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Social Media for Educators

Lesson One: Tools and Trends


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Required Submissions for Lesson One:

  1.  Post your introduction on the class listserv as requested via the class start-up email you should have already received;

      To post, send an email to social-L@netpals.lsoft.com  

      Confirm with your instructor that you are able to both send, and receive
      a copy of your messages, to and from the class listserv (without spam or junk folder complications.) 

                Confirm with your instructor your preferred timeline for doing the lessons (which you can change at any time.)

Read the following lesson and be sure you’ve carefully read the Class Welcome
http://lone-eagles.com/socialwelcome.html and viewed the TED talk videos listed and reviewed the
      How to Begin page http://lone-eagles.com/socialbegin.html on the class
      homepage http://lone-eagles.com/social.html  
      Share with your instructor your thoughts on one or more of the TED talk videos you viewed on the Class Welcome page.
      (one hour)

                    3.  Conduct the Wiki hands-on activity listed below.
                 (one hour)

              4.  Respond to the NING invitation you will receive via email (check your junk folder)
                  and leave a message, and upload a profile photo and/or video, on our class social media site.
                  This is simply one of many customizable social media tools where we can all create separate discussion
                  forums to share ideas, resources, and talk about topics of interest. 
                  Explore http://classroom20.com to see an advanced global use of ning.
                  (one hour)

              5. ____ Scheduled a Skype session with the instructor. Skype ID: frankodasz


It Is All About YOU! 

In our age of accelerating change we hear a lot about the need for faster Internet to get us more information faster. Yet what most of us really want is less information, but of higher value and relevance to our often immediate needs. Social media is rapidly evolving. The use of web pages is on the decline, the uses of videos and apps are on the rise.  See the top graphic but don’t feel obligated to read the article;



Information condenses to knowledge which condenses to wisdom and VALUE is created in an age of information overload. 

Today, we read 3-5 line emails on our smartphones, even shorter tweets and yet shorter text messages. Generational differences are broad with teens averaging 100 txts a day?!  My father doesn’t want to learn to use a Digital Video Recorder, and watches commercials, losing 10 minutes of every half hour.  I no longer go the NBC nightly news web site to pick what I want to watch, my Ipad has their new apps, and I swipe a moving string of video thumbnails to see what I want to watch.  Some just follow NBC’s tweets, but I’m not one of them, yet.

Half of the 2 billion Facebook users spend an average of an hour and a half a day on Facebook.  

Smartphones and digital tablets are far more personal than laptops, and at what point the term addiction comes up depends on who you are.

At issue is our personal choices for achieving our preferred level of balance. 

What Matters Most - to each of us, is indeed a very individual choice. We FIND and MAKE time for our priorities, and for anything less, gee, we don’t seem to HAVE  the time.  What tends to happen is that as we experiment with using new tools, we often find they are really easy to use “once we know how.” If we find we’re saving time, we might continue to use them. If not, we won’t. What we need to pay attention to is which tools millions of others have already found useful, and why.

Briefly consider these four levels of social media “arenas of activity,” before we begin to look at tools and methods. 

1.         “Social” media – keeping in touch with our real friends and family members, entertaining ourselves, playing games; basically simply having fun.

2.          Reputation marketing; working the social media systems to shamelessly self-promote yourself, or business, or cause, leveraging your new access to your friends lists of friends for “friendly” exploitation. Utimately, this is all about making money, building a following, etc. Seth Godin wrote a book “Tribes” and maintains a blog on this topic.

3.         Making a Difference, social media is the next big thing for promoting state and federal agencies, and non-profit causes of all types, such as engaging college students in service learning projects like VISTA and Americorps. The CEO of Facebook talks about “meaningful” activity as core to the Future of Facebook:

4.         Social media for Education – too new to really see yet, but peers are where we already learn about the newest cool apps and stuff, right?

      5.         Coming to a school near you may be School Enewletters, Facebook pages, local sports tweets, and more.
              Likely with business partnerships as an innovative way to overcome budget cutbacks.

