tests or whatever you consider interesting on your public profile. Students can see this, follow your links and educate themselves. If there are any questions, students can directly address this question to you, you can answer. Finished. Easy and efficient. However direct communication is not the only advantage twitter brings with it. Twitter is a great tool to start discussions or debates. You can talk about different topics, review different ideas or publish your own hypothesis and wait for responses. If you tag your statement with appropriate 'hashtags' (see the third picture above. the word with # in front) it is quite likely that more people, besides you and your students, will join the conversation. This will open the discussion to a wider audience and add more point of views - what's usually never a bad thing. Those conversation might even happen without you pushing it forward.

Social Media & Education by www.sayfun.me & www.nomadteacher.org // facebook.com/SaschaFunk

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Social Media for Education: Getting started with Social Media

Enhancing technical abilities I am not sure if this is really necessary to mention to you guys who are reading this, but in my college it, unfortunately, is. It is crucial for students in the year 2012 (2555 here in Thailand) to know how to use current media. It is not only a 'fun' thing, it can and will define your future. It is not anymore about how much you know and what you learned by heart, it is about how fast you can adapt to an ever-changing environment and how long it takes you to find out the answer to new questions that come up with the technological development. Making students use twitter (and other social media platforms) helps them to adapt to this environment and will therefore be of great advantage in their future. // interlude end. 

Away from the obvious Now we covered the obvious. Direct communication, discussing topics after searching for it or getting in conversations with other users. That's pretty cool already. But social media wouldn't be social media if there wouldn't be more. Twitter is also fun to use for assignments, communication classes, events, trips or what I just tried - a English Communication scavenger hunt. Our ECSH lead my students all across the city to all important sites and sights and forced them to use the internet as well as their English communication skills. I will post an in-depth case study soon, but here's the short version: I placed the 'treasure' in a public place (with someone 'guiding' it) and gave out hints via facebook, youtube and - of course - twitter. After students realized what was going on, twitter became the media to focus on since it is the easiest and fastest one on mobile phones.   Via twitter I first published some hints wich lead students to further hints. But it wasn't only me who took part in this adventure. Friends of mine, online and offline, were part and had to be asked. My students had to answer questions, perform different tasks or fulfill funny duties before they received more information from my accomplices. In the end the winner was not the tech-savviest team, but the team with most fun on talking their way through all different tasks. All teams stated that they had fun during the first ever performed ECSH. I hope their next EC teacher will continue what we started. This is only a very brief example on how to use twitter for communication classes. I also know physics and maths teachers who use twitter on a regular basis. Like always it is all about your creativity. Another successful way of using twitter in class was when some of my students did a trip with their 'Tourism Management' class. I assigned them to tweet during their Social Media & Education by www.sayfun.me & www.nomadteacher.org // facebook.com/SaschaFunk

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Social Media for Education: Getting started with Social Media

excursion and another class, who didn't make the trip, had to put together those 140 character messages and create a story out of it. Was also quite funny and showed students that 'short' is not always 'easy' (common student's mistake). I hope you can see that Twitter really is more than a nice toy during boring bus rides. It is a completely stand-alone communication tool that allows you to introduce a completely different level of communicating and participating. If you are in the need for more examples or inspiration or if you have some examples on your own, please feel free to contact me or post right on the website www.nomadteacher.org.

Private Twitter Profile - Short information, link, media - everything in one place

 

Social Media & Education by www.sayfun.me & www.nomadteacher.org // facebook.com/SaschaFunk

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Social Media for Education: Getting started with Social Media

Youtube for Teaching We already had a look on facebook and twitter for teaching purposes and learned how to use a self hosted website/blog for that matter. Now it is time to get some more interaction into the whole education thing with videos! Videos are a great way of interact with students and make students learn without actually noticing that they are learning. That's wy today we will focus on youtube. Obviously there are other video hosting websites as well (vimeo, myvideo, etc.) but youtube is the best known website and offers you an easy & hands on editing possibility.   You can create some nice videos without knowing to much about video editing. So let's just get started. Before going to deep into the matter, lets just remember what we learned in my 'brief guide to jump start your social media efforts' about youtube: Using videos for your classes can be of great help. It is not only entertaining and lets students repeat your stuff over and over again on their own pace, it also urges students to interact and be creative. After setting up your own channel you can divide videos into different lists (see screenshots), promote further sites of yours and – one thing I like very much – you can edit videos quite nicely. For editing you donʼt need much video editing knowledge since it is quite easy to follow the steps youtube suggests. With these editing possibilities your videos can get even more engaging and interactive (e.g. if you use annotations and links). Moreover, if you are afraid to show yourself or your teaching material online to the world, you can adjust your video settings the way that only you and the people you invite (or the ones that have the link) can see your videos. All power stays with you. So why donʼt you just give it a try? Another nice thing by the way: Videos can be embedded into other social networks quite easily. So youtube is a nice add on to all the other networks mentioned here.  Now that we remember that, let's get more hands on with real world examples and practices. First some useful adjustments and then some basic examples from my English classes over the past months and years.

