This week in NYC, at #140 conf, I was most impressed by the talks and panels about education, and the use of online technologies, Web, and particularly social networks like Twitter in the classroom. You know I am interested in this – just search my blog for names like “David Warlick” and “Stacy Baker”, or dig through my “Education” and “Science Education” categories. These videos are all short – 10 or 20 minutes long, so I strongly recommend you watch all four clips:
Chris Lehmann (@chrislehmann) – Social Media + Education:
Real Time Communication and Education: Aparna Vashisht (@Parentella) – Founder, Parentella (moderator) Kevin Jarrett (@kjarrett) – K-4 Technology Teacher Lisa Nielsen (@InnovativeEdu) – Educational Technologist – NYC Dept of Ed Mary Beth Hertz (@mbteach) – K-6 Computer Teacher and Technology Teacher Leader in Philadelphia:
Twitter and Animal Farm (and some 8th graders) – George Haines (@oline73) – Technology Teacher, Sts. Philip and James School, and his students:
Real-time web and Education #2: Eric Sheninger (@NMHS_Principal) – Principal of New Milford HS (NJ) Kyle B. Pace (@kylepace) – Teaching K-12 teachers about technology infusion Steven W. Anderson (@web20classroom) – Technology Educator, Blogger, Co-Creator of #edchat Tom Whitby (@tomwhitby) – Professor of English in Secondary Education:
ScienceOnline’09: Interview with Stacy Baker
ScienceOnline’09 – Saturday 10:15am
There is no need for a ‘Creepy Treehouse’ in using the Web in the classroom
Removing the Bricks from the Classroom Walls: Interview with David Warlick
Is our children learning?
This is bullshit: TEDxNYED talk by Jeff Jarvis (video)
ScienceOnline’09 – interview with Erica Tsai
Podcastercon2006 – the Teaching Session
ScienceOnline’09 – interview with Elissa Hoffman
Teacher-philosophers in a fast-changing world
Using Blogs to Promote Science Literacy
Very young people blogging about science
Very young people blogging about science – let’s welcome them
Making it real: People and Books and Web and Science at ScienceOnline2010
Mason Posner is a professor of Biology at Ashland University in Ohio. He also blogs on A Fish Eye View (though I notice he did not update it in a while). About a year ago, and inspired by some discussions emanating from ScienceOnline’09, he decided to try using blogs in his teaching. He did it last spring. And he is doing it again this spring.
You can check out his Marine Biology Course class blog, where he and the students are all posting in one place.
But also check out his Senior Capstone course in Biology and its class blog – he is the only one blogging there – the students are required to start and run their own blogs.
Now look at the Class Blogroll on the margin – take a look at last year’s (2009) student blogs – wonderful writing on all of them, good stuff. But! One of them is already deleted. There are four other blogs that stopped posting around early May of last year, probably at the time the course ended. Only one of the blogs is still running today. Why did they stop?
Now check out this year’s blogs – very, very nice stuff: The Difference between Ignorance and Apathy, SexyScience, Thirsty Pandas and Successors of Solomon. Lovely blogs. But will they last past May?
Now, you may remember a similar experiment at Duke – see this and this and especially experiences of Erica Tsai who ran the program. Why did all the Duke student blogs end once the class was over?
There is always a lot of chatter online (see the most recent commentary about a Pew study here, here, here and here) about teens and college students not blogging. No, the kids are not naturally Web-savvy – they also need to learn.
They use Twitter much more than the stats usually show, but mostly keep their profiles private and only talk to each other. They use it instead of texting because it is cheaper and platform-agnostic. Of course, they are all on Facebook (or MySpace, depending on socio-economic status), where they also interact with each other. The artistically inclined may connect with each other on DeviantArt. And yes, there are many who blog (though they may have predominantly chosen a more social blogging platform like LiveJournal).
All of the above are social uses, which is quite age-appropriate. Some of them (certainly not all) will, just like their elders, pick up blogging later, when they find a need to express themselves in long-form writing. Teaching them how to blog is part of their education, or at least should be.
But none of this really applies to the cases I started this post with – these are young people who have been taught how to blog, have done it well, probably got positive feedback for it from the instructor and peers, and obviously have something to say. So, why do they quit?
