Course 5 Finale – #isssocialmediaedu

I have finished! This post may sound a little like a celebration because it is one! Yahoo!!! I’ve had a blast on this COETAIL journey. Honestly I took my first course several years ago and thought, “I know this stuff!” and did not take the second course right away. But I soon realized that I was missing a great opportunity. An opportunity to meet once a week or so for several hours to meet with nearly 20 teachers and be a part of their COETAIL journey. Why would I miss that? What was I thinking!?

So from the very “foundational” things we all did in Course 1, to the practical (for teachers and our students) stuff in Course 2 about digital footprints, creative commons, etc. to the super-fun visual literacy work in Course 3 (my favorite course) to the application of the first three courses in Course 4, the whole COETAIL journey has been a ton of fun and introduced me to a load of great new people.

Above you will find my video that summarizes my Course 5 project. Therewithin you will find details about my whole-community social media training program, including my reflections on the project, etc. I really wanted to provide parents, teachers, and students with the knowledge they needed to redefine their own practice and learning. I feel that I did that through this three-tiered training program. Have a look and hit the comment section on the YouTube page, this post, or the peer-review “Course 5 Final Project Feedback” sheet if you are one of my cohort members.

Please remember that my project included parents, teachers, and students. Some of the feedback questions are about students but please consider parents and teachers as my “students”.

I hope you enjoy a bit of humor with my interviewer and the “Star Wars” effect ;-)

Thanks everyone!


Enduring Understanding:
Social media is a major part of our students’ lives and therefore teachers should be modeling its use.

Social media can be a powerful form of PD for teachers.

Essential Questions:
What does it mean for a teacher to use social media in a way that models digital age work and learning?

In what ways does social media challenge the traditional PD model for teachers?


My UBD Unit details/Project Template

Presentation link for my all staff Twitter session

One of my parent “Morning Connections” presentations

Parent reflection/feedback on my sessions:

"Hi Mr David, thank you very much indeed for your help. Thanks, I appreciated that! Have a great evening." 
- Mrs Di Marzio."
"Thank you for the information, I enjoyed the session very much."
- Ms. Arnes

Contact information:



Power of the PLN

I love my job as the Director of Technology at the International School of Stavanger in Norway. I love the day to day interaction with teachers and students. I love working with the admin team.

I also love the network of #edtech people that I get to “work with” around the world. It’s my PLN, my “people” that I can connect with around the world that are so fantastic! Part of my personality just loves meeting new people and my PLN allows me to do that frequently. My wife, who has recently returned to Twitter after a little “time apart”, said to me the other day, “I can see why you are not on Facebook anymore, there is so much to learn on Twitter!” I smiled deeply inside and out. She’s finding her “people” again in the art world and is singing the praises of Twitter and Pinterest.

Documenting my PLN (a task we are assigned to do in this course) is both easy and hard at the same time. Twitter has been a part of my PLN for a long time. In fact I’d say that the #coetail hashtag is one that I use frequently. I used to tell myself that I had to tweet a certain number of times a week but now I just find that I naturally tweet things like this:

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 9.38.27 PM


It’s just a natural part of how I work and learn. That’s why it is hard to document. Being asked to document a part of your daily workflow is a little overwhelming. If you are in doubt about my PLN, just have a look at my Twitter account I guess!

I find that especially through the use of hashtags the conversation is sustained, two-way. Here’s just one example of a thought provoking set of tweets with someone I have never met (via Twitter) This “chat” was about the idea of removing explicitly taught tech skills from MS and HS curriculum, something I am interested to see how/if other schools are doing successfully.

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 9.44.57 PM

So there you have it, a little evidence that Twitter is a vital part of my PLN. So what is next for me? I’d like to be a part of a few more hosted, content-specific chats and I would like to be a little more vulnerable in my Tweets. So far I have kept things strictly work-related and I will mostly keep things that way, but I may experiment a bit with some personal/vulnerable tweets.

See you on my PLN!

Meerkat vs. Periscope


image credit: Meerkat app (Life on Air Inc.) and Periscope app (Twitter Inc.)


There are two new apps in the social media landscape. If you have not noticed Periscope and Meerkat  you should open the app store on your phone and have a look. I am always fascinated by new apps that seem to take the world by storm and these are two apps that fit in this category. And yes, I am doing a social media project for my final COETAIL course so I immediately wanted to see what these apps were about!

