Heather Callihan’s @hcallihan students help with their Facebook and Twitter using some technology tools. Students can have a voice and you can safely let them help your school share the story. Heather teaches us how.
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Below is an enhanced transcript, modified for your reading pleasure. All comments in the shaded green box are my own. For guests and hyperlinks to resources, scroll down.
Safely Involve Students in Social Media and More Ways to Give Students a Voice
Wednesday, September 6, 2017
Vicki: Today we’re talking to Heather Callihan @hcallihan from Nebraska about helping kids find their voice in some very practical ways.
How do you help kids find their voice?
So, Heather, how do you help kids find their voice?
Heather: Well, Vicki, I have a passion for digital citizenship and student voice integrated in there. I think one of the things that I try to promote with teachers with administrators, and people within our district and our state is, “How do you allow (this), and what are you doing in your schools to put student voice out there?
So, we have, obviously — across the United States and the world — we’ve got this push for social media and schools sharing their story. I feel like a lot of the stories are shared by administrators or teachers that have access to the accounts. I feel very strongly about sharing stories, but student voices as well.
So, what can we do to get our student voice integrated into those school accounts, like our school Twitter, school Facebook, Instagram? Our students are in the classroom. They’re in the trenches. They are at the activities. They’re at the athletic events. And so, anytime they can post to Twitter or post to Facebook is a good opportunity for them to share the story.
Integrating that into your district accounts or your school-specific social media accounts is an awesome way to share that story. I think districts strive to share their story, but I think there’s just so much power in the student voice.
What tools help us let kids have input into the school social media accounts?
Vicki: How do we do that? I work with our school Facebook page. If a kid posts something on Facebook, usually, of course, it’s private. But if I turn around and re-share that on the school Facebook page, then haven’t I just compromised their privacy? How can we do this without having privacy worries?
Heather: One of the things that we have incorporated (is that) we are currently piloting a tool called Class Intercom. This tool empowers students to be digital leaders, but it also makes the social media easy for schools. Basically, what it does is connect your school social media to the account and allows students access to that portal, where they can create the posts. So they’re actually creating the post for your school account, but as a teacher, I’m the coach.
I coach them through that authentic digital citizenship “opportunity,” I guess you could say, where I get a notification that says that a student posted this, or this picture and this 40-character Tweet. I can hit “Submit” or I can add a comment, change some things. It gives those authentic teaching opportunities – not just for digital citizenship but for simple things like grammatical errors, or anything that would normally come up as far as grammar and sentence structure.
So that’s one of the things we’re doing. We’re using it as a way to share our story through student voice, but also this year we would like to incorporate it into an internship opportunity. We see the push for the marketing positions out there, and they deal with a lot more social media than they used to, and so that is the future of marketing, per se. It’s an authentic way to coach them through those opportunities. We’re kind of at the beginning stages of it, but it’s an awesome opportunity to do that.
How do you give students credit for their work?
Vicki: Is there some kind of notation on the post that’s been written of the student that wrote it?
Heather: No, we haven’t. If they want to, they can, if they want to reference their own personal Twitter account. A lot of times what students will do with that tweet from the Class Intercom portal is they’ll just retweet it on their account, and maybe quote the tweet and say something like that.
Or as a Tech Coach myself, I might retweet something and say we’ve got some student voice coming from our #ginwvikings Twitter account. Thanks to so-and-so, and maybe reference them. Sometimes it can come from a class or an activity, so we might reference the sponsor or the coach or something like that.
Vicki: Wow, you’re blowing my mind! So, our kids can help us with our biggest headache, sometimes – social media — through Class Intercom. Is it free?
Heather: No, it’s not free. There’s a little bit of a cost. But check it out.
Helping students develop their voice through digital portfolios
Vicki: Yeah, we’ll put that in the Show Notes. OK, so how else do you help your kids have authentic student voice?
Heather: One of the other things that we had done was incorporated some digital portfolios. I’m a big fan of having kids create those portfolios, and share exactly what they’re doing in the classroom, or share the great things that are happening.
So, Go Ennounce is also a tool that we’re using, where students are creating a digital portfolio, sharing their accomplishments, and sharing their awards, short little video clips – they can do that. Then when it comes time to do scholarships or when they’re applying to a college, they have a one-stop shop of something to share with employers, coaches, colleges. But it gives that one-stop shop of something to have.
Each teacher has a different platform of something that they’re using to have students curate content or curate things, whether it’s a paper or a blog or whatever they’re doing. We really work to make some seamless, integrated opportunities for students so that when they are seniors or even juniors, and they’re applying for those jobs or things, they have something to share.
So, Go Ennounce is another platform that we are using for that. That’s again, high school students.
Vicki: So, I have my students build a personal website. They’re including those on their college applications. And it’s making a difference!
Go Ennounce – does that let the kids’ content be shared publicly?
Heather: No, it’s actually private. What the students do is have control over where they can share it.
So, if I was going to work with you, Vicki, and I’m a student, I would share that. It would say, “Heather Callihan has invited Vicki Davis to view her Go Ennounce portfolio.”
When the time comes, if I decide that’s not the route I’m going, I can take that privilege away from you. I can send you the invite to look at the portfolio, but I can also revoke it. So students are sharing it with teachers, so then again, it creates those authentic opportunities for students to build their online presence.
The importance of building a positive digital presence
Heather: I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir here, but we know how important it is for students to build that online presence in a positive way. And so as teachers we work to model it, but I feel like there’s so much preaching. You should or shouldn’t do this and this and this – But any time that we can provide that opportunity to show them and coach them as they build a portfolio, or as they build their online presence, it’s key.
Fear of involving students and how to overcome that fear
Vicki: So, Heather, as we finish up, we have time for one more idea, or one more encouragement to teachers to help students find their authentic voice. What is yours?
Heather: I think in education we need to not be afraid of… I think the “F” word gets in the way. The Fear word gets in the way. We’re afraid of what students are going to post, and what students are going to do. We just need to empower them and provide those opportunities, because fear isn’t going to get us anywhere. It’s not going to help the students learn.
Just like in any sport, we coach our kids through the activity, we coach them in their technique so the digital citizenship or creating that online presence isn’t any different. I just think that online presence is so important. As teachers, administrators, school officials, we just need to continue to provide those coaching opportunities in whatever way, and however it looks.
Vicki: Now we’ve gotten so many fantastic ideas to help students find their voice. What I love about these is that these are very practical ideas.
Heather, you have told me about two new things I’ve never heard about before, so you know, we all learn when we talk to each other about what’s happening in different places.
I am going to be checking out Class Intercom and Go Announce. Two cool new tools. We will actually put links to them in the Show Notes and in the transcript.
So get out there and be remarkable. Let’s let our kids help us with social media for a change.
Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford
Biography as Submitted for Heather Callihan
I am a Technology Integration Specialist for Northwest Public Schools in Grand Island, Ne. Our district is 1:1 at the high school and we have several iPads and Chromebooks that our K-8 students utilize daily. I am the current NETA Board President Elect.(@YourNETA), Common Sense Graphite Certified Educator, a Common Sense Digital Citizenship Certified Educator and a GoEnnounce Digital Image Champion. I have a passion for integrating technology in education.
I believe learning needs to be visible and students need to master skills involving Collaboration, Creation, Communication and Critical Thinking. With seamless integration of technology, students have multiple opportunities to experience this and become well-rounded learners in the 21st century.
I believe in sharing your story and maintaining a positive online presence. I have a passion for digital citizenship and sharing with students and adults. I love learning and opportunities to do so. I am always up for connecting, collaborating and sharing with others.
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