Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Final Reflection-EdTech 543

It is hard to believe the semester has come to an end, and I am writing my reflection on EDtech 543 Social Networking.

I think it is important to note, I was not an avid social media contributor at the beginning of this course. I had to create a Facebook account specifically for this class, and I was pretty much using twitter the wrong way. I was an observer of social media instead of a contributor. So what happened that made me a contributor? It was the ease of having someone like our Professor and a course that showed you the professional side of social media, and how it is relevant.  I think I can sum up what I mean by the below example.

One of our projects was to contribute to a social media site with a certain number of new posts and comments. I choose Google Plus. One of the posts I made was a picture about using technology in the classroom. We were also to join different groups. I found groups relevant to my teaching such as business educators and an Economics page. I posted that picture in all my different groups and the reaction was incredible with how quickly the picture made its way to 150 and counting re-shares and 80 some comments from people with whom I've never met, some of whom would later be fresh additions to my now growing personal learning network. There was a couple of people who started following my google plus posts and comments on current event economics news and other class specific articles I was sharing. About two weeks after that assignment I was trying to find a "new" economics project for my students, something that was more collaborative and less like a traditional project. Without hesitation I set out to my Business educators page on google plus. Within in seconds I was corresponding with about ten different instructors who were giving me QUALITY ideas. I settled with a project that centered on trade creating wealth, a project I can say with confidence was the best class of the term, and also something I would have never come up with on my own.

The class was full of moments of PLN help for me. Learning how to properly surround myself with like minded educators in the social media sphere was worth every hour, minute, and day spent on assignments and the class. On top of growing my social media presence with a positive footprint I was able to create a practical social media guide for my campus, something that I would of put off probably another year if it weren't for this class and it's requirement.

As far as my blog usage, I usually sell myself a little short when doing self evaluations, but I feel my reflections and posts were as true to my feelings as they could have been. I think my reflections were appropriate in length and met the course requirements, thus my thoughts on being a 75/75.

Again, this class had an incredible amount of new information and practical social media uses. It was so much more than just using social media, it really introduced students to the culture of connectedness that builds centers of influence and PLN's helping the education industry grow in new ways.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Social Media Policies Proposal

This assignment as actually been something I've wanted to do for our campus for a while now. Below is my draft of a proposal and policy I would like to use.
To whom it may concern,

 I am writing you to address our social media policy integration initiative, that I would like to incorporate beginning January 21st 2014; the start of the Spring semester. The policy revolves around integrating a social media guideline for students, faculty and staff to follow campus wide. By incorporating a best practices social media policy, instructors and faculty can get a better concept driven feel using social media in the classroom as a tool and how to best tackle that objective. The guideline and plan I am presenting will follow 10 specific policies and practices that cover the broad range of benefits and features social media represents while keeping a safe and professional organization.  

 I have attached a detailed plan for getting the students started that covers the following information:

  • Best Practices for using social media responsibly 
  • Social Media definitions 
  • Student Policy
  • Employee Guidelines
  • Contacts for additional help and information
  • Instructor plans for classroom use
  • usage plan worksheet
  • General Social Media Policy
To start with, our plan will address the varying definitions of what social media is and is not. The changing landscape of new and emerging technology will require us as an organization to treat these definitions as a living document. A doctrine that will be continually updated and improved upon as the social media landscape continues to evolve and encompass various meanings. 

Social Media Definitions: What is Social Media? 

According to Merriam Webster Dictionary:

A comprehensive list of ALL social media sites is nearly impossible to produce given the new and emerging sites being produced as technology continues to evolve and change. The list below is representative of the most common and popular social media sites being used as of 2013. 
1. Facebook
2. Twitter
3. Blogger
4. Pinterest
5.Google Plus

These are all examples of popular social media sites. It is important to understand new sites and trends are emerging every day. Our policy and guidelines will be suitable for the usage of different sites and future sites, by setting a standard to be followed that best displays professionalism and a positive digital footprint from the start. 

