So Comes the Start of #SciStuChat for 2015-2016 School Year. (http://wp.me/p17e1J-6R)

We are thrilled to announce our first #SciStuChat of the school year will be a collaboration with the US Department of Energy. With the help of NSTA (National Science Teachers Association) the DoE reached out and asked if we would be willing to co-host a Twitter chat about bio-energy on the #SciStuChat hashtag. We jumped at the chance to work with the Department of Energy and their wealth of resources and connections.

bioenergizeme

For those who are unfamiliar with #SciStuChat you can learn more at scistuchat.com but here are some of the basics. Sci = scientists. Stu = Students (high school). Chat = Twitter synchronous discussion using a hashtag.  The discussions were first organized in 2011 and have continued once a month between Sept and May of the school year. Topics have covered Earth Science, ie, volcanoes, tornadoes, black holes. Life science ie, cloning, evolution, sharks. Physical science, ie, green chemistry and everything in between.

bioenergy

All high school students are invited to participate along with their science teachers. Science/STEM minded professionals ex, scientists, science writers, engineers, technology, mathematicians, and anyone with strong energy toward science and science education are also encouraged to join the discussion whether or not they are experts on the topic for that month. Science thinkers are all we really need.

The monthly discussion takes place on the 2nd Thursday of each month at 9 pm Eastern Time. The chat runs for an hour using the #scistuchat hashtag on Twitter. If you are not familiar with how to use a hashtag to facilitate a discussion or how to participate, check out the video below.

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Twitter in high school, a short journey. – http://wp.me/p17e1J-6O

Below are links to several of my blog posts that document many of the benefits for using Twitter (social media in general) in the high school classroom. Some of the links also show the steps myself and others took in our school district to encourage the unblocking of Twitter.

  • Benefits of Social Media in class. – http://wp.me/p17e1J-5Z vine instagram twitter
  • Twitter finally unblockd in my school district. http://wp.me/p17e1J-5y includes benefits to students and the process I went through to keep pushing the district.
  • This Google Hangout On Air was only possible because of the connections I was able to make on twitter. http://wp.me/p17e1J-4s
  • Twitter can provide on the spot connection with experts http://wp.me/p17e1J-3A
  • You might concider sitting down with the super and show them the benefits by hand – if you have the time. – This is what I would show them http://wp.me/p17e1J-38 3 ways to use twitter. Without an account, with an accout, with an account and actually tweeting.
  • Points for trying to convince my district to unblock Twitter. http://wp.me/p17e1J-2h – there is a chance you have already covered these topics with your higher-ups but thought it might help anyway.
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Suspended, blocked, and lock accounts Oh My – How can we get our students signed up on Twitter?

If you have attempted to get your students sign up for Twitter accounts at the beginning of the school year in class you know that it can be a huge pain.

Some of the problems include…

  • Verify the account with a phone number when the students already had an account linked to that phone number
  • Limiting confirmation to phone number, some students don’t have cell phones, there is no confirmation through e-mail.
  • On the rare chance you can use email confirmation…..
    • Twitter will tell you the email account is already being used when it actually had never been used for Twitter.
  • Twitter not allowing multiple signups from the IP address.

We realize the problems listed above are safety measures to prevent Twitter bots and computers from making mass accounts to spam all of us.  But we are still hoping to find solutions to the problems before we start the new school year.

Please share you thoughts and ideas with Joshua Marsh @jjsmarsh or myself, Adam Taylor @2footgiraffe. Or post ideas in the comments section.

If we collect solutions that work, we will post them here. 

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Scientist on Twitter: Compilation Video

(Thanks for the RT and visit but please submit a video…. Pretty please)

Hey all, I realized my little project needs a little better explanation.

Here is my original request with a short video explanation.

https://twitter.com/2footgiraffe/status/567490166915620864

As you know some individuals need a little coaxing to get started on Twitter. My friend Tricia Shelton @TdiShelton and I are presenting at the NSTA conference in March. We will have several opportunities to share Twitter with science educators. One of the biggest benefits of Twitter is the easy access we get to scientists like you.

So I am asking you to make a short 10 video clip to include in a video compilation that will be shared at the conference and passed around the interwebs in the future.

How do I want the videos sent to me?

Lots of options

  • Instagram – @taylorsci
  • Vine app, but you will only have 6 seconds
  • Record on your phone and email it to me
  • Load to dropbox and share with me
  • Upload on youtube and send me the link
  • I am open to other suggestions as well
  • Contact me if you need my email address

It is important to know that the video quality isn’t a big deal. I am more concerned about the content being coherent and concise.

Please, don’t be shy, remember this is for the progress of science and for all human kind. If you have scientists friends who are willing to help, please invite them for me. :) Thanks to @Choosy_Female and @DoreenMcVeigh who have already submitted a 10 second clip.