All the tools we’ll play with in this class can overwhelm us with too much, and new tools have continually evolved to condense the volume and provide more targeted value geared toward our special interests. This is true with listservs, which have weekly digests listing in one message a week’s worth of message, or blogs, which are condensed by topic at technorati.com, or alltop.com, and twitter, or microblogging, limits each “tweet” to 128 characters, though you can give a short link to media of any length, too.

In Lesson Three we’ll look at our Info-diets, info-literacy, and how to understand our smarter options for getting control on info-overload. 

Keeping smart friends, and learning to benefit from the time already spent by others hunting and gathering information, a two good reasons to take a hard look at social media.

Is Facebook a scam, one might argue it is indeed one of the most successful scams in history. When you start a Facebook account you might think you’re just connecting with trusted friends and family, but facebook pushes your friends to link with your other friends friends, and sells all collected data to companies eager for consumer demographics.  Apple Iphones and Google Androids keep track of where you go, all the time, including all the searches you do on google, all as their marketable consumer demographics.  We’ll look more at this later, but if you think your privacy may be violated, you might well be startled once you get the facts. Then again, there are very positive aspects to all this, too. 

NING.com was created by the guy who invented the browser. It costs $2.99 a month for a complete social media website, as you’ll see. Additional costs for more features are typical.  Google’s groups, docs, pages, and other cool tools are free, and integrated, and growing, fueled by the world’s largest technology company.

In the coming lessons you’ll be asked to create free accounts and learn by doing – playing and noodling actually, to increase your geekatude – your ability to self-direct your own learning through experimentation. If a pang of fear just grabbed you, then this is particularly targeted to you, and is likely a generational issue.


What's a Wiki?
A one-hour hands-on activity.


The goal of this activity is to assure you know what a wiki is, and how to create and use a wiki in education. If you already know how to create and use a free wiki you don’t have to do this beginner’s activity, but can invest your time in exploring the advanced wikis and applications and in sharing your wiki expertise, and favorite wiki links, with others in the class via our class listserv. OR. Learn Jing and create a video capture showing cool tools you think others in the class would find of interest.


Email your instructor with an update on your wiki awareness, established expertise, and time spend on this lesson adding to your wiki knowledge.


Learn about wikis by viewing the short video at

o see more social media tutorials from http://commoncraft.com
Click on the Social Media TAB at the top of https://www.commoncraft.com/videolist

            To find existing wikis by topic created by your peers try googling    pbworks  K12 science    
            or any other topic. FYI, pbworks is only one source for free wikis. See also www.wikispaces.com

WIKIs   - Wiki means "quick" in Hawaiian and quick web pages with collaborative capabilities is what wikis are all about. Wikipedia has over a million entries, and is larger than the Encyclopedia Britannica - as one outstanding example of wiki collaborative effectiveness.




http://www.lkozma.net/wpv/index.html   Shows a world map of Wikipedia contributions AS they happen.


Get into the habit of saving great urls (web site addresses) throughout this course.

A suggestion is to create a private wiki to share them with your students.


To create your own free educational wiki at http://pbworks.com/education

Be sure to write down your login ID and password, and send the URL of your wiki to your instructor. This can take as little as 10-15 minutes, more as your interests dictate.

If you already have created or used wikis, you don’t have to do this, but please share the links and your experiences with wikis with your eager classmates via the class listserv .

To create a free educational wiki:

1. go to http://pbworks.com/education

2. Click on Get Started in the upper right

3. Select the FREE option

4. Give your free wiki a name - I choose socialwikialaska - and my web address became socialwikialaska.pbworks.com

5. Select public or private, and explore the tutorials and features such as Create a Page, (remember to save it,) etc..

Try it and report back to your instructor.

You will receive an email inviting you to the blank class test wiki below, created with the above instructions:

Greetings to those in the Social Media for Educators class. I clicked on the link "Invite More People" on the upper right of the http://socialwikialaska.pbworks.com  page on the free wiki that I just created to invite you to this social media resources wiki. You have been given Writer permissions. Please Click on CREATE A PAGE at the upper right, and enter your name and add at least one resource to share. Explore the features for at least a half hour. If you already have a wiki or use one, please share the links with the rest of the class via our listserv.

