Category Archives: Social Media

A new post up on ChemEdX-Change about using Google Hangout for an Online Review Session

Things have been a bit crazy around here, with finals week and marking labs to end the semester assessments. But I managed to put up a quick post about how I used a Google Hangout – at the suggestion of a student – for an online review session to help my IB Chemistry students prepare for their semester final.

Check it out here.

How do you connect with your students?

Thanks.

Lowell

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Filed under #EdTech, ChemEd X-Change, Social Media, Twitter

Benefit #5 of Using Twitter with Students: Students Sharing Resources

I’m at a new school now, and will be working to integrate Twitter and blogging into my classes. It’s early in the process, and I’ll be sharing more as I move forward. But even with only a very short discussion of my use of Twitter, one student has already found a way to use Twitter to help the class.

For context, I ask my students to memorize 42 of the most common elements (name and symbol only) as the IB only provides symbols, atomic number and relative atomic mass. The periodic table used for Paper 1 does not provide names. Their first quizzes are relatively easy and cover these 42 elements. One of the students created a Quizzlet to help his studying. I’ve never used Quizzlet, but this application of Quizzlet seemed perfect. He shared the Quizzlet with me and I then asked if he could share it with his classmates using our class hashtag (#ISB212ChemHL).

Needless to say, I think students sharing resources with each other in this fashion is a great benefit of using Twitter in a classroom setting. It extends our interactions beyond the 85 minutes we spend together every other school day and provides a nice forum for the sharing of resources, both by me and by the students.

And  to add some detail, below is the Twitter conversation (with permission from the student to share).

Until next time, keep it #MintyFresh.

Lowell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Twitter Experiment, Benefit 4

If you’ve been following along here, you know that I’m working on using Twitter in my grade 10 chemistry class as a learning tool. Another benefit I’ve found – although I’ll admit I’m not sure how large the benefit truly is here – is having the students share their work through Twitter. This week we worked in groups to create posters about the book we’re reading together, The Case of the Frozen Addicts. I took pictures of the posters with my iPad and put all of them into a shared folder on the SkyDrive. Then I asked each student to Tweet one of the pictures. (Note: I took a picture of just the poster – see them here – and with the students.) They could decide whether to include themselves in the picture or or just include the poster alone. When the students were tweeting their pictures, we used the class hashtag #MT4P and our book hashtag #Frozen Addicts. Some of the students asked, “If one person in my group tweets the picture, do I have to also?” My response: “YES! Hopefully there will come a time when you are followed by people outside of our classroom.”

While the educational benefit of this may not be evident yet, I’m hopeful that my students develop a habit of posting their work and ideas into the Twitterverse. I want them to engage in the world around them!

Below are some examples.

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An experiment with blogging in a grade 10 chemistry class (Part 1)

I just realized that I should discuss (although only briefly today, as I’ve got tests to mark and videos to make!) something new I’m trying this year with one of my chemistry classes: The class blog.

Find our chemistry class blog here: http://aisbchemblog.wordpress.com.

I am the author of the posts, but I have a link to “Student Blogs” that will take you to the list of student blogs from the class. For now, I’ve only had them complete one formal blog post (but a few students have posted on their own). This first post relates to our reading of The Case of the Frozen Addicts (discussed here on ChemEdX) and is simply a summary of the first few chapters, questions inspired by the text and a response to the reading. I didn’t do any proof-reading, but overall I was very pleased with the outcome.

The second blog post is in the draft stages. For this one, I gave the students a bit more leeway to decide on their own topic. It’s expected to be about Frozen Addicts, but the format is more open. On my class blog I gave them an exemplar blog post just to give them some idea of what it could look like. In retrospect, before I started blogging with the students, I think I could have taken some time to have students look at other blogs out there to get some ideas on formatting and content. (To that end, two teachers that have inspired me to delve into blogging are part of my Twitter PLN. I’d like to give them a hat-tip here: @OChemPrep and @VirtualGardner. They’re good for a #FF recommendation and some great ideas.)

I will keep you posted as blog posts develop from the students. Thus far, it’s been a great experience that I only expect to get better.