General Guidelines:
* The purpose of using these communication channels on behalf of McCann School of Business is to support McCann’s mission, goals, programs, and sanctioned efforts, including news, information, content and directives.

* Prior to engaging in any form of social media involving McCann School of Business, you must receive permission from the supervisor as appointed by your department head and notify the Director of Communications.
* When using an officially recognized social media channel, assume at all times that you are representing McCann School of Business.

* Confidential or proprietary school information or similar information of third parties, who have shared such information with you on behalf of McCann School of Business, should not be shared publicly on these social media channels.
*, as well as McCann’s main social media accounts may choose to post school related social media content generated by faculty, staff and/or students. McCann’s main social media accounts can be accessed through the faculty or student portal Web site.

Employee Guidelines:
* Keep employee records and information confidential

* Use of the Facebook page is not appropriate use as your personal page
* Follow all applicable state, federal, and university laws, faculty and staff handbooks, regulations, and policies, such as FERPA, and HIPPA Regulations. Any content and/or online activity created by a poster or site moderator that violates these ordinances, or contains/leads to the release of a student’s private personal information is strictly prohibited and should be removed.

* Protect confidential information with privacy laws, especially FERPA: "The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education. 
* Templates, proper logos, and department color numbers are available from the Marketing Department. Please be careful to use only the approved logos, colors and templates for backgrounds, avatars and other electronic communications that are pre-approved.

* Please use common sense when posting and respect that each post is representative of the McCann School of Business Name.
* Whenever, as a member of the McCann faculty, you utilize a social medium as a means of student participation in course work is sure to provide a practical and appropriate alternative for students who may be unable or reluctant to utilize that social medium (for example, some students may not be comfortable with opening a Facebook account).

Student Guidelines:
Follow proper netiquette and professionalism for appropriate use of social media.  Netiquette is Based on the definition from the dictionary, a noun that represents the social and moral code of all on-line interactions among users and social media behavior. It is a concept of appropriate social intelligence while using and communicating on the Internet. Netiquette can be likening to your table manners in an on-line environment. It focuses on respect, courtesy, and common misconception elements some find while trying to communicate a message in cyberspace. Netiquette is appropriate in every on-line space from social media, e-mails, Twitter, blogs, forum post and beyond. The way we behave in the on-line environment echoes who we are as a person to those who are not in a physical location with us, but rather in a proxy setting on-line.

For more information, please visit Jason Marconi's Netiquette home page, developed in Educational Technology class 502: 

Student Policy:

* Sign your post with your real name and indicate your relationship to Mccann. Do not use pseudonyms or post anonymously.
* Respect the views of others, even if you disagree.

* Be truthful, accurate and complete in describing Mccann programs and services.

* Strive to be accountable to Mccann audiences via regular updates and prompt responses when appropriate.
* Obey the Terms of Service of any social media site or platform in which you participate.

* Whenever appropriate, link back to information posted on the school's website instead of duplicating content. 
* Do not use social media to harass, threaten, insult, defame or bully another person or entity; to violate any College policy; or to engage in any unlawful act, including but not limited to gambling, identity theft or other types of fraud.

* Do not post or store content that is obscene, pornographic, defamatory, racist, excessively violent, harassing, threatening, bullying or otherwise objectionable or injurious. In addition, do not attempt to compromise the security of any Mccann social media site or use such site to operate an illegal lottery, gambling operation, or other illegal venture.
* Do not post copyrighted content (such as text, video, graphics or sound files) without permission from the holder of the copyright. Remember, even information that is widely available to the public (such as text, photographs, or other material posted on the Internet) may be subject to copyright restrictions that prohibit unauthorized duplication or dissemination. For more information, please review the McCann School of Business Copyright Policy posted on the student portal.

* Do not make false claims or representations about Mccann programs or services, and do not speculate or guess if you do not know the information.

