Using Social Media Tools in the Classroom: A Tool-Kit

Evidence: Resource Package containing suggestions for activities, consent forms and assessment of privacy risks for the mindmapping tool ‘Coggle’ (Oct 14, 2014)

OLTD 506 Learning Outcome addressed:

Develop emergent expertise with at least one social media tool for education.

  • Develop 2-3 developmentally appropriate activities for tool
  • Develop ‘useable’ permission form for tool use in BC K-12 school
  • Create content for student and parental training to address tool use and management of risks; or create incident response chart
  • Share resources with the field

Reflection to Support Evidence:

For the second major assignment in OLTD 506, I created a Resource Package for the digital mind mapping tool ‘Coggle’. This resource package was intended to supply instructors with enough information about the tool so that if they wished they could use it in their classroom with minimal extra research. The Resource Package provided:

  • three possible activities using Coggle
  • an analysis of relevant VIU policies regarding student conduct, technology use and privacy and how these policies may influence how the tool is used by students as a classroom tool
  • a student consent and user agreement form outlining identifiable privacy risks of the tool
  • a completed Planning and Tool Risk Assessment Worksheet (created by OLTD 506 instructor, Julia Hengstler)

Creating this resource package helped me realize how important it is to be aware of what policies should guide my assessment of a social media or other cloud tool. As I teach at a post-secondary institution, my guiding policies were somewhat different than those of my cohort that teach in the K-12 system, but the underlying principles are the same. It is important to ensure all students have a safe learning environment where their privacy is protected. I now understand what information is necessary to share with parents (or in my case the students themselves) prior to asking them to use a tool. The Planning & Tool Risk Assessment Worksheet prompted me to discover information about my chosen cloud tool that I had never before considered investigating. Understanding where to find cloud tools privacy policies, what personal information is collected and where it is stored, and whether privacy settings can be adjusted are all important pieces of information that can help determine whether or not a tool is appropriate for my students.

Social media tools can be ‘flashy’, trying to entice users with various bells and whistles. As an online or blended teacher, it is important to develop appropriate activities for any tool you wish to use, rather than let the tool guide how it will be used in an educational setting. If the tool does not fit the activity or learning outcome you wish to achieve, then a new tool must be chosen. When using social media tools, teachers must ensure that the parents (or adult students) have been informed of privacy risks and have given their consent. Knowing how to create a useable permission form for use in your classroom, as well as being able to share that resource with other educators, whether within your own school or your larger personal learning network, helps contribute to a socially responsible teaching community.

Coggle Resource Package Submission

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