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Filed under Blogging, Chemistry, Social Media

My Twitter Experiment, Benefit 2

If an interesting article comes across my Twitter timeline, I can simply retweet it. Or…read the article, then decide whether to send it out.

Example:

How heroin kills you http://t.co/vawrSNYM26

— Richard G. Lanzara (@rlanzara) February 5, 2014

This relates to my class’s reading of “The Case of the Frozen Addicts” so I took a look at the article and tweeted it to my class.

#MFC14: Interesting article about heroin addiction in the U.S. (Related to #FrozenAddictshttp://t.co/pWl6YONycK

— Mr Lowell Thomson (@MrThomsonAISB) February 5, 2014

 

 

I find the Twitter platform great for sharing this type of article. I think it’s still early in the implementation with my students, but I do occasionally get students commenting (mostly in person, less often on Twitter) on articles I post to Twitter. My goal is to post at least one article link per day. I’m sure I’m short of this goal, but anytime something intriguing I throw it up there to grab my students’ attention.

How about Twitter in your classroom? Have you seen benefits from using it with your students?

 

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My Twitter Experiment, Benefit 1

I’m experimenting with using Twitter as a teaching and learning tool within my grade 10 chemistry class. This is the first time I’ve been this deliberate, as I’ve essentially required my students to create a Twitter account (if they don’t already have one) and follow me. (Note: For a bit of background on my use of Twitter in general, see this previous post here.) I plan on writing a bit more in depth discussion of Twitter at a future time. I’ll share my ideas, and a bit of the inspiration for using Twitter with my students.

This post will simply be a quick sharing of one benefit I’ve found with Twitter. That is, simply, the ability to communicate quickly and efficiently with students outside the classroom. Yesterday, I was in a department meeting and a student posted a comment to me using the class hashtag. What follows is best described with the picture below.

Follow the conversation to see how easy it was for me to respond to this student.

Follow the conversation to see how easy it was for me to respond to this student.

Certainly Twitter won’t prove to be the revolution that solves all of our educational woes. However, for this student it proved quite useful. He was able to compose his blog post because I could help him navigate the pragmatics of finding his saved drafts.

Now I have some blog posts to read, including one from the student above.

Until next time.
Lowell

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Too many Twitter accounts?

I’m having a stay-inside-while-the-wind-howls kind of day today. Here’s a tweet from my professional Twitter account:

But today’s post really isn’t about snow. It’s about my Twitter accounts and cross-posting. You see, I have three Twitter accounts.

@huskychemist: My personal account, used for following my favorite college (University of Washington!) and sports teams and other miscellaneous stuff.

@ThomsonScience: My professional account, used for my PLN, sharing ideas with other teachers, and all things related to my professional life as a teacher.

@MrThomsonAISB: My teacher account, used only for sharing with my students at AISB. From this account, I do not follow anybody, as I want my timeline to only show posts I intend to share with my students.

But today a funny thing happened. I was browsing my @ThomsonScience timeline and @2footgiraffe posted a #bedheadchallenge. Being a bit follicly challenged and willing to poke fun at myself, I posted the following tweet using my Google Nexus 7 tablet after taking a selfie.

The “problem” was that I ended up posting from my teacher account (@MrThomsonAISB) rather than my professional PLN account (@ThomsonScience) from which I follow Adam Taylor, A.K.A. @2footgiraffe. After using the tablet to make the post, I wondered why it didn’t show up on my TweetDeck timeline for @ThomsonScience. I found out a few minutes later when @2footgiraffe responded to my tweet and I got the notification email in my school inbox. OOPS!

But then I started thinking, is it such a bad thing that my students might see me interacting with some of my PLN on Twitter? I think not. The idea that I can model appropriate and fun interactions on social media seems like a good thing. So I’m leaving the post there and I’m not going to worry about it. I wonder, in fact, if my students will even wonder about the post.

What about you? Do you use multiple Twitter accounts to try to keep parts of your life separate? I don’t do this to hide anything. I share my personal life willingly with my students and don’t post things on any of my social media accounts that I don’t want the public – and my students and their parents – to see. I just find it more convenient to have separate accounts for different parts of my life. I don’t think my PLN wants me to fill their timeline with 20 Tweets about a Husky football game on a weekend. But what is your philosophy? Does it work for you?

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