* Do not spread gossip, rumors, or other unverified information. Furthermore, do not assume that everything posted on a social media site is true. 
* Do not disclose confidential information

*You are encouraged to link to your source material ANY TIME you are able. This will help reduce the possibility of misinformation and it will drive traffic.
All staff, faculty and students are asked to read and answer these questions before engaging in social media whether through personal use or for the school. The University of Oregon has inspired this checklist and Vanderbilt based on their social media policy guidelines.

Create a social media plan by writing out answers to the following questions:

  • Responsible People: Who will have the responsibility for populating, maintaining and monitoring your social media presence? Do they have skills and time? List the team members. AVOID relying only on students. School faculty or staff member must have administrative privileges to all accounts and is responsible for controlling permissions and security to the accounts.
  • Main Goals and Strategies: What do you hope to do? Launch a campaign, promote your department, and communicate externally? With alumni, media or donors? Internal communications? Define your goal and list promotions tactics, ex. “We will list our Facebook url on all print materials.”
  • Define and Measure Your Success: What do you hope to gain? How will you know when you have it? Do you want increased traffic to your website? More energetic give and take with prospective students? You want to reach out to new colleagues on campus or around the world. Define success, how you will measure it, and the tools you need to measure it (Google Analytics?).
  • Who's coming to your party?: This is about audience. Targeting specific groups, like prospective students, English faculty members, the class of ‘95 will help you tailor your content and conversation. List your primary audiences. Do you have secondary ones, too? How will you reach out to them initially? Remember simply setting up a Facebook page isn't enough. You have to invite people there.
  • Engagement and conversations: Nobody likes it when you talk constantly about yourself. It shows bad social skills. In social media, you need to be a good conversationalist. Sometimes small talk is more valuable than messaging. How will you engage informally with your audience? For example, the most active conversations on McCann’s Facebook page sometimes center on the best things to do on a sunny spring day. Pepper your presence with questions. It is, after all, social media.
  • Shhh… Before you talk, listen: What are people saying in similar spots? What are people saying about you? Who is talking? List who is talking, about what, and where?
  • Content: What content will you share? Is it news or engagement-based? Images? Video? List the content you will be sharing via social media and the kinds of things you think are successful. Remember, it is social, so it should not always be about you. Sometimes, it should be about your users. Will you solicit input from them? How will you foster the loyalty required to defend you when you need it most?
  • Evaluation: Schedule an evaluation of your effort’s success based on the plan you outlined by answering these questions. Be ready to recast your site’s content and strategy. Regular evaluation should also be part of your effort. It's OK to fail on some things. Set out your timeline. This is not a project. It is an ongoing effort.

Instructor Plan for Social Media Use in the classroom

The following should be used as guideline for instructors looking to utilize the benefits of social media as a learning tool. 
* Create and follow a plan ahead of time. You attempt to incorporate social media without a policy or plan you will be at risk of failure and then perhaps even a disregard for future activities, because it was unsuccessful. 

* Explain the "why" to students thoroughly, and understand the “why” for yourself as an educator. Before adopting social media as a tool just to adopt it, research its benefits. Create a foundation for yourself as to what social media site is best for your purpose and what you want to accomplish.
*Create a rubric for students to follow that nudges them towards your ultimate goal with the social media. Leaving the commenting and usage up to the students may not result in what you are looking for. Setting a rubric that specifies commenting, posting, and sharing will help the students recognize what you are looking for.  The rubric should follow your plan and have that plans goals as the center piece along with what you want the learning outcome to be. Again, using social media as the tool to get there instead of as the learning itself. 

*Maintain positive and functional feedback to the students while encouraging them to have a voice. 
* Explain to the students that will have contact with outside centers of influence they are representing not only our school, but also themselves as a personal brand as well as you the instructor. Constant professionalism is key. 