Is it because they see it as homework? Something that needs to be done for class, and can be stopped once the final grades are in?
Or is it because all the feedback they get comes only from the instructor and classmates? The class is a small community which formally and automatically dissolves the moment the semester is over. If the community is gone, who are you writing for?
Would they continue blogging if they felt they were a part of a larger community and, more importantly, a continuous community, one that has no expiration date? If we all sent them traffic by linking to their posts from our blogs, Twitter, FriendFeed, Facebook etc., would they see that kind of feedback as a motivation to keep writing? If we posted comments on their blogs, would they feel like members of a broader community and would gladly continue engaging with it?
The same goes for even younger bloggers. Duke summer program had high schoolers blogging as well. How about Miss Baker’s students? Would comments on their posts be felt as intrusive or would they be seen as welcoming to a broader community and motivating to keep writing?
Are one-off events, e.g., attendance at ScienceOnline conferences, sufficient to give students enough momentum to continue long-term?
Jeff Polish’s students at Cary Academy.
You heard of HP, didn’t you? It’s a person (or company, perhaps Hewlett Packard for all I know) who donated to every single challenge on Social Media Challenge Giving Pages on DonorsChoose!
And now I hear that HP wants to give even more – but there is a method to that madness: you have to donate first! More anyone raises by Sunday, more that person’s Challenge gets from HP:
HP has been tracking the competition closely and has already made a $50 contribution to your page, as a result of all of your hard work. The good news? HP wants to make yet another contribution to your Giving Page. The more you raise by this Sunday, October 25, the more HP will contribute!
Next week, we will distribute $200,000, the rest of HP’s contribution, to all Social Media Challenge Giving Pages. But this time, your share will be calculated on a pro-rata basis based on the amount you’ve raised by Sunday. What does that mean? Now is the time to motivate your readers, followers, friends, fam and fans to donate to your page, so you can claim a larger share of the funds!
And there’s yet another bonus: after the Challenge is over, everyone who donated to your Giving Page will get a DonorsChoose.org Giving Card, courtesy of HP. Those donors will get to decide which projects are supported with HP’s $200,000 in funds.
See – that’s easy. Now all you need to do is click riiiiiight here….
As you are likely aware, the DonorsChoose campaign is in full swing here on Scienceblogs.com.
What you may not be aware is that Seed Media Group is in, with some nice prizes to the donors:
You can forward the donation receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to win some Swag Bags from ScienceBlogs, complete with Seed moleskin notebooks and tote bags, ScienceBlogs mugs and USB drives, and books from Yale University Press and Oxford University Press – we’ll draw a winner or winners every week in October.
Check out all the Sciblings’ challenges and pick some to give – a little bit by many people will go a long way.
As you can see, our challenges are currently in second place overall, behind a large group of “General Blogs”, leaving Twitter, Discover Blogs, Fashion Blogs, Gawker Media, Tech Blogs, BlogHer and others behind. Can we get to the #1 spot by the end of the month?
Of course, I would love it the best, if you donate to one of my challenges.
So far, two donors have given three donations to my challenges, with the total of $204.
Challenges The Joy Of Science!!!!!, Headline: Worms Tutor First Graders!, Alternative Energy and Conservation, The Lights In The Sky Are Stars, No Books Go Notebooks and Biology Games to Make Level 3’s and 4’s have been fully funded – all this week, and thanks to, among other, my donors.
How do you choose where to give?
You can take a look at those challenges that have very little time left:
First Graders Flip Over the Video on Their Blog has only 5 days left to go. Kinder-Garden has 10 and Flip For Learning! has 18 days to go. If not funded in time, those projects will not happen this year!
Or you can see which challenges require only a little bit of money to get fully funded:
Space and Beyond is missing only $58 to get fully funded. 1,2,3 – Look at Me (Learning Math) needs only $94 and Tick Tock : Time to Tell Time needs $102.
Or see which challenges work double, i.e., with various corporate sponsors doubling your contributions.
And if all of my challenges get funded soon, I’ll add some more. We have a whole month to help as many children and teachers as possible. Thank you.
ScienceBlogs campaign is kicking some behind – we are ahead of the Fashion Blogs, Twitter and Gawker challenges!!!