Thanks

Adam Taylor

ps – once the compilation is complete you are welcome to share with any and all.  

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Why Should You Broadcast Your Class Live? Parents, Students, Admin, You! -http://wp.me/p17e1J-6o

Broadcast your class live every day, every period, all day. Benefit #1 – Parents can tune in and see what their child is doing. Benefit #2 – Students who are sick at home can still learn while laying in bed, assuming they are not too sick to do so. Benefit #3 – Most broadcasting tools will simultaneously record thus providing a video archive of class events, class activities, quality of instruction, a chance to review and reflect on your own teaching methods, plus also provide the context behind class disruptions and distractions.

By the time you are done reading this you will likely have generated your own thoughts or list of benefits for broadcasting and recording class live. Please share in the comments below.

To be upfront about things, very few parents have actually watched class live. I would love if more parents would embrace the opportunity but I also realize people are busy and may not have the tech to do so. Nonetheless I still feel it is important to provide the service.

The first concern most educators have is privacy issues of students. The second concern is whether parents will allow their students to be on video. Lastly, will admin allow live video in the classroom.

Hopefully my answers to these concerns will ease your mind and bring confidence to your live broadcast pursuit. The truth is all three concerns can be answered easily. It is all about the parents. The admin I have worked with have been supportive of the things I want to do as longs as parents are on board. When I first started broadcasting I sent home a form for parents to read and sign. Basically the form asked permission to share the students image publicly. It also asked permission to share video of students working in class or participating in school events. Most parents signed the form and sent it back with students. If parents would not sign the form or indicated they did not want their child on video then I would position the student off camera. It is true that audio of the student might make it into the video and that class activities might bring the student into view temporarily. Parents realize this is the case and have been very understanding. Currently the district I teach in has an acceptable use policy which covers my classroom needs. In addition to that I have adopted an opt-out plan. Handouts go home, emails are sent, and unless I hear otherwise students will be on video. Video quality of my broadcasts also helps to add a small level of privacy. Check the video below. I have considered finding ways to add a password to the broadcast to help maintain privacy but that would make it less likely parents, students, and admin will actually check out the class. When people walk into my room I tell them to be aware that there is a live video feed and they are on camera. Most people do not mind. The ones who do mind do not stay in my room long or pretend it does not bother them.

Validity of broadcasting live doubled for me when we had a class activity and I reminded the students the video was live. Students asked if they could text the link to parents. A few parents tuned in and were actually texting back to the student and responding to some of the questions we were asking. This had been one of my goals from day one. Needless to say I was thrilled.

Broadcasting can also be used to share what is happening in your class with other parts of the school, city, state…… Last year I occasionally emailed teachers a link to the live feed so other classes would be able to watch us feed the class snakes. We have had guest speakers and video chats where other classes participated from different rooms (Google Hangouts On Air can also work as a video conference tool like skype but with Google 10 different people/classrooms can join the discussion). Some schools have used live broadcasting to share athletic events, band concerts, and poetry readings with the public. Imagine the family of a student in another part of the world tuning in to see their grandson graduate from high school. Or a father or mother serving in the military watch their child perform in the school play.

If the fun side of broadcasting class did not get you, then maybe the practical side will. -When are you being recorded on video? If you are a teacher you must assume you are always being recorded. Whether it is in the halls at school by the security cameras or in the classroom with sneaky students and their cell phones. Some teachers try to maintain an extreme level of control over device use in the class. I feel appropriate use of electronics in class is important, but it is tough to monitor everything all the time. Frankly, that type of vigilance can make a teacher go crazy and cultivate a level of mistrust between students and the teacher.

The why should I broadcast class – the “cover your butt,” side of the argument.

  • Most video recordings do not cause problems for people unless they are viewed out of  context. If you live broadcast and record your class then you have the whole context of the event or activity that might be called into question.
  • If a student claims to have been bullied or mistreated by another student you can look at the video later and see what happened.
  • Thefts can be solved as well. We were able to get a students ipod returned to them because of the video recording.
  • It is important that we stay professionals, but if you lose it for a moment or two, you will have evidence behind the outburst.
  • On the other hand, if you behave in a way that is questionable, there is video proof of the misstep. You will need to be willing to accept the consequences for things you do wrong.

It is important to keep in mind that the video doesn’t catch everything. You will need to decide when you think using the video “as proof” is necessary compared to when it is not. Just because one student threw a piece of paper does not mean you need to watch 30 min of video to catch the culprit.

Nuts and Bolts

There are a couple streaming services available to broadcast your class. I have used Ustream and LiveStream. Currently I use Google Hangouts On Air. A $20-30 USB webcamera from your local store and a Gmail/Google+ account. The quality of the video will not be the best but it will be enough to provide a decent service depending on your needs. Google Hangouts On Air automatically saves the video to your youtube channel. This is great because you can then organize playlists to post on your class website. “But I don’t want my students on youtube!” You can change the setting of videos to “unlisted” which will make the video unsearchable through youtube or google. However if you share the link to the individual video it will be viewable to anyone who has the link.