* Always, have a backup plan. Relying 100% on technology or social media for an entire lesson plan or entire weeks’ worth of instruction is dangerous. Connectivity is never a guarantee so always have a plan B for what you wish to accomplish

* Plan to incorporate students that may fall within the digital divide. If you have students working with social media outside classroom hours, be sure to have alternatives for those who may not have access to devices or the Internet. No one should feel left out, and no should feel slighted due to their circumstances. Plan this accordingly. 
* Survey, Survey, Survey. Gaining feedback from your students is important. Do not wait until the end to gather feedback, you want to gauge the entire process from the students (and sometimes parents) perspective from beginning, middle, and end.  This is especially important if you're using social media for the first time.   

* Don't fear the unknown. If you are unsure where to start with incorporating social media, network with those who have.  There is a best practices page on our employee portal, utilize this to interact with other instructors who have been using social media. 
* Stay current and stay informed. Students are aware of what is new and what is old as far as social media is concerned. Staying updated on which platform to use and how to use it, will bode well for when you're writing a lesson plan. Adopting an educational approach to new technology will also be impressive in the student’s eyes. 
* Share!  Social media would not be what it is today, if everyone kept to themselves. Sharing with parents, other faculty and the FULL student body will help in our best practices approach and help build our social media presence for the better. 

Contact for questions and info:
For campus support and questions contact John  Doe IT program Director, or Jane DoeRegistrar

 Technical Support:  Contact the Help Desk, which is on speed dial 3 or e-mail them

Other questions and answers can be found in our employee handbook and student handbook under Media guidelines and procedures section four. 

This policy has been pieced together with the help of other existings policies found in a search of College Campus social media policies. The reference sheet can be found below.


Boudreaux, C. (n.d.). Policy Database. Chris Boudreaux on Social Media Governance. Retrieved November 7, 2013, from

Lasica, J. (n.d.).  Best practices for developing a social media policy. Retrieved November 7, 2013, from

 (2012, January 1). Social Media Policy. Marketing Communications. Retrieved November 7, 2013, from

(2013, January 1). University of Houston. Social Media Policy -. Retrieved November 7, 2013, from

University of Oregon. (n.d.). Social Media Best Practices. Digital and Social Media Communications. Retrieved November 7, 2013, from

Friday, November 1, 2013

Learning/ideas/applications about using social media in my teaching through project research.

Key Learning, ideas, applications found from project examples:

The first projects I found and read about were from the social media blog post of University of Georgia. This blog had a list of student projects and each inspired me to write lesson plans for similar projects. The one project that caught my eye was selling art in second life. It is fair to say a good majority of my freshman students consider themselves "gamers".  Second Life while not as popular as it was three to five years ago is still a recognized online game. Cash and game currency transactions are increasing in popularity and academic textbooks for E-commerce and Marketing are taking notice as well. This type of lesson plan would talk directly to my students' interest, I just never knew how to incorporate it.  The project shows how one student made digital art and then sold it on Second Life. Using that social medium I can demonstrate to students different social media marketing concepts as well as getting them to think beyond social media marketing meaning Facebook ads.  I went back to that list of projects and found one more I really enjoyed which was a Sports Blog Post. My colleagues and  I try to incorporate blogs as a class participation and a way for students to do written homework assignments. This blog in particular was designed by a student to follow his favorite division in hockey and blog about it, from trades to the business side of hockey it was professionally done and well written. Giving the students a professional topic they have an interest in I think would create more of a passion and response towards blogging. 