            In the coming lessons we’ll explore the following, please send your instructor your recommendations
            for additional social media sites that you might have experience with to share.  


Wikis (have own, used, contributed to)


RSS – Blog readers


Jing video captures

How to use Skype
How to use Google  Classroom, etc

Google groups or other web forums like Ning.com


Create your own Youtube channel




Other: (please list all you use)

Required Submissions Checklist:

        ____ Posted your introduction to the class listserv

        ____ Send instructor a private email with preferred timeline

        ____ Scheduled a Skype session.

        ____ Viewed the TED Talk videos on the Class Welcome page and reported favorites to the instructor.

        ____ Conduct the Wiki hands-on activity 

                 Email your instructor with an update on your wiki awareness, established expertise, and time spend on this lesson adding to your wiki knowledge. 

     If you already have created or used wikis,  please share the links and your experiences with wikis with your eager classmates via the class listserv . 

        ____ Send your instructor a private email with candid feedback on this lesson.


Lesson Feedback: 


You're invited to privately email your instructor:

       1. What areas, if any, did you have trouble with during this

       2. What questions remain now that you've finished this lesson?

       3. Approximately how much time did you devote to this lesson?

       4. What improvements would you like to suggest?
      5. What did you like best about this lesson?


Optional Advanced Concepts:
Note: This first lesson is a bit longer than the remaining lessons so you can skip the optional reading below.

What Matters Most – is highly individual.

A Luddites Confession:

From Frank Odasz

I was born in Cody, WY, but grew up in Mountain View, Calif. during the 1960s, now the home of Google. Upon graduating from UC Davis in 1974 with a BA in Psychology I had the choice to either work as a trainee programmer or as an oil field roughneck in the wilds of Wyoming, for the same big money; $5.80/hour. Well, that was a no-brainer. What could be more lifeless than sitting in front of a computer?  Remember, Microcomputers didn't appear until about 5 years later.  I was soon working nights outdoors  during winter in the wind at 40 below zero.

Eventually, in 1982, after 3 years of being a Dude Ranch Manager I went back to school at the Univ. of Wyoming and received a Masters in Instructional Technology – determined to eventually learn how I could live and work anywhere using microcomputers and telecommunications to teach online and make a difference in the lives of as many people as possible.

For the past 12 years, since 1998, I've lived in a remote ranch house, no bosses, no employees, and have loved it. I consider myself an instructional entrepreneur, and a lifestyle entrepreneur. I don’t spend all my time at the computer, instead, the computer buys me the time and freedom to enjoy outdoor activities.

I don't spend 16 hours a day on the computer, or pull all-nighters writing code.

What I choose to spend my time learning is only that which I can use.

Everything keeps changing so I need to keep learning to stay current.

Historically, my first reaction to new web tools is that they appear to me to be a total waste of precious time.

In 1983, I read a lot about electronic data interchange technologies and my gut feeling was the world was getting too complicated.

As I look back on EDI technologies, now known as fax machines, I feel pretty silly. Type in a phone number and the document gets sent.

In 1994, as asst. professor at the University of Montana, I had created an online network of one-room schools on grant funding from US West, called the Big Sky Telegraph. We used text-based dial-up bulletin board systems leveraging the efficiency of slow phone lines to exchange two-page lesson plans. Then the WWW happened and everything had to be transferred to web page format. I was frustrated by graphics that  slowed down the transfer of lesson plans and then needed to learn about web browsers. Looking back, I again felt silly. 

Soon, web logs, called blogs appeared. “Never have so many written so much to be read by so few.” Again, I thought blogs were silly, even after 60 million people created blogs. Today, I believe 2 % of Internet users actually follow blogs. We’ll exploring blogging in one of the lessons.

Then came Myspace, 100 million teenagers made this the first global social media sensation. I didn’t jump on board, and once a 10 year old Native American youth showed me his very cool site, with older young ladies photos who had befriended him, I understood why the main use of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe’s new community technology center was filled with youth primarily enjoying myspace.