Show your web presence As you can see in the screenshot on the left, your profile allows you to link to other social media profiles like facebook and twitter. Furthermore you can add links to

Social Media & Education by www.sayfun.me & www.nomadteacher.org // facebook.com/SaschaFunk

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Social Media for Education: Getting started with Social Media

your websites or teaching material as well. Spreading the word while providing videos. Nice! Besides that you can also show links to your websites and profiles from within your videos (called annotations). You can add text via the youtube video editor (more to come later) to every video - most video providers use this to show links to their twitter or facebook pages or to announce soon to come events.

youtube for teaching - show your videos and present further social media profiles

Furthermore you can theme / style your own 'channel' so that it fits the looks and feels of your homepage or your other profiles. An appropriate avatar does the rest...but that's just basic profile set up.

Group your videos A cool, very own youtube feature, in terms of styling however is the fact, that you can group your videos into different 'playlists' and display them on your startsite. This makes sense since it enables users to find interesting content more easily. You could, for example, create playlists like 'my lessons' or 'English Communication Lessons' or 'Assignments' and so on. You can also choose to display the videos you favorite on your stream - however, selecting this feature should be really thought through. Since you might also favorite videos that you like for yourself but that don't provide any use for your channel subscribers.

Theme your videos Theming videos makes them easy to recognize and also helps to brand your channel and different 'series' of your content. If you, for example, create videos Social Media & Education by www.sayfun.me & www.nomadteacher.org // facebook.com/SaschaFunk

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Social Media for Education: Getting started with Social Media

about paper planes and videos about  Vexillology you might want to theme those differently but all videos within the  Vexillology topic should be themed the same way. Recognition is an important thing. Just think about your favorite tv series theme. For those of you who are not to much of a video editor, there is quite an easy way to theme and edit videos. Simply head over to youtube.com/create and check some of the online tools there. Most of them are pretty simple and straight forward.

Spice up your videos Besides theming your videos, spicing them up is also an important success factor. Of course, as teacher, you want to deliver knowledge at the first place, but if your video is plain boring, nobody will listen to your message or remember it. So use the tools youtube offers you and add at least some Annotations, Sounds or Effects to support your messages. Annotations are messages that show up during your video at a defined time on a defined place. Who defines it? You! You can even chose how those messages look like and if they are plain text or if they link to your channel, an other channel or make users subscribe. Sounds are, well, sounds. Youtube offers you quite a nice list of music that you can easily add to your videos for free and which do not fit any copyright claims. So if you want to be on the safe side, choose a track form youtubes library. Sounds help especially during intro or outro sequences (if you have text) to spice up your content. Effects can also help to spice up your videos. You can 'pop' things up or make your video look more 'noble', 'oldschool' or 'fancy'. Give it a tray and see how easy it is to improve your own videos. Copyright Infringement

When it comes to copyright issues, youtube can be a pain in the a$%. While it is obviously understandable that big companies don't want their songs or music videos distributed outside their reach, you can't even use small parts of songs. Youtube detects them automatically (works pretty well) and will either suspend/ block your video in some/all countries or embed ads into your video. Sometimes they even just cut out the sounds. However you will always get notified if your video Social Media & Education by www.sayfun.me & www.nomadteacher.org // facebook.com/SaschaFunk

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matches '3rd party claims' so that you can react to that mess. But better don't get into that trouble and don't use original songs from famous musicians. Interaction - How to use videos?!