The next project used curation as a tool for a marketing project. To be honest before my classes, I often stuck to the tried and true marketing class experiences, drawing logos, branding old products, and using social media for marketing in a very "safe" way.  I mean safe as what was easiest for me to manage as far as the classroom is concerned.  This project was for students to use curation and social media for their main class project. The project I'm sharing and found resourceful as a business education instructor was regarding branding insights from a journalist. In BU240 our Marketing class we deal with branding and using curation as a project tool seems like a natural fit. The example I used was about branding. This particular curation about branding is the same one I plan on showing as an example to my class. They used Storyful, which is like Storyify and curated from around the Internet all different resources about brand awareness. It was a great example of using social media's different platforms to hammer home a important marketing concept. The example shows not only written articles but also diagrams, charts, and videos. Showing that to students would be a benefit because they would recognize  the need to research branding from different learning styles, not just reading about it, but finding other representations. That thought was really the biggest accomplishment I took away from this project. Every example paved the way for me to have students use social media in a way to build further on the power points, and reading I ask them to pay attention to and do on a nightly basis. It's one thing to read about brand awareness in their text book, it's another to create that awareness on their social media pages. Another great benefit from these projects that I can show my students is showing them how these projects build their digital portfolio that aides in their employability. I cannot sugar coat how fierce the competition is in the job market especially for marketing. These types of projects they are participating in act as a great living documentation of their marketing ability, and understanding of concepts such as brand awareness. While it won't guarantee them the job, it certainly won't hurt. The hands on experience in establishing and working with an actual brand awareness campaign through social media would be easier to draw upon during an interview than just the definition given in a power point lecture. That thought about interviews, and building an online project portfolio really had me excited to take some of these idea's right back into the classroom for the students. 

The thought of building a digital portfolio was the major takeaway from this project. My second major takeaway came from a project I read about that didn't quite fit into my business classes, but had an overall community theme that I felt was an important note to bring back to students. The Charleston Chalk board brought forth a sense of community and the power of social media. This project made the sense of community linked to social media a very real connection. Community pride is something every successful leader and business professional should share. This project has led me to meet with other business adjuncts to try and create a community awareness project that we can incorporate into all of our classes. It's hard to believe that before that initial meeting we've never even thought of something like this.  I understand we get so comfortable and so use to our routine day in and day out in the classroom as well as the tried and true lesson plans, that thinking about larger projects during the  semester can be difficult. I spoke with the adjuncts about those feelings, and we all agreed that using that as a crutch is no longer intelligent for a student focused, student driven, business. I know the majority of us at this meeting having this conversation didn't feel we were in that dreaded teaching rut, but it was important to make it generalized to speak to those who perhaps were or realized they were.  We are now moving forward with a plan to use our marketing, finance, management, and small business class to help a local non for profit company increase their awareness, both community wide and through social media. The next phase of our plan is to come up with class specific assignments that all contribute in some way, similar to the project I detailed in Depaul's Digital PR class. 

Overall this project brought light to some great ideas teachers and classes have already established for projects. What I liked most about it, was the excitement it gave me to put my own business class twist on it.  While some of the projects seemed great for their time, I think with some of the resources I have available I can build upon their great ideas, like a physical curation of projects. Some ideas I feel are solid, and want to reuse. Ultimately I think the students will benefit the most from this project, as they have from others. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

PLE Reflection Post

What did you learn about yourself when looking at your PLE?

Once I was done figuring out what exactly I wanted to include in my PLE, I took a long hard look at the visual representations and came to a couple realizations. The first revelation was I am a creature of habit. I seldom try new a app., or community if I'm already comfortable with what I am getting out of the current communities I'm involved in. My problem is my attention bounces from one thing to another, then back, and then poof gone to something else. The communities I participate in allow me to explore my interests even when they change monthly, weekly, and yes, even daily.  For example, I was first introduced to Blogger in my first semester at Boise State. During that time, I thought it was great for class purposes and a great avenue to write. Then as I became more comfortable with it and my attention for using blogger purely for school shifted, I found my purpose for it also shifted. I found a blog written by pseudonym Brown Moses, and began following his writing and became fascinated by his journalism covering the Syrian conflict. That sums up my attention span pretty well I think. I started with education blogs and ended up taken in by a war blog. That is the point I realized though, all of my PLE's offer me that variety within their communities, and the same concept once I looked at my fellow classmates PLE’s seemed to hold true as well. I did not have to give up blogger for education to gain blogger for the Syrian conflict; it was wrapped up in a neat package for me to explore whatever catches my attention for that week.  I noticed all of my PLE's offer me that escape. Should I grow tired of looking at Education Technology posts in Google +, I'm a click away from a community that allows me an Economics fix. These communities are tailored for someone who cannot get enough information about EVERYTHING at any given point in time, whether its Malcom Gladwell or Adam Smith, I don't have to go far to be surrounded by people who are talking about what I'm fascinated by at that given moment.  The second revelation was I would not have 3 quarters of this list if it wasn't for my classes at Boise State.  The curriculum written for Ed Tech, has thrust me into these communities and with good reason, every one of them is relevant in their own way.  My final revelation was I choose all of my PLE's selfishly. My PLE's were chosen based on the question, “how can this make my life easier?”. I need my communities of influence or PLE’s  to add value to me or my students, save me time or both. For twitter, I find it easier to compare news and validate that news by taking in all the different sources twitter can offer. Evernote saves me time when I can share lecture notes, and Soundcloud puts all of my Economist Podcasts in one spot.  All have "yes" as the answer to whether or not they add value to my life.  For a long time Facebook added zero value to me. I created an account for this specific class, and I am not sure, if I will use it more after this class ends, but for right now, it still adds value to my life for this class. When I thought about that, I came to realize, these apps today could be fleeting technology tomorrow and open the doors to new and improved value. In that moment, I became like a little kid waiting for new toys. My new toys just happen to be new PLE's as I discover them. 

