In honor of National Digital Citizen Week, we are tackling a big question: To follow or not to follow? As educators, we are terrified of connecting online with a student. Will it be perceived as something too personal, too close, and result in the questioning of our ethics? This has caused us to shy away from connecting with students and their families.
In our personal lives, we use social media to stay connected with family and friends. We even use it to learn and grow more professionally. We also know building strong relationships with our students is imperative to a productive learning environment. Because of this, we have to step into our students’ world. Social media gives us an opportunity to connect with our students and become stakeholders in their lives. It also gives us the chance to guide our students in telling a positive digital story. What our students do online is not a digital footprint that can be washed away, it's a digital tattoo that stays with us forever. Connecting with students through social media opens conversations about appropriate uses of social media and allows for teaching and modeling.
To connect with your students online consider these things:
1. Create a classroom or professional account to model appropriate use.
2. Highlight student achievements.
3. Allow your students to follow your professional account--and follow them back.
Most importantly, make your students accountable for what they are posting. Talk to them about it. The world our students are growing up in has become a very public one. Today, if a mistake is made online, it can cause damage that might never be repaired. On the other hand, social media can provide a great platform for students to showcase moments of pride, excitement, and proactive opinions.
Embracing social media allows us to meet with students on their own playground. Consider taking this opportunity to build relationships and open communication lines. Support and lead your students as they begin to tell their digital story.
For a preview to "#digcit", our monthly digital citizenship Smore, click here.
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Wouldn't it be nice is there was one site that had all your favorite royalty free images, videos, and music in one place? Well, there is. It's called Makerbook and I am grateful to Nick Cusumano (@edtech4theatre) for giving me a heads up about this on Twitter recently. Here's how it works.
Makerbook is a one-stop shop for all the free multimedia resources you could possibly need for your classroom. Need some images or stock video for your latest green screen project? No problem. Looking for some music for a photo slideshow? Makerbook has you covered. In fact, they have links to all the best sites for free images, video, music, fonts and more.
Everything on Makerbook is handpicked for quality and selection so you can be sure of finding some decent websites to use. What's more, they are promising to update it as new sites become available, and if you find something before they do, you can suggest a site to Makerbook for inclusion in the directory.
As with any use of multimedia resources from the web, it is always good practice to cite the source of the media that you are using. This is a good habit to instill in students with any project they are working on, regardless of how "free" the media is.
So, if you have not tried Makerbook before, it is well worth checking out. I know that it will save a whole lot of room on my bookmarks bar, and it can for you too!
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