It’s funny, the ability to stream from the phone in your pocket is nothing new. Ustream has been around for years. So what is the big deal with Periscope and Meerkat? I installed the apps and created accounts in an effort to figure this out. (Hint: It’s not about the app itself as much as it is about being “found”)

Meerkat was first on the scene. It is heavily integrated with Twitter  which works great for me personally but I know that will be a problem for some people. Personally I like the interface on Meerkat. I live the flow of viewer icons that “roll” into the screen. The quality seems good too. My biggest gripe, and this is true for Periscope as well, is that you cannot search for a hashtag on video streams. You seem to only be able to search for users and this is a serious limitation.











Periscope, which came out later, is Twitter’s own response to Meerkat and I think it will be very successful because of that. Imagine how hard it would be for anyone else to compete with Facebook’s messenger app. This is similar to the Twitter video streaming competition we are seeing here. Twitter owns it and that may be it’s biggest advantage.

So we have two apps that do very similar things, with huge growth over the last month or so. One of them is “going down” but only time will tell which one!


Now on to the education application of these apps…

The very first time I looked at Meerkat and Periscope I immediately saw the application for education. In fact, I was totally hooked on watching a garbage collector do his job. Yes, a garbage collector. It was on Periscope. Because you cannot search for hashtags (only users) I was just checking out the “popular videos” section. There was a guy with a stream listed “Watch me collect garbage”. This sounded interesting to me so I jumped on the stream. Immediately I realized that this guy was driving a garbage truck, alone. His truck had one of those automatic “bin grabbers” that would just pick up the garbage as he drove by the bin on the street.

Now in both Periscope and Meerkat you can post comments. It’s what makes the whole thing truly social. I noticed immediately this was not  your typical “Eating a sandwich” stream with people making comments like ” you suck”. People were actually asking real questions of the driver. “Are you union?”, “How long does the route take you?” Things like that. I found myself wishing I could have a whole grade 1 class next to me! I asked a question about how he aligns the bin with the mechanical arm. He answered me (and the world) right away, “I just eye it” he said with pride.

Meerkat seems to have a popular channel with a restaurant in Sweden where the chefs show what they are making, giving insight into how the kitchen runs. Sure it may also give them a business boost, but honestly most of the people in the restaurant probably don’t have a clue what Meerkat is and don’t care. It’s just sharing, teaching the world.

So what about you? Which app do you think is going to win the war? More importantly how do you see these apps being used in education? Is this just another simple way to “flip” a classroom or is there potential to use them in a more social way? Hit the comments area and let me know your thoughts.

#ISSsocialmediaedu – I summoned the Fail Whale but did not fail

In my last post used an image of the Fail Whale just to show that I was taking the risk of the Fail Whale appearing. Well it happened. I summoned the Fail Whale.

My plan was simple yet ambitious. I wanted to get all of our faculty who did not have Twitter accounts signed up on the microblog service. Actually I had two goals. I wanted to get them all signed up but also teach them the anatomy of a tweet and how to use hashtags.

Things started out very well. I showed the classic “Book as New Technology” video which is actually in Norwegian (Our school is in Norway) with English subtitles. Several people had seen that video but many had not so it was a hit. I told them a quick story about how a teacher just this week had asked me a question about the best iPad app for mind mapping. I immediately sent out a tweet and got a reply from Jeff Dungan in Shanghai (thanks Jeff!) He had mentioned #lucidchart in his tweet and within 24 hours the product manager of #lucidchart had tweeted us both, asking for our feedback and wondering if we wanted to join the beta for the next version of the product. That the power of the network and I wanted to tell that story because people relate to stories.

We moved on to the account creation stage and things seemed okay until the fail whale appeared. His image did not actually appear on the screen but users were unable to create accounts. You’ve been there I’m sure. One person near me raised their hand and showed me their screen, “It’s asking for my phone number?!?!” I looked at their screen and sure enough there was a screen that asked for their mobile number so that Twitter could send a verification SMS. My director raised her hand and asked me for help too. She did not have her phone nearby so I told her she may not be able to make an account this afternoon. Then some people who had their phones entered their mobile numbers and got an error on the screen. Twitter was freaking out because so many people were trying to create accounts from a single IP address. I knew I was going to have to change plans.

I switched into demo mode. A few people had been able to make accounts and several people were already on Twitter so they could follow along but the majority of the faculty just watched, listened and learned while I dissected a tweet and explained hashtags. We had limited time so the switch to demo mode actually worked out quite well.