How does your PLE compare to other peers in class? Write a self-reflection and a comparative analysis that discusses similarities and differences between yours and your classmates' diagrams. This analysis should be in terms of content not the type of creation. Post a link to your blog (about what you discovered in creating your PLE diagram and comparing it to your classmates - examine at least 6 classmates' diagrams to get a full picture) in our Facebook page.

Something that jumped out at me when viewing other people's diagram is what I call the big four.  The four communities that everyone seemed to be a part of. Those being Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Google +. Where I really found the differences in professional and personal style were in what we choose after the big four.  That is where you found some very interesting and unique PLE's.  For me, the newest addition of Storify was what I preferred due to the flexibility it allowed for me to create meaningful lesson plans. It also seemed popular with some of the twitter chats I participated in as a recap tool. Most chats would archive some of the responses in Storify. This allowed me to go back and find people that contributed answers to the questions that I normally may have over looked given the speed of twitter chats, which grow my PLN.  I also added Engrade, which I found to be unique to my PLE compared to other students. Engrade is an online grade book, which gives you the ability to have students turn in assignments by uploading word documents, as well as create wikis for videos and lesson plans on top of being a grade book tool, I use Engrade the most, and have gained the most from it.  Engrade as a resource itself was different in name but not in terms of what it accomplishes once I compared my PLE to the others. While other people may have not had Engrade specifically, they did have interesting alternatives. In addition, where I used Storify and twitter to increase my personal learning and attend webinars I found some suggestions such as as a great alternative I never knew about until comparing PLE's. Another difference I noticed when comparing PLE's is that I have not explored off the beaten path options as much as I could. Most of my preferred environments are the ones that come recommended from itunes, or other blogs. I have a feeling there are so many quality alternatives out there that other students and professional have found. A great point about this project was it allowed different students to observe what other educators are using to grow as professionals. For example, one comment on my Facebook post was "I never used or heard of Evernote or Engrade before".  At one point in time, I had never heard of them either, and now I cannot imagine my day-to-day efficiency running the same without them. I think before the assignment I never had that A-HA moment about how PLE's grow and adapt to the individual. I thought of PLE's as just these established communities you are a part of when you subscribe to a social network, or use an APP that is cross platform and connected.  Then I read that Facebook comment and thought to myself, PLE is a never ending, constantly evolving, living environment where we can grow at any minute in any moment of time, from something as simple as a diagram.  The second A-HA moment came from just how fortunate we are to be as connected to each other through these influences as we are. I spoke about the big four, and how everyone seemed to have similar PLE's. Those PLE's have the ability to connect millions of people from all over the world. There is a reason they are so popular. There is a reason we can grow and learn from each other better than ever. We grow using an invisible network connecting educators and those passionate about education. Our PLE's and our access to each other makes that possible. Looking at every one's different diagram that showed a distinction of their personality with the extension of their networks shows that invisible link that binds us all.  I remember a freshman foundations class in philosophy during my undergraduate studies when we spent a week diving into the head of Nietzsche. There was this one quote that I could not think of word for word, so I cracked open that book(old school PLE’s hahaha) and found it to be perfect for how I feel about this assignment and every one's PLE's in comparison to mine. 

