Tag Archives: Social Media

8th grade SS students are creating faux profiles for the Founding Fathers on our internal @elgg social network

Alessandra Cozzi is the 8th grade Social Studies teacher at The School at Columbia University. She asked if we could have the students do some sort of social networking activity where they would make Facebook-esque faux profiles for the Founding Fathers. I told her that not only did we have an internal social network (powered by @Elgg), but our 8th graders had experience doing this last year as 7th graders when they created faux profiles for the annual Great Mathematician Project led by math teacher, Dr. Sabrina Goldberg. Easy peasy.

As per every academic year since 2007 or 2008, our server admin, Cristina Martinez, sets up a completely blank Elgg social network and archives the previous year’s work. This allows us to continue to use the space for annual projects, and it also reaffirms that a social network is a completely blank and empty space until users freely and willingly populate it with information. @DonBuckley says a social network is nothing until users answer the following questions: Who are you? Who do you know? What do you do?

Alessandra and I created a .csv file with usernames, profile names, common passwords, and faux email addresses for the 55 delegates, and I uploaded this .csv file to The Social Network (btw, we named our internal online networking space The Social Network way before the movie came out). Today, students edited their assigned Founding Father’s avatar and profile and then also linked with the other founding fathers.

For this activity, Alessandra used the lesson plan linked below, and students filled out the worksheet linked below:

Lesson Plan for “Teaching Six Big Ideas in the Constitution”:
http://www.archives.gov/legislative/resources/education/constitution/

Student worksheet for creating a “Founders Social Network”: http://www.archives.gov/legislative/resources/education/constitution/images/handout-2.pdf

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Free digital copy of @zephoria’s *It’s Complicated*

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I heard danah boyd (intentionally lower-case) discuss her book, It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens, at the Ford Foundation yesterday. Many thanks to Gina Marcel for alerting me to the opportunity after she saw danah tweet an invite.

danah’ research has led her to understand that kids aren’t addicted to technology. Rather, they’re addicted to socializing. They’d much prefer to meet up in person, but when they can’t physically gather due to curfew restrictions or other restraints, they meet up online. danah talked about many other things I’ve heard her share before – she’s always compelling – using great anecdotes from her years of researching teens and her own experiences.

danah offers a free PDF of her book here: http://www.danah.org/books/ItsComplicated.pdf

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Notes/slides from a conversation about digital citizenship and social media


Last night, I facilitated a conversation on teaching digital citizenship and social media use to middle schoolers. Around the table were teachers, librarians, media specialists, technologists, curriculum coordinators, and administrators from Friends Seminary.

Their specific questions were:
1. How can we help middle schoolers be safe, responsible netizens?
2. How would you define digital citizenship and how does that play a role in your school?
3. How does social media play a role in your school and what do you do to prepare kids to use it responsibly?
4. What are some activities that you have done with middle schoolers on digital citizenship?
5. What is your scope and sequence in your school on digital citizenship (and others that you may know)?
6. What tools do you use, such as ELGG, to help kids understand digital citizenship and social media?

Besides showing projects I’ve developed/supported using Google Sites, our internal media repositories (powered by Drupal), or our internal social network (powered by Elgg), I shared how I weave in reminders, anecdotes, news stories, and life lessons at every opportunity.

I shared these three recent relevant articles which I’d seen on Twitter:

And this post recommended by Don Buckley to be a good conversation starter:

I also shared my collection of mantras that I repeat endlessly in class:

  1. Everything you put online is public, permanent, traceable.
  2. Use our technology academically, respectfully, responsibly.
  3. Make wise choices.
  4. We are a community.
  5. There’s no such thing as privacy online. It’s public versus less public.
  6. The only thing worse than kids behaving badly are adults behaving badly.

Rather than proceed through the slide deck I’d prepared, I ended up ignoring most of it and just sharing examples from specific projects (most of which are documented on this site). I embedded the slides below if anyone is super curious…

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