Social Media Tools in the Classroom

Social Media Tools in the Classroom

This is an  analysis on the merits of having social media permitted in the classroom. Various kinds of social media allow students to be creative and keep them engaged. Many teachers and administrators worry about their lack of experience and possible misuse in the classroom. However, this report will explain how social media can be an asset rather than a failure in the classroom.


Comparison of Series and Parallel in DC Circuits

We will examine the Physics unit, Electricity and Magnetism, in which our laboratory will focus on Series and Parallel Circuits. This lesson follows the Baltimore County Public School indicator, CLG 5.2.2: The student will describe the sources and effects of electric and magnetic fields. The objective of this lesson is the following: Students will analyze series and parallel circuits in order to understand how they are different.

Yodio Presentation of DC Circuit Simulation


BCPS Intranet. Retrieved April 4, 2013, from

“About PHET” Retrieved April 2, 2013, from

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Introduction to Yodio

Shawn’s Yodio Screen Cast

This is the Screen Cast for the use of the tool Yodio, which features the explanation of how to use the simulation website, Phet. Yodio allowed me to take pictures with my own personal camera (although webcams are more appropriate) and download voice audios directly from my phone. I found that Yodio is an exceptional tool, especially when trying to help others navigate through a website, or even just for engagement purposes, such as the one that I presented towards the end. This particular Yodio application explains how to begin using a simulated DC circuit.


We will be reviewing the web tool, Yodio, which allows you to upload pictures and record your voice to help narrate a story to go with it.

As you can see, pictures can be uploaded, or you can use stock pictures found in the Yodio website. The audio that one may use to narrate with comes from either your MP3 files or by simply calling in the narration through the toll free number. I will show you the calling version today, and with the way that students use their cell phones, I believe that students may be more inclined to use this format.

This site allows you to have different kinds of accounts. They range from free to $34.99 per month. The cool thing about the paying accounts is that you can receive royalties for having people who visit and upload your files. However, today we will only be going through the complimentary account.

Set up your accounts.

Sign in with the information you used for setting up the account.

We will look at one I have already started called “Phet Website.”

Your main focus will be to download pictures that you want to show to tell a story through the tab that says “Image”, and then you will download narrations through another tab that says “Audio”.

All files can go into a file that you can create in the Yodio website. In this case, we will use pictures that were downloaded onto a file on my desktop of my computer, and then we will use voice narrations, which I have already called in at the toll free number at the top right corner. The great thing about calling in is that once you have created your account, the website will automatically download your voice into a file on the site.

Next, you press the Create Yodio tab and you will see “Create a standard blank Yodio and go to production system.”

Then, you will see a snapshot of a brief tutorial. Once you feel comfortable with how to proceed, click on “I’m ready to get started.”

The pictures and voice narrations can be dragged over to the appropriate spots on the right, rename the individual tracks of image and audio, and then you can add another track until you have finished.

Press “Publish Options” and you will be able to decide how to publish it. The main things to keep in mind are to mark it as Private and allow embedding. This way, you can decide who sees your work, unless you decide to share it with everyone, and even make a profit.

I think this would truly make a great website to use, especially when I assign group projects. The students could be shown how to use the website and then they could do a research project on, say, the difference between white dwarf stars, neutron stars, and black holes, for example. I believe that some students are technologically savvy, so they would feel better behind the scenes, while other students love to ham it up with their voices.

“We will start by going to the Phet website, Be sure that your computer is equipped with JAVA before proceeding.”

“Click on the “Play with sims” orange button, in the middle right.”

“As you can see, there are many different subjects that have simulations. Click on the Physics tab on the left-hand side.”

“Whether you’re a physics teacher or not, you can see that there are quite a few units of physics, including motion. Click on “Electricity, Magnets, and Circuits.” We are going to have fun making circuits!”

“Click on the top right sim called Circuit Construction Kit (DC Only). The DC is short for direct current, such as a battery, which simplifies the lab.”

“You can choose to download, run now, or just click on the picture. I will click on the picture.”

“Hey, I thought we were making a circuit! Where is everything? Oh yeah…I have to build it! All the equipment is on your right. You can just drag over different tools, and you get an unbelievable…”

“Fire! Quick, get the extinguisher!”

