Sample PD on Social Media in Classroom for EDFN 521

Hello, All.  Below you’ll find information about Twitter, Tweetdeck, Facebook, Blogs and Websites, and more.  These are all examples of Social Media applications that you can use while teaching.
Poke around and try the links.  Have fun!  Ask me if you have questions.

Note to the general reader:  This has been compiled as part of a group presentation for EDFN 521.  Our topic is “Balanced and Effective Use of Technology in the 21st Century Classroom.”

Twitter:  Overview: communicate in “tweets” of maximum 140 characters each.  You can tweet to a specific person, to a group of people (using a hashtag that starts with #), or to everyone who “follows” you (signs up to read your tweets).  Tweet class members and/or parents with homework assignments, test reminders, sample review questions, etc.
Tweet and follow colleagues who share your interests in particular topics: for example the hashtag #edtech is for a group  of people who are interested in technology in education.

Tweetdeck:  Application by twitter that helps organize your tweets, schedule tweets, filter input,  monitor multiple twitter and facebook accounts.   Check it out!

facebook:  Very popular social media application.  To use for teaching and classroom purposes, be sure to learn about the privacy features to help control access to class-related sites, if appropriate.

One argument in support of using facebook for teaching is that so many people already know how to use it.
Please note: Facebook users are supposed to be 13 years old or older.

This excellent blog post includes many examples of ways to use facebook in the classroom.

This entry, Teaching Digital Kids:  has good content, including facebook privacy instructions.

Blogs and Websites:  Blogs can be thought of as online journals. They provide a way to share information, and to have conversations with students, parents, and colleagues.  Several free blogging sites are available.  Additional features are often available for those with paid subscriptions.  You can also create a separate website for yourself or for your class.  There are free as well as paid options for websites as well.


RSS Feeds:   Once you set up your online Personal Learning Network, you will want a way to organize and sort the information that flows in from several sources. RSS Readers can help you do that.

  • If you’re an RSS beginner, watch this short YouTube video called RSS in Plain English   From 2007, but still pertinent.  It explains the relationship between RSS readers and RSS feeds,

Examples of News Readers:

Here is a blog entry from About. com that ranks RSS readers for Windows, Mac, and Linus. is part of the New York Times Company.


“Controlled” Social Media Environments:

Several applications provide closed and controlled social media environments.  Generally the teacher can determine who can participate in the environment (pick another word).  The teacher can have the ability to monitor interactions and to delete student entries that are deemed inappropriate.  Here is one example:

Collaborize Classroom:  is a free, online, web-based, private classroom environment that is designed to foster discussions and critical thinking on variety of subjects.   The teacher can monitor discussions.  Templates are provided for several question types: yes/no, discussion forum, multiple-choice, or “vote or suggest,” which allows a student to vote for an existing answer or to add his/her own.   An image, a video, or a link to a PDF or Microsoft Office ™ file may be embedded in the question block.   A library of discussion topics and questions is included.  While the library includes sub-headings for all ages beginning with preschool, I think this would be most useful for students in elementary school and older.  It could also be used to foster discussion among teachers and administrators.

Here is a wiki that contains a review and examples of Collaborize Classroom questions.

Learning Management Systems:  
Purchased or subscribed to by a school or a district to provide a consistent online interface for teachers, parents, and students.  ItsLearning is one example.  There are several different choices.

It’s Learning:  The following quote is from :  “K-12 digital learning platform which allows educators to create, use and manage a wide variety of digital resources to support best practices such as: blended learning, flipping the classroom, personalized learning, professional learning communities, and other innovative digital learning environments.”

Acknowledgements:    To everyone whose work I reference in these pages, thank you for sharing your experiences and expertise with us online!

Infinity and Beyond …

Buzz Lightyear, in Toy Story, calls out, “To Infinity and Beyond!”  Well, Buzz, I am borrowing your slogan, because it fits!

“To Infinity and Beyond!” certainly applies as we teach and learn about Science. Our minds might first think of the grandeur  of concepts in Astronomy, Space Travel, and the Universe.   It also fits in the opposite direction.  “To Infinity … and Beyond!” fits when we consider the infinitesimally tiny items in Biology, Microbiology, and Chemistry!  Add in any other branch of Science that you like, because “Infinity …” also describes how much exciting information is out there, waiting to be taught and to be learned.  So much amazing information, and there are so many creative ways to approach it.

The educational technology applications that we’ve learned in EDCI505 OL3 this semester have certainly given us larger toolboxes to use to grab and hold students’ attention.  The things we’re learning help us to make lessons relevant, interesting, and, at times, entertaining. As a Science teacher, one of my goals is to design lessons that entice students to persevere.  I need to convince them that the results are worth their work, because some Science learning does require work!