Well...be creative! I'm not going to tell you what to do since it is completely up to your imagination how you are going to use this social media instrument. I will give some brief example of common video usages, however there are far far more (that we will cover in an upcoming post when all the basics are set and we can focus on the details). Basic examples are: Interviews: Either let your students do interviews or host interviews with interesting people yourself. The first point is especially useful for foreign language classes (e.g. ESL). Let students create interview questions and then urge them to talk to foreigners or foreign language speakers. It's fun and they learn a lot while doing so.  Reports: Urge students to come up with reports like on television. This is also a lot of fun and forces them to think about specific topics and to actually put their knowledge into work.  Documentaries: Reality TV goes to school. Sounds weird but has proven to be a big success. Just give it a shot, if it fits our lesson plan.  Video responses: The easiest way to get students started: Make them reply to your own videos. Leadership by example. As teacher you set up some videos first and then assign your students to reply to them. That's how they become familiar with the whole thing and start to interact online and accept teaching in their social media neighborhood

Benefits vs. Workload Benefits 5 - Workload 2 (yes, that's a soccer score). In my opinion the benefits outweigh the workload you have to put into the whole thing by far. It might be a little hard at first since you really need to know what you are doing and this forces you to get to know your social media platform, in this case youtube, very well. However it is fun to play around and give everything a try. Furthermore, once you're set up, it is a piece of cake to adapt changes or implement new ideas. You'll see that you will become pretty well skilled quite fast. The outcome is usually very impressive and adds a lot of fun to current studies and old-school assignments.   Social Media & Education by www.sayfun.me & www.nomadteacher.org // facebook.com/SaschaFunk

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Social Media for Education: Getting started with Social Media

Like always I am quite curious to get to know other opinions or experiences. So if you have something to say, feel free to post it right here or - even cooler - send a video response!

Google+ The new player in the social network market. You think itʼs to similar to facebook or it doesnʼt have an impact on teaching? Well I see it completely different - and if you want to know why you better take a look at my blog and read what google+ can do for your teaching....www.nomadteacher.org/social-media/google-plus

Foursquare One of the social services that are so incredibly popular right now. It lets you check in in different locations and events and shares those informations with friends, followers or other attendees. Doesnʼt sound like an appropriate teaching application? Wait and see....on my blog or in Volume 2 of this eBook!

Edmodo A social network totally dedicated to education and teaching. Set up classes, share your teaching material and more. Looks like a facebook clone at first but actually does have some nice features. Which? Check it out online or in Volume 2 of this eBook - coming in Q3/2012.

& more There are many more networks and services out there that are worth trying. Especially those that are designed for teaching purposes. It might take some more work to introduce them to students but therefore they will ease up your work load quite a bit. Which applications I am referring to? Check them out on my website or wait until the release of Volume 2 of ʻSocial Media & Educationʼ.

Social Media & Education by www.sayfun.me & www.nomadteacher.org // facebook.com/SaschaFunk

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Social Media for Education: Getting started with Social Media

Short Tips to keep the frustration down This is just a short tip / advice for the ones of you who just start to connect with students in social media. I said it before and implemented it in all of my social media & teaching posts but I say it out loud again: Social Media is not thought to be a controlling instrument! It is a place where you can hang out and interact with your students but you must be aware of the fact that students might hang there out without interacting with or even caring about you and / or your assignments. Social Media (like Facebook and Twitter) is a big part of nowadays free time activities and therefore not only for educational purposes. Students go there to hang out, meet friends, talk about gossip, etc. Doing ʻschool stuffʼ is only part of the game and quite often not the most important one. And who should blame them? It is important to have time off – just remember what you did when you went home from school. Did you hang out with your teacher? No, probably not. So give your students free time even if you see them online all the time. After all, you are ʻonlyʼ their teacher and even though you see them hanging out online they are ʻjust studentsʼ and might forget about your stuff or donʼt care about it as much as you do (the usual teacher/student dilemma). So whenever this happens, do not forget: Do not take it personal! They donʼt do it to hurt you, they are just living a ʻnormal studentʼs lifeʼ.

Social Media & Education by www.sayfun.me & www.nomadteacher.org // facebook.com/SaschaFunk

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Social Media for Education: Getting started with Social Media

Educate your students Even though if you are not an internet expert or part of the ʻgeneration webʼ - you still are a teacher and somehow a respected entity in studentsʼ lives. Therefore I consider it your responsibility to also educate your students regarding the world wide web at least in some point. Especially when you are using social media for your classes (which I hope you do by now) you should give students some advice at hand on what to do, and what probably not.