“Invisible threads are the strongest ties.”-Friedrich Nietzsche

Our PLE's are that connection to each other, and to each other’s intelligences in our specific subjects and interests. The tools and creation we use to form them, and grow them, truly are the strongest ties. A-HA moment complete hahaha. Great job everyone; I truly enjoyed every one's visual, and learned some great new tools as well! 


Monday, October 21, 2013

Real Time and Live Virtual Professional Development

My first twitter chat was a little rocky. Everyone seemed so in tune and by in tuned I mean SUPER fast at responding and participating, it flowed very quickly. It was a little overwhelming. Some of the moderators who would ask questions to elicit a deeper response from you was also a little tough. It is difficult for me to make half a point in 140 characters or to discuss something like the deeper context of what "fun" means in the classroom. I find it difficult to tackle those deeper questions with limited ability to do so, and make sense. I found it hard to make an intelligent response to a fully developed idea. On top of that, by the time I did respond there were already several new topics of discussion.  I think perhaps I approached the whole process wrong. In my mind, I expected the chat to flow a little bit slower and stay on one central topic where people responded to others reactions and thoughts and shared more of a group interaction. I think #edcaht has too big a following for smaller pockets of people to interact with each other. Although it is possible with mentions and conversations. I moved on from there to the #ConnectEd chat. In this chat, I found my speed increasing with pre-written answers to the questions in Evernote. This allowed me to just copy and paste my answers and then comment on other peoples. When I took that time, I felt like I was able to connect with other people and contribute positively to their thoughts.   In the #connected chat we discussed the importance of planning and using the resources available to us to build a better classroom experience.  The conversation focused on what it meant to be connected and how we benefit personally as well from being connected. A point that many people mentioned was one we learned in class. The importance and significance of expanding, building, and learning from our own PLN's and how being connected allows for that bright influence in our lives both personally and professionally. One of the most incredible and honest responses from this assignment came from this chat. 
  "I never knew how much I didn't know, and that's a good thing"

I think at one point or another we have all experienced that feeling, and that particular poster puts it in words we could understand and feelings we have experienced.  The next twitter chat I participated in was #Satchat. I will participate in this chat a lot going forward. The first thing I appreciated was how it felt like a smaller gathering compared to #edchat.  They also incorporated a live video feed during the questions and answers. They also had people that drove to their high school to sit and participate in the chat and answer questions live.  The whole crew had a great personality and spoke with honesty during their replies. In the #edchat feeds there were times I felt like some posters were posting just to post, and had a hint of condescension within their answers. In this chat I felt everyone respected the contributions and provided a really positive engaging atmosphere. My only complaint about this particular chat was how bad it was trolled by fake twitter accounts. I never experienced some of the downright nasty inappropriate tweets some people with nothing better to do with their hands sent in with the #satchat hashtag. I understand you'll have that when dealing with such a large network like Twitter.  In the #satchat we spoke about autonomy in professional growth, something my institution really focuses on and does well. I was happy to be able to contribute and get others feedback on what districts do right and wrong when it comes to professional growth. One big take away that I agreed with with from the conversation was the fact that teachers are the content experts in their subject field and can contribute professional growth by being connected.  Speaking of connected, the concepts discussed in all of these chats seemed interconnected and can easily build off each other for a better educational technology integration district wide as well as individuals in the classroom. It was pretty awesome to see how they can come to together to help those willing.

