Social Media, Gathering Community Data, & Global Data

Welcome to EDU 625 Integrating Learning and Technology! During the first three weeks of class, I’ve started to incorporate what I’ve learned about design, learning theories, and various technologies into real-life applications.

What have we focused on these first three weeks?

Social Media – Facebook, Twitter, blogging, Instagram, YouTube, etc. offer several affordances to teachers. Students use social media in their lives already, incorporating it into school helps us meet students where they are. Perhaps one of the most valuable strengths of social media is that it helps make learning social. Students have real audiences for their work (Edutopia, 2012). Social media allows students to explore and define their self-identities and communicate with each other using these identities (Hinton et al., 2013). Unfortunately, privacy and security remain issues with school use of social media. This problem is even greater for elementary school teachers, since our students are too young to legally use many of these networks. The classroom in this video is a great example of social media in action in an elementary school classroom.

Gathering and Analyzing Data from Your Community – Surveys need to be carefully crafted in order to be successful. By analyzing the goals, population, and desired data, a survey author can craft solid objectives, write appropriate questions, and pick the best sampling method to minimize error (Phillips et al., 2013). Numerous web-based tools can help in the administration of surveys and the presentation of results. Don’t limit yourself to charts and graphs – mind maps are a great tool to visually display and organize your data (Petro Jr., 2010).

Global Data Resources – Involving students in gathering, organizing, analyzing, and interpreting data from the vast array of global resources can make learning more authentic and meaningful. These resources are not limited to numerical data, like the NOAA. The National Archives website houses historical documents and videos teachers can use in social studies or literacy lessons. However, students should be aware that not all data is credible – the author may be biased or the information may be out dated. A colleague pointed me in the direction of this resource – a good outline for students to follow when judging the reliability of a website.

So, how was it? What did I find out?

Live, real-time data sources and social media are awesome tools – for high schoolers and college students. I have a lot of adapting to do in order to make these technologies accessible and appropriate for my kiddos. Even the list for checking the reliability of a website needs to be rewritten for younger readers. Not only am I an elementary teacher, but I work with kids below grade level. I’ve asked my classmates each week for their favorite resources for younger kids, and I’d like to ask you the same thing. What social media/survey/data gathering tools do you use with elementary age kids? I have spent some time with Fakebook and FakeTweet, and love them! I’m looking forward to incorporating them into my groups this coming year. Both are available on










The Take-home

I still think of social media in my class as a way to share work and thinking, not as a collaboration tool. Intervention is such an individual effort, even with discussions and co-created anchor charts, final written responses are all on your own. Is there room for more collaboration? Could this help my kiddos grow?

Data gathering and global data lend themselves much better to a classroom setting with a math or an interdisciplinary curriculum. Yet, so much of the material we read in intervention is informational, perhaps there is a way to incorporate real-time or live data resources. Quite often an informational text will feature a graph or chart, and the students will discuss its meaning. Perhaps an online data source could complement (replace?) the texts we use.

Edutopia. (2012, December 12). An introduction to technology integration [Video file]. Retrieved from

Hinton, S. & HJorth, L. (2013). Understanding social media. Los Angeles, CA: SAGE Publications, Ltd.

Phillips, P. P., Aaron, B. C., & Phillips, J. J. (2013). Survey Basics. Alexandria, VA: ASTD Press.

Petro Jr., N. (2010). Hate taking notes? Try mind mapping. Gpsolo, 27(4), 20-23.



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