Safety first I came across an article at RWW (read write web) which states that more and more teenagers tend to give out their passwords when they are in love. This thought to be kind of an intimate thing – having your significant other on your own facebook (or twitter or whatever) profile, sharing everything and not having any secrets. While this might sound appealing (well, at least somehow romantic in nowadays web 2.0 generation) at first that is, obviously, totally stupid. We all know that only a few of teenage love affairs end with the ʻhappily ever afterʼ saying – the majority ends with terrible break-ups, fights and insults. Obviously everybody thinks ʻwe are special, we will stay together foreverʼ but still education in this area is needed – even if you are special. Giving out passwords without thinking to much about it is like having sex on the first date (or the second, third….at all). Itʼs dangerous! Teenagers are usually more emotional than we old folks so just think about it briefly. Thereʼs a small fight, one of the couple goes crazy, logs into the otherʼs profile and posts secrets, annoys friends or even worse…destroys the whole online reputation? Giving out passwords is like giving out the key to your house (and your credit card with the PIN written on itʼs back) – itʼs just a NO GO! Most of us know this – make sure your students know and understand this as well. There are so many nice ways of being romantic and intimate – thereʼs no need to chose this stupid one.

Social Media & Education by www.sayfun.me & www.nomadteacher.org // facebook.com/SaschaFunk

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Social Media for Education: Getting started with Social Media

Be aware of the dangers - embrace the advantages There are a lot of horror stories out there stating that young people got sucked into the internet and lost connection to the real word, became psychopaths and shot random people just because of the internet. That is, of course, big bulls$&t. Doing bad things is based solely on one thing in the end: Your decision of finally doing it. However Social Media & the internet as a whole can have some bad impact when consumed in overdoses or without be aware of the dangers. That始s similar to all aspects of life. Driving a car can be dangerous as well if you are not aware of the dangers on the road - if you are aware though, it is a lot of fun.

Examples: How to combine teaching and social media Videos: Singing The other day I finally did something, I always wanted to do. I sang with all my English classes 驶Man in the mirror始 by Michael Jackson. While it was far away from being perfect, it still was a great experience for different reasons. First I practiced this song with my classes separately. At the end of each class for about 5 minutes. Slowly but steady they understood more and more (I explained the meaning of course and we talked about it in class) and enjoyed singing it. Furthermore I split the song into different parts so that not every class had to sing every verse. Every class had one verse only. Last Saturday we then met at our college to sing it together for the first time. Like I said before, it was far away from perfect, but it was nice to see how students interact together and how the try to manage working together and making the best out of it. Saying that leads me directly to one of the main purposes of this whole thing. Singing is always a good way of learning a language. It combines fun and free time with education / studies. Furthermore man in the mirror has a nice message (If you want to make the world a better place take a look at yourself and make a change). Social Media & Education by www.sayfun.me & www.nomadteacher.org // facebook.com/SaschaFunk

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Social Media for Education: Getting started with Social Media

Besides that songs usually donʼt use school English but ʻstreetʼ English. Using such lyrics shows students how English can and will be used outside the classroom and enables them to understand it. Moreover the whole ʻmeet with different groups and sing one song togetherʼ is also kind of a project management task. Different student groups came together and had to figure out how to perform this English song best. Was nice to witness how they did it. Long story short: Singing is a great way of making students learn without them considering it studying. Furthermore, when you are finished, you can use the outcome to spread it across your social media presences.

Videos: Short Stories This is just another example of how to use 'new' technology (well videos aren't that new actually - but since almost every student nowadays owns a mobile phone that is able to record a video, things are getting much more easy) for teaching purposes. In one of my social media articles about using youtube for teaching purposes I explained how you can use videos for teaching and entertainment purposes. This post here is now an example for exactly this.

Social Media & Education by www.sayfun.me & www.nomadteacher.org // facebook.com/SaschaFunk

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Social Media for Education: Getting started with Social Media

The assignment: Create a movie. About whatever you want. Only premisse: You have to speak English. The rules: No rules! I gave this assignment to my 'English communication' (while English being the foreign language) classes and wanted them to use everything they learned so far. I gave them my number and told them they could always ask me for help, if they need me, but most groups never took advantage of that. Once more the proof: Give your students space and trust and they will work perfectly on their own. The outcome: Quite different, however mostly satisfying and once in a while overwhelming (always depending on the expectations of course).