My last twitter chat was #edtechchat. It followed connected educators month and asked different ways we stay connected in our profession. I will admit I've never seen PLN used so many times by so many people all at once on twitter haha. Some of the key elements discussed were also linked. The links were really hard to track down and actually explore but I did find two links that took you to other archived twitter chats that had suggestions for apps and how to use edmodo. During the Chat, since it was my last one I am confident in saying the theme to education technology in districts right now is the following:
1. autonomous professional growth
2. BYOD (bring your own device)
3. growing PLN's to an unlimited size
4. Curation and Collaboration
5. Twitter is king for connecting

Or pretty much everything we've been discovering in this class ha-ha. The buzz around PLN's was really overwhelmingly popular in every twitter chat and webinar. It makes sense, given how many tools are at our disposal now to form and build PLN's. It is no longer visiting other districts during faculty meeting or exchanging business cards at conferences, I can exchange business cards every second at any time as long as I'm connected. How TRULY incredible is that? 

The webinars were the hardest for me to find, and schedule around. I am lucky it was connected educators months, because a good number of private education companies took advantage of that to promote their services hidden in an open webinar. The first webinar I attended was also what I thought was the best webinar I've attended in person or on line in years. It was put on by three teachers in three different districts in the same state using Google hangout. What I liked most was they brought in successful projects from their districts that had zero costs associated with them, but integrated technology for the students. From collaborative blogs, to using Google hang out, I came away with three solid ideas that played off their ideas for my own use. That to me is the mark of a great webinar. When you can take an idea and use it with your own spin in your own class to build a great experience.  Right after the webinar, I went right to work drafting a plan to use Google hangouts, to do a collaborative stock market game with two other campuses. So far, it is going really well, and the students feel better connected and expanded their network to other students at a completely different campus.  I really connected with what they were talking about and the type of classroom they were trying to create an intra and inter-connected environment.

The next webinar I attended was about using technology to make a better library. This was a webinar that because it was not in my wheelhouse I would not have normally attended and took very little away from.  I was surprised though at a universal concept that can apply beyond the walls of a library. The moderator showed a 10-minute video of students in the library, at first it looked as though the students were all zombified to their phones, but as you saw more of the video you could start to sense that they weren't texting they were using their phones as classroom tools. This then led to the power and affordability that bring your own device (BYOD) theory plays into.

My next webinar was about anchor standards and common cores. This webinar was clearly for administrators and the moderator may have been one of the worst communicators to a lay audience I've experienced. At a variety of points in the webinar the comments box was full of question marks and people asking for clarification. She spoke from a specialist’s standpoint, using jargon, acronyms, and a vocabulary that was losing her audience by the minute. At one point, the total participant count was around 250, at the end in a matter of a seven-minute span 140 people dropped off the webinar and some expressed their disgust with how the webinar was being handled. I saw where they were coming from, but if you attended the webinar as an administrator who was familiar with the concepts it was probably a great webinar to attend. I did appreciate the connected cores they discussed they built off the learning foundation started in 3rd grade and progresses to how students should be performing their senior year.

My last webinar was Strategies for mobile selection.  What I really liked about this webinar was that it followed a school district from the infancy to the implementation stages of acquiring funding, proposing, and going forward with technology in a school district. They were honest with the bonds they sought and about the hurdles, they faced. I asked some specific questions regarding parent reactions and the moderators agreed the community really rallied around the district's initiative. This leads me to a feeling of pure jealousy for what they are accomplishing. I was jealous because a lot of times what we want to do in our area is a much more intricate political dance. The community that we were discussing in the webinar seems to be located in a higher socioeconomic environment. Our market and student population falls from one side of the digital divide to the next. What I liked about the webinar is they addressed the blurring of the lines from formal and informal learning on a budget.  It is frustrating how fortunate some students in the right district are for these initiatives, I'd like to see the lines blurred even more to connect ALL families.  I remember President Clinton started the Home PC in every Home initiative and  I dream of having something like that along with furthering connectivity with those PC's, specifically Wifi for those in the digital divide. For the webinar itself compared to the other webinars there did seem to be less interaction among the participants. I asked about three relative questions, but those were as they came to me. The presentation was more about informing us what these districts did to be successful and not very discussion friendly.