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Posts from the ‘facebook’ Category

Tip of the Week: Tumblr in your classroom? Maybe. Just maybe.

I’ll be honest. I’m still on the fence here. Tumblr in the classroom. Yes or no? I haven’t decided but I’m wavering towards yes. If you’re not familiar with Tumblr, you need to be. Tumblr is microblogging and social networking website that many of your students are using. As of last week, there were over 200 million Tumblr blogs out there.

Think of a cross between Twitter and Facebook and you start to get a sense of what it looks like. It’s not really a tweet. It’s not really a blog. It’s not really a website. The question is

Can teachers take advantage of Tumblr to enhance teaching and learning in the classroom?

Several months ago, Terry Heick of TeachThought shared his thoughts on the question of Tumblr as a blogging tool for kids. His opinion? Yes. Read more

5 Days of Helpful Tools: Day 4 – 440 Ways to Use Social Media

It’s Day Four. The question is easy to ask – with so many tools out there, what would best to share? No easy answer but today we’re going with social media tools.

I’m convinced that when used appropriately these sorts of tools can help improve teaching and learning. But a lot of us shy away from using them in education because we’re not sure what that use looks like. So here ya go. Lots of ideas on using social media in the classroom.

So go just a little bit crazy. Pick just one of these 440 ways and give it a try.

(I’m sure there’s more than 440. What have we missed?)

10 Must Like Facebook Pages for Social Studies Teachers

It seems like everyone has a Facebook page. Companies, organizations, schools. I’m pretty sure my Jack Russell terrier has her own page. So where to start? Are there pages worth liking? Try the 10 below:

1. Library of Congress
The Library’s mission is to make its resources available and useful to the Congress and the American people and to sustain and preserve a universal collection of knowledge and creativity

2. US National Archives
The official Facebook page for public news and events at the National Archives.

3. Today’s Document
A great way to access the daily primary document posted by the National Archives.

4. Smithsonian Institution
The world’s largest museum complex & research organization composed of 19 museums

5. National Museum of American History
The National Museum of American History collects, preserves and displays American heritage in the areas of social, political, cultural, scientific and military history.

6. Civil War 150
Explore the 150th anniversary of the Civil War through the collections of the Smithsonian Institution.

7. NY Times Disunion Civil War
The Disunion series from The New York Times revisits and reconsiders America’s most perilous period. It will use contemporary accounts, diaries, images and historical analysis to follow the Civil War as it unfolded.

8. National History Day
The Official Page for National History Day! NHD makes history come alive for America’s youth by engaging them in the discovery of the historic, cultural and social experiences of the past.

9. Williamsburg for Teachers
The department of Education Outreach is dedicated to bringing the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation to new and distant audiences. Through the Electronic Field Trip Series, Teacher Institute, off-site teacher development programs, and curriculum for grades K-12, Education Outreach reaches thousands of teachers and students every year.

Williamsburg has tons of other pages on Facebook. Check ’em out here.

10. Edutopia
Edutopia is where The George Lucas Educational Foundation’s vision to highlight what works in education comes to life. Edutopia provides stories integrating creative uses of technology with effective teaching and learning.

Bonus Page
Facebook in Education
Facebook in education examines ways in which Facebook is being used in an educational context.

Want more?

On each page, click the Info link on the left-hand side. Scroll down and see what other Facebook Pages are “liked” by the page you’re on. Crazy amounts of more stuff.

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The History of America ala Facebook – Great start of school activity

Last week at the Teaching America History conference, I had the chance to share with a few groups some ideas for using Facebook as an instructional tool.

During the discussion, we discovered a light-hearted History of America as seen through the eyes of America’s Facebook wall. Got us thinking.

It seems like a great way to start your school year.

Have kids re-create the wall through the perspective of different groups. What would the wall say if Native Americans were typing? African Americans? Different political parties? Women? Other countries? Have different groups of kids create walls and then lead a whole-group discussion about which events to add / subtract from a class wall.

You could have kids re-create the wall for just a specific period of time or for just the period of time covered in your class.