In the 24 hours since this event I have actually heard all positive feedback. I think sometimes that we are our own worst critic and while I felt bad about the faculty that were not able to create accounts, they seemed mostly unphased. Some people have actually told me they went home and completed the process of creating their accounts. I have had 5-6 teachers follow me on Twitter (and I had not asked them to do so). It was not a failure after all!

Next week I will email our faculty again and just give them a little reminder of the Twittersphere. I’m not going to let this little setback, well, set me back. I have limited time with the entire faculty and I could have just given them the “app of the week” type of session. Instead, I have given them the equivalent of a full time personal PD assistant! I did not feed them fish, I taught them to fish and I’m pretty excited about fishing with them now and in the future.

#ISSsocialmediaedu – all staff on Twitter in 40 minutes – crazy?

There are three parts to my project and the first part (the teacher piece) is well under way. I have an upcoming all-faculty meeting where I will be working with our tech team to help all faculty create Twitter accounts. I know it seems a bit ambitious to tackle this with the whole faculty but I do feel strongly that this is the first step in getting people on board with social media. I can talk and demo the use of Twitter but until people actually get an account and start to use it things will tend to stay stagnant for them.

As a school we have made a serious social media push this year. Thanks to @katharinemudra, our new Director of Communications, the school now has a presence on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Katherine and I are both new to our positions this year and are excited to see where these new social media accounts will take us. But that push has mostly an outward-facing promotional goal. Teachers using social media to improve their practice is an entirely different thing!

What advice do you have for this upcoming meeting? Is it insane to think I could get 100 faculty on Twitter in 40 minutes? I have already had 20-30 minutes in a previous all-staff meeting where I talked about the purpose of Twitter and best practices. This was more of a foundational session. I talked about how teachers should represent themselves online. What not to post, etc. We have, since then, given specific instructions to teachers via email about what they are able to post in terms of students images. So the foundation is laid in terms of “the rules” of Twitter use.

What has been the biggest “hook” for you in terms of getting teachers connected with Twitter or other social media? What advice do you have for our upcoming “all staff on Twitter in 40 minutes” session? Hit the comments below and give me (and others who may try the same thing) some help 🙂

#ISSsocialmediaedu – My Final Project for Course 5

As a director of technology I wanted to look at a final project that could influence both the students and teachers as well as parents. My project is a social media education program for all three of these groups. Let’s start with the parent piece.

I believe parents will benefit from understanding both how their children use social media and how they themselves can use social media. I plan to work with our very active parent association to coordinate morning sessions where parents can learn about how students here at the International School of Stavanger use social media. We’ll cover the biggies: Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and whatever else seems appropriate.

The second part of the parent program will be about helping parents get personally connected via social media. Our school overall has been undertaking a major initiative this year to own our social media presence. By showing parents how to use social media in a lab-style environment we will actually have a double win. Firstly we will win parents over with this type of “free education” session. Second, we will be creating patrons who can benefit from the social media the school is using to connect with the greater community.

Now on to the teacher piece. The parents and students are easier because in our community many parents will participate when open events are announced and the students, well the students are in class where we have greater control of the content they are exposed to. But the teachers are busy teaching and keeping the school running so in many cases they are the hardest to connect with. I plan to get 40 minutes in an all-school meeting where I can get the entire staff and faculty on Twitter. Before this meeting I plan to promote Twitter via email and in whatever meetings I can get into so that there is some kind of foundation for the “Twitter Creation” meeting. I’ll use our Technology Champions and those people that already have and use Twitter accounts to help during this time.

Once I get the teachers on Twitter then I will continue to connect them with each other, then lead them into their own PLNs. Of course there are many many facets of social media that they need to learn, but the scope of this project with the teachers will be limited to Twitter unless there is a demand for more training from a particular set of teachers.

My focus with students will be in the 8th – 12th grades as they are the grades that will be 13 years or older, which allows them to create the accounts necessary to learn and practice using social media. My goals with the students will be to move their view of social media from just connecting with friends and entertainment to a broader understanding of how they can share with the world. I have an idea to begin in the art department as those students would have obvious content (media) to share. I know that every subject area will have something to share in the end but the art department will be where I plan to begin.

I am unsure whether I will ask students to create personal or school Twitter accounts. I know that especially in Norway there are certain legal implications of each option. If you have any ideas on this please comment below.

So my final #coetail5 project is pretty ambitious but I am very excited about the impact it can have on our school and the greater community. I’ll touch base again later when I have made some movement on the various parts of this project.