I have enjoyed seeing how others in the class have used the same applications in different ways.  It has also been fun to see what specific applications people have chosen to feature when we have investigated different tools. 

“To Infinity and Beyond!” also applies as we continue to refresh our skills by researching and trying new applications.  We cannot try every new Ed Tech tool simultaneously.  As the researching sections of the course have taught us, we must continue to make wise choices with our Ed Tech time.  Reading through Ed Tech blogs and following Ed Tech tweets can help with that.

Imagine what new applications might be available for us to use in the next few years!  Maybe you or I will be part of a team that creates them.  I can’t wait to see how technology will continue to help us teach and learn more effectively.
Yes, Buzz: “To Infinity and Beyond,” indeed.



Quick Info re: Colorful Background …

Just a quick post to identify and acknowledge the source of the newly colorful background on the page!

It is NCG 2074, taken from the Hubble Telescope.  Check out for this and hundreds of other beautiful images!

Stay tuned.  I’ll submit another, meatier post tomorrow.

The SmartBoards are here! The SmartBoards are here!

The school building in which I work has been extensively remodeled and updated during the past year.  In my current room, the projector is suspended from the ceiling and is always available, either to project what appears on the teacher computer, or to display output from the DVD/VCR player, directly on the white board in the front of the room.  I love that convenience.

And now the SmartBoard has also been installed and connected in that classroom!  Hoorah!  I have just begun to play with it.    We are starting with something small; I’m just inviting students to fill in the blanks for vocabulary words.  They can choose the pen color and width.  It’s fun to see   students excited about something so uncomplicated to do.

I know that there are apps available, as well as graphics for specific Science topics.  I am excited about the possibilities!

Leaping Forward …

Glimpse of the Future ..

Originally I planned to use this blog posting to mention things  that I’ve been able to use with my students over the past several weeks, after creating them as EDCI 505 OL3 assignments.  And I do still mention them below.

Then, while checking out education technology links in Twitter posts I read, I watched this video:

Watch it yourself for 6:13 well-spent!   It reminded me that we need to continue to think ahead.  The applications that we learn to use for classes are fine.  They help elevate interest, they bring examples of distant events   into our classrooms, and they help us present content in engaging ways.   When students collaborate and use the tools, it is exciting to see what they can produce.

When we leap forward so that the technology is integral, consider what we could create!

From Educational Technology Class to Science Class!

One of my favorite aspects of “Educational Technology” class is the opportunity (a.k.a. assignment) to create tools and applications that I can use in class.  If someone asks me “When will you ever use this stuff?”  my answer is usually “In about two weeks.”

The application Collaborize Classroom was the subject of my wiki page.  Here’s the link to my page on Collaborize Classroom

In Glogster, check out the Biomes assignment, which is designed for 7th-graders.

For Module 6, I used Inspiration to create a concept map on the topic of “Factors in Genetic Changes of Populations over Time”   Here is the picture of that map:

  • Picture of the Inspiration Concept Map for "Factors in Genetic Changes of Populations over Time"

Unfortunately, my free trial subscription to Inspiration has expired, so I can’t give you a live link to the map (and its videos)  at the moment.

That’s all for now.  Talk to you later!

Tweeting and Information Explosions!

I had tweeted very sporadically for about two years.  In August I chatted with an American History teacher at Reynoldsburg High School who regularly tweets reminders (and occasionally hints) about assignments to her AP American History class.  What a great idea: subtle, high-tech, and fun!   Suddenly I saw Twitter as more than just another cute way to talk online.

Once I “followed” her,  I discovered the explosion of education and technology information on Twitter.  I appreciate the Twitter links and requirements in EDCI 505’s Module 4.  They have reminded me to “read the directions” (a novel concept) in order to use Twitter more effectively.  Now the challenge will be deciding which links to explore, and which to defer or ignore.   I predict timers in my future to avoid becoming immersed in cyberspace  (wandering in the Cloud?).  So much potentially useful information.  How do you manage your time online?

Here are two recent links that I found particularly interesting:

  1.  U.S. classrooms communicating with classroom from other countries as part of their curriculum.  What an excellent way to break some of the barriers that come from unfamiliarity!
  2. Ten more ideas for online tools and project-based learning.  This one might even be useful if we need more material for EDCI 505. 😉

Have a good week, everyone!

Anne Trachsel  (or Anne T, as I’m known to staff members at school, since we have more than one Anne on staff)

Everyone has to start at the beginning:


This is another step on the road to having my own high school Science class!
Since you are reading this, I assume that you are associated  with Ashland Unversity’s EDCI 505 Class.   So far the class has taught me quite a bit, both through the assignments and from playing with several of the  tools and applications mentioned in  and in .

I will be writing more content soon.  This is just “hello.”