However you decide to adapt the activity, it will stimulate interest, encourage history conversations and provide you with some idea of students’ prior knowledge. I could even see teachers using this all year long as sort of Big Picture graphic organizer.

Let me know how it turns out!

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FakeBook – The next step in Facebook templates

Facebook was once the small, sheltered territory of a couple of techie college students and some high school kids who found ways to sneak past the filter. At the time, it was all about Friendster and MySpace.

And now?

Parents, middle school kids, corporations, advertisers are all over Facebook. Even teachers are using it.

A couple of years ago, I published a quick post about using Facebook as a teaching tool with a Lincoln profile as an example. A tip on how to create an Eisenhower Facebook template followed and we followed that with more ideas on how to use a variety of Facebook and Twitter online tools in the classroom. Others were also thinking about how to use social media as part of instruction. More templates and tools like My Fake Wall sprung up everywhere.

(At this point, if you’re a teacher and not using social media templates as part of your unit design . . . well, it is the 21st century. It’s okay to jump on board.)

The part I like about using Facebook as a historical teaching tool is that it allows kids to bring in a variety of perspectives, primary sources and photos. The exercise forces kids to think in layers rather than simply memorizing data. Likes and comments by other historical characters, profiles and photo albums can be used to create a rich picture of people and events.

So what’s next?


Created by the people at ClassTools, Fakebook is similar to the old My Fake Wall. It’s a quick and easy way for you and your kids to generate historical Facebook profiles and walls. You start with a profile and add other Facebook elements step by step. Kids can complete their profiles and than send you the finished URL. ClassTools also has a nice portfolio of examples that you and your kids could use as inspiration or discussion starters.

ClassTools wants you to create a premium account so there are ads on the completed profile. If that bugs you, just have kids take a screenshot of their finished work and send it to you as an image or pdf file. They could also print it out and turn in as a hard copy.

Some nice stuff here. Give a try and let me know what works!

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Tip of the Week – My Fake Facebook, Twitter and Text

Several months ago I wrote a post discussing the idea of using social media tools like Facebook and Twitter as a way to help kids create history-related stuff. I followed that up with a Tip of the Week that included a Facebook template that teachers and kids can use to make the process a bit easier.

And now? I was browsing Larry Ferlazzo’s sweet site and ran across his post listing some new tools to simplify the process. Larry listed several sites (including one mentioned by Richard Bryne) that do most of the template creation work for you and your students, making it easier to focus on historical content rather than the process.

I really like the ease of use  of My Fake Wall. (Updated 6/2/2013, My Fake Wall is no longer appropriate for student use.) students create a Facebook look-a-like fairly easily. Create an account, upload photos, insert some text and you’re done. This is what the editing screen looks like:

A couple of issues to think about.

The finished product is a link to a web site displaying your work that’s hosted by My Fake Wall. And while the finished wall looks very Facebookish, it also comes with a ton of ads. I haven’t seen any inappropriate stuff yet but I just don’t like that many ads lying around when I’m working with kids.

The other issue is that the ease of use may actually distract from the historical thinking that you want from your kids. It’s the same with a lot of tools – all of the PowerPoint bells and whistles, for example, can distract from the message. So . . . help kids focus on historical content, not the process.

I used my Mac’s ability to take very specific screenshots of my finished wall that eliminates the ads. The first image below is the before:

This is the after:

Larry mentioned two other sites that let your student “recreate” history. One helps create fake Twitter messages and the other makes fake text messages. We’ve talked about using Twitter before, these new tools can help.

I like these as well – as long as the focus remains on the historical thinking rather than on simply creating a fun activity. All three of these tools are really just new forms of graphic organizers. 21st century strategies that can help students organize their thinking so that the content makes sense. You can use these before, during and after learning.

Have fun!


Update 1/4/2011 – I just found a very cool PowerPoint template that does a great job of mimicking the Facebook environment. You can download the template here and get some specific instructions / rubric here.

(Thanks Larry and Richard!)

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