A little more... Obviously not all classes are on the same level. Furthermore there are classes with 'high flyers' in it and classes that consist of mostly 'average' students. Besides that there are hundreds of further influences that define your expectations. However, like mentioned above, my expectations have been mostly matched or exceeded. Without talking to much about the sociological component here, students do appreciate space for creativity and their own work pace. When you managed to develop a good and understanding relationship with your class, assignments where you don't have to set the rules straight but only define an 'outcome' or an 'aim' will work very well - quite often a lot better than assignments with fixed rules. However, when you are planning a big project, milestones can help to keep track of that. We will cover milestone projects for your class later this year. For now we focus on the 'make a movie' assignment. What students learned during this assignment: Project management. They had to work in groups and delegate all tasks within their group. Those tasks included story writing, finding locations, the technical components (filming, cutting, editing) and of course acting (that's what everybody had to do - after all it was English Communication class). The movie shown above is, of course, not an Oscar movie or the most awesome assignment ever - however it blew away most of my teaching colleagues because they didn't knew that their students were able to speak or think well enough to do Social Media & Education by www.sayfun.me & www.nomadteacher.org // facebook.com/SaschaFunk

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Social Media for Education: Getting started with Social Media

something like this. Even though it's not perfect (that's were the teacher comes in later when reviewing it) it leads to one very important thing: Fun with a foreign language. Furthermore, like mentioned above, students increased or gained skills in different areas (cutting, using the pc for editing purposes and so on).

After students finished the movie I usually watched it together with them and explained what was good and where they made mistakes. This worked out quite well and students were always happy with this task - even though it meant a lot of work for them (as you can see at the end of the movie above). Side note Besides being fun and a nice experience for your students, creating movies is also a good way to spread the word about your course or school. Students are very likely to share their own movies on social media sites which will lead to a greater awareness of your work. But enough with the marketing thoughts here - my teaching diary is not a place for those thoughts, they will be thought of later in the social media marketing section.

Social Media & Education by www.sayfun.me & www.nomadteacher.org // facebook.com/SaschaFunk

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Social Media for Education: Getting started with Social Media

Article Writing: Short Stories / Reviews / Essays Here is another hands on example of how to use social media for teaching purposes. You already know how to use websites, facebook, twitter and so on so let's cover another real best practice. While teaching languages it is obviously important to improve the writing skills of your students. So why not do it in a social media way? Use the social networks to add some motivation to it. The assignment: Write an essay about XYZ and publish it on our website. Spice it up and make it look 'pretty'. The idea: Beside writing essays students also had to figure out how to use our CMS (wordpress in that case) and how to style articles, how to insert links and media (to make it 'pretty'). They also could team up with other students / classes to add nice pictures or videos . The outcome: The idea + x. Students did, after  a short 'oooh teacher' argument exactly what I expected and even a little more. They teamed up with other students, added nice pictures and graphics and even did some videos to embed into their posts. Furthermore they spread the news about their articles via twitter and facebook - so almost some kind of small online marketing campaign.  Well done, again please :-) 

Social Media & Education by www.sayfun.me & www.nomadteacher.org // facebook.com/SaschaFunk

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Social Media for Education: Getting started with Social Media

English Communication Scavenger Hunt (EC|SH - #ECSH) Once more a hands on post about something I tried in class this term. The first time ever that somebody over here tried to pull an ʻinteractiveʼ game off so it wasnʼt that easy to get the people involved but in the end it worked out. Not perfectly, but still funny and with the desired outcome. So get ready for the first ever Udon Thani Vocational College English Communication Scavenger Hunt (EC|SH). So here are a few steps explained. Maybe itʼs some inspiration, maybe you simply see what traps are awaiting you when planning such a game or maybe it even scares you off. However I thought the experience is worth sharing. Intention: Many colleagues asked me ʻwhy are you doing this? Itʼs to much work..ʼ – The simple answer: I think it would be fun and I want students to use their shyness when it comes to English communication. I want them to be able to use English in every day life and in all different kind of situations. Initial Situation: I told all classes they have to form teams who participate in the game. Then I told them that the game will start on a fixed date at a fixed time and from then on it would all be up to the respective group how fast theyʼd solve the puzzles. However, to not scare them off in the beginning, I told them that the question will appear once daily. Meaning question number 1 will be appear on day 1 (and then stay visible),  question  2 on day 2, etc…This was simply thought to show that the game wouldnʼt take to much of their time and that they, if they play, only need to answer one question per day – while setting up this situation I was quite aware of the fact that Thai students are very often very lazy and sure that no group will solve every question as soon as it appears. So I was sure there will be a race as soon as more questions will be visible. And I was right. Questions / Tasks: When a group would have completed one task/question they would have received a password which they could enter on our website and then they would see the upcoming question. And so on…

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Start: I started the game with a post on our own facebook wall.