When you start a Google Hangout On Air, the live feed can be found on your Youtube channel. So on the homepage of my class website I have a link that takes viewers to my Youtube page. There they will be able to click the “live” feed.

demo for blog

 

To wrap up, there are lots of reasons you should live broadcast your class. Overcoming your fears of problems might be the only thing that is standing in your way. From my experience the benefits far out weigh the problems. If you need help getting started, I’m here. :)

If you have questions or comments I would love to hear them. Thanks!

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New Plans for #SciStuChat (http://wp.me/p17e1J-6j)

Hey all. It has been a good break but this Thursday we are ready to get a new school year of discussions between Scientists and High School Students started. At 9 pm EDT Thursday, Sept. 11 we will discuss the Nature of Science. I regret the date turns out to be 9/11, however, participating in a Twitter chat with no boarders is one of the great things about living free. Freedom comes with a cost and I am grateful for those how have sacrificed for me and my family. Each year scientists and students from more and more countries join the monthly chat and I am thrilled by the growth. As weird as it sounds I hope the power and freedom of social media will be available to all people in every country in the near future.

This year we will be making a strong effort to hit topics that have far reaching interest across multiple science disciplines. Through this push we hope that more teachers will find value in participation with their students. We also plan to work hard to provide a higher volume of resources as classes prepare for discussions. This is not to say that pre-chat-prep is required. We will still follow the basic format that has been adopted by so many Twitter chats with the Q1/A1 question and answer response. Student moderators will still lead the discussion and they will begin preparation for the chat well in advance.

During the discussions we would like to try to run a Google Hangout On Air for the student moderators and their cooperating teachers.  We thought this would help increase the quality of communication between the educators and students as they lead #SciStuChat.

We are also working to build a more aesthetically pleasing website. The bare-bones of the old site has served us well but we feel it is time for a change. The new site will not be ready by Thursday, however.

All high school science teachers, all high school students, all scientists, science writers, and all science minded individuals are welcome to join in. Hope to see you on the hashtag. 

Teachers planning to have students participate??? Please, teach them the methods for participation.

If you want to learn more about the details behind #SciStuChat, check out sg.sg/scistuchat1 

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Vine, Instagram, Twitter… Oh My! It is not about the app, it is about the ways students can demonstrate learning with the app

“There isn’t a ‘PG’ rated app that an educator can’t turn into a learning tool” – ZALT

I wish I was able to remember how I was first introduced to @VineApp – a smartphone app that allows users to make and view 6 second videos. What can you do in 6 sec?  A lot. Video clips can be in the form of stop animation by tapping on the recording screen to capture short spurts. ie. Pinecone.

When I first made my vine account I was quick to find the GE #6secondscience competition. Students used vine to show science in 6 seconds. I was thrilled. Finally a video tool that fit my attention span and that of my students! Plus it was an app available to iPhone, iPod Touch, and Android users. Half of my students if not more have a device of some kind so using Vine in class would be easy!

The complexity of the #6secondscience videos has been varied. Some were simple others were a lot more complex complex.

Not long after that I met a new tweep Tricia Shelton, @TdiShelton. She said she had started using Instagram in class with her students. A few students were begging me to start using Instagram in class as well. Sadly I didn’t succumb to the suggestions/requests till second semester. The app can take pictures as well as make 15 second videos. Part of the reason I finally signed up for Instagram is the result of a cool web app I discovered. tagboard.com. Many of you are likely already familiar with it. If it is new to you, you are in for a treat. Tagboard can compile hashtags across several social media platforms: Vine, Instagram, Twitter, Google+, and Facebook. This ability opens up a new world for teachers. We now have one tool to compile education sharing from different platforms just by using one hashtag. This is great for students as well, they can choose which app they want to use. Tricia and I use #kytnsci to help our students share their learning. Here is the link to the tagboard.  https://tagboard.com/kytnsci/155008 you will likely need to scroll down a few times before you find student posts, but they are there!

The more videos we make the more complex the videos become. Currently, students are required to do more than just a demo. Students must also include a description and summary of the demonstration.

On May 2nd a discussion started about using Vine for education. Here is the record of the discussion. https://storify.com/2footgiraffe/shareured#publicize – a summary? We want to share student learning with other students through Vine and other video tools.

So it all comes down to this, if you and your students are using social media (Instagram, Vine, Twitter, etc) to demonstrate learning, please include the hashtag #ShareUrEd – we are hoping this can turn into a location that students can share cool developments in their educational growth.

 

I said it wasn’t about the app, it is about the learning, but I failed to give more examples. – a fix is coming soon.

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