Then came Facebook, which I viewed as contrived shameless self-promotion and a waste of time. I created an account and received useless updates for eager users on what they had for breakfast, a mattress for sale in Lincoln, Nebraska, and I just couldn’t see myself wasting time. OK, Facebook will launch an IPO valued at $100 Billion dollars with 750 million eager users. I still think Facebook is a contrived misleading system, but feel silly again, but maybe not quite so much. It is the lead on global social media marketing in a reputation economy, and is likely to prove relevant to how we all will learn to keep current on what we didn’t know we needed to know…to survive in our era of accelerating change.

Lastly, Twitter, as a micro-blogging system, which I’m told I should plan to use create a following, a tribe, to entice subscriber to my most exciting 128 character tweets. What a dumb idea for a network!  And today 100 million tweets a day are consumed by at least that many eager followers on Twitter. I really don’t want to be following multiple tweets a day from anybody, on my smartphone, Ipad, laptop, or Facebook page.  

But, if I want to grow a successful business of any kind, I think I’d better start to pay better attention to what’s proving to be popular, and why. 

In Conclusion;  But, as a teacher of teachers, and as an instructional entrepreneur, to maintain my cherished rural lifestyle, and in order for me to help others in world of need, knowing I have the ability at my fingertips to make a real difference in the lives of potentially many millions; I feel obligated to keep learning.

Optional Advanced Links: Safe social media sites is something we can explore.

Scott Wade, a local friend, works with a team who created www.inclusionville.org - a safe social media site funded by John Travola’s brother, Joe. 

Another friend, Scott Cooper, has created www.itsourstory.org - with 1000 inspiring video biographies of individuals with disabilities. He’s looking for funding to use Google’s free transcription tools to add text captions for the deaf.

Below are links my online teachers have shared.

A book on “Preventing cyberbullying and sexting, one classroom at a time” might be of interest at


What you Can Learn from Eight Kids Already Making a Million Dollars

1. Social Media for Educators: Guides Resources and Ideas :
This website has up to date ideas and resources for popular social media sites like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

2. Here is a fun infographic on Pinterest in education; 

3. How Social Media is Reshaping Today's Education System: An enlightening read for inspiration.

4. 10 Great Ways to Use Social Media in the Classroom: informative article for getting started with social media.

5. http://fosteredu.pennfoster.edu/student-motivation-techniques-that-work-for-troubled-teens

6. http://www.motivation-tools.com/youth/3_at_risk_youth.htm

7. https://www.unigo.com/pay-for-college/scholarships/10-scholarships-for-non-traditional-students


Do you know of Howard Rheingold's work? http://socialmediaclassroom.com

Howard wrote one of the first books on Virtual Community; Homesteading the Electronic Frontier.

My favorite chapters are on the Big Sky Telegraph, my rural schools online project from 1988-1998.

Howard lectures on 21st Century Digital Literacies at Stanford and UC Berkley.

You can download for free his 280 book "Peeragogy Handbook" at 


His Learn 2.0 link is
http://dmlcentral.net/blog/howard-rheingold/diyu-experiment  with others below.


An Email From Howard:

You might be interested in using this for your teaching: http://socialmediaclassroom.com

This is a course I taught this Fall: http://socialmediaclassroom.com/host/vircom   


This is Howard's latest passion, digital literacies:

Videos & Blogs

Video 21st century literacies 40 min video  http://blip.tv/file/2373937

JD Lasica's 6 min video interview with me, same subj: http://bit.ly/eFqeI

Video 24 minute on Crap Detection 101:  http://blip.tv/file/3333374>http://blip.tv/file/3333374 

Blog 21st Century Literacies: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/rheingold/detail?blogid=108&entry_id=38313

Blog Crap Detection 101: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/rheingold/detail?entry_id=42805

Blog Twitter Literacy: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/rheingold/detail?blogid=108&entry_id=39948

Blog Attention Literacy: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/rheingold/detail?blogid=108&entry_id=38828

BlogMindful Infotention: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/rheingold/detail?blogid=108&entry_id=46677

Howard Rheingold Email:  howard@rheingold.com  http://twitter.com/hrheingold