Like mentioned above, from then on the groups had their own pace. And this pace was, at first, quite slow. Since this was something completely knew they were a little stunned by the information overflow but got accustomed to it when motivated once Social Media & Education by www.sayfun.me & www.nomadteacher.org // facebook.com/SaschaFunk

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Social Media for Education: Getting started with Social Media

again. When they finally started to realize that ʻplayingʼ the game really means ʻdoingʼ something, they had fun, organized groups and got it going on. Question 1: Which song did we sing / analyze in English class? Name the song and use the fourth word as your first password. – Easy, to get them started using the website for gaming purposes. Question 2: Whatʼs the name of the second foreign language teacher here at the college? Go and ask for the next password. In English! – This was quite an easy one but the first question was thought to give everybody an easy start. So that was a no-brainer and the Chinese language teacher was happy to participate in this event (thanks again). Students had to talk English with her and take a picture together with her and then she gave them (like instructed by me) the next password.

English Communication Scavenger Hunt - Question 2

Question 3 then was about ASEAN and to figure out a common Thai-English translation mistake. If you translate ʻBoyscoutʼ (a huge activity group in our college) word by word from Thai to English you will get the expression ʻbaby tigerʼ which is obviously wrong. So they had to find out how to translate ʻBaby Tigerʼ into correct English, find the ʻboss of the baby tigersʼ and talk with the boss about ASEAN while naming all participating countries. Luckily the head of our Boyscouts is an English teacher as well so she was happy to participate too and made sure that all the groups really had to talk English in order to receive the new password. Social Media & Education by www.sayfun.me & www.nomadteacher.org // facebook.com/SaschaFunk

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Social Media for Education: Getting started with Social Media

Question 4 was more of a task then a question. Since I wanted all students to be part of the game, not only the ones who speak English quite well, task 4 was: ʻGo planking! Yes, planking! I want 5 planking pictures from around the city – not in your dorm or classroom – upload the pictures on facebook and then receive the next password. – And well, what happened was….great & funny!

EC - English Communication$

$

$

SH - Scavenger Hunt

Planking - communication is more than just talking! Social Media & Education by www.sayfun.me & www.nomadteacher.org // facebook.com/SaschaFunk

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Social Media for Education: Getting started with Social Media

Question 5: Now back to talking English. In question 1 students had to get started using social media, then they had to talk English in question 2 & 3 and now in question 5 they had to combine it. Task was: ʻFind my friend >>NAME<< on facebook or google+ and have a video call with him. Interview him, show him your planking pictures and have a short small talk - he then will give you your last password. Of course it's great to have friends to help me out here. So thanks again to my friend in Austria who was the first to say 'yeah, great idea'. This task obviously needed students to be brave and talk to a complete stranger - but with this question they've already been close to finish the game...of course they had to document their actions again. Pictures and videos can be seen on ourfacebook page! Last question / task: When students successfully talked to my friend he revealed the last password and they saw the final task – ʻPerform English in publicʼ. Over the past weeks we learned and analyzed songs tongue twisters, speeches – now it was time to show some action and give a speech, perform tongue twisters or sing English in public. Why? To get rid of the last pieces of shyness and to put all aspects of the tasks before (speaking, social media, doing) together. Final: The winner was the team of Hotel 3/2 – congratulations! Besides cheering and respect they also got a signed DVD of a TV star I met here in Thailand and ʻa lot of fun and nice memoriesʼ (quote students). Bottom line: It was a lot of work to set up and think through but it was worth it when seeing the outcome. It really made students to use English on a wider level than only in the classroom and even let them have fun while doing so. I would do it again – however not this term ;-)

Now itʼs on you! Go out (online) and be social with your students! Donʼt forget to share your experiences with me and all readers! Looking forward to hearing your experiences.

Social Media & Education by www.sayfun.me & www.nomadteacher.org // facebook.com/SaschaFunk

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Social Media for Education: Getting started with Social Media

Ressources Maintained or contributed to: www.sayfun.me - Homebase for all things teaching. For my students, clients and everybody interested in learning & working with me. www.nomadteacher.org - Number one resource for my current projects and posts about social media & education www.saschafunk.de - Information about me. Resume, etc. www.proxgened.com - Defining the future of Education www.my-thai.org - Thailand base camp. Information about my work, life and travel adventures in Thailand.

Social Media & Education by www.sayfun.me & www.nomadteacher.org // facebook.com/SaschaFunk

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Social Media & Education - Vol. I