Or, no light at all! Why is there a dog in my circuit? Okay, who’s the wise guy?

“Finally, a complete circuit that shows light!”

References: “About PHET” Retrieved April 2, 2013, from

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School Blogs POST 3

When I went to the Georgetown Elementary Blog, what I found was unexpected: an elaborate arrangement of schedules, classroom blogs, pictures, instructional diagrams, and general news. I can tell you that the information that is presented shows an impressive amount of detail. The schedule of events in very up to date and extends up to the end of April. Every week there is a listing of events for that week in which events for a particular class, or even the whole school, are listed. The blogging is typical in the way that the last blogs appear first. In addition, there are pictures and videos available to show what the classes are doing. The Room 303 Harlem Shake was a riot. Much of the information that is showcased is ready to be shared by various means: Facebook, Twitter, or Blogging, such as this one on the schedule of events for March 11-16, 2013. As I said, I was pleasantly surprised to find so much involvement and dedication to this blog when thinking about an elementary school.


Next, I found that the Leawood Middle School Blog has many interesting concepts that make the school shine. This blog has the opportunity to educate the reader in what the school, as a whole, is involved with. But it goes further by teaching the viewer on certain concepts that are learned. Some of postings involve the use of graphs, such as this one that examined the temperature changes through 24 hours. I noticed that a lot of the news seemed to be fairly split between local, national and international, so that the viewer can see beyond the school and see the outside world. In  order for our kids to think critically, we must give them access to the real world and find what they think of it and what they can do to change it for the better, such as this one on African women who carry water because water is very hard to transport. I could see myself teaching a lesson on environmental science using this particular blog because of the various thoughts on how to learn for learning sake.


Lastly, I must admit that it was hard to find a particular blog of a high school that wasn’t just sports-related. After a while, I found the Hull High School Blog, which seems to be more or less a calendar of events. In addition, a listing of all the new scholarships available to the school is visible and downloadable. It tells me that this is an efficient school that uses a blog to update information for students to have on demand. However, I found that this blog is for information purposes only and that there was no place for me to post a response. This blog gives students updates, but there isn’t really any kind of educational value.

Of the three types of schools, the middle and elementary schools seem to bring an inquiring way of learning: both present information that stimulates thinking and engages the viewers. I could see how during a faculty meeting that we could start a blog on the accomplishments of every department, just like in Georgetown. I think that many of my colleagues may be thinking that it would be too much effort in addition to the everyday things that they must do. I am sure that students could do wonderful things with the technology of blogging, but if students do not see teachers making an effort to bring technology effectively to the classroom, then, as Mike Ribble points out, “When students see adults using technologies inappropriately, they can assume it is the norm” (p. 2). Students are going to learn technology with or without us, it’s our job to decipher and instruct accordingly. Blogging is just one example.


Ribble, Mike S., Bailey, Gerald D., and Ross, Tweed W.. “Digital Citizenship: Addressing Appropriate Technology Behavior.” Learning & Leading with Technology. vol. 32, no.1. (2004). Retrieved March 21, 2013, from

Science Educator Blogs – POST 2

Steve Spangler has such an extraordinary educator’s blog. He makes science so much fun. The blogs show everyday occurrences that are explained through scientific investigations, whether it be about dancing spaghetti, approaching comets, or exploding alka selzers. Instead of a dry dull lecture on how science works, he is able to convey his excitement of what it takes to make things happen. Although he is not an actual teacher he can instruct while engaging the audience. This is one of the most important aspects of what we call the 5E system in science: Engagement, Exploration, Explanation, Evaluation, and Extension. In labs, you must be able to get the students engaged and the way that Steve makes it fun, the students will want to be involved! For instance, Steve demonstrates the way that Mentos reacts with Coke, on the Ellen show:

The next educator blog, The Scientific Shamrock, comes from a teacher known as Mrs. Haygood. Although there is not much in the way of texts, she brings many wonderful exhibits of physics and engineering at work. Going back to the 5 E model, not only can her videotaped classes engage the blogger, they can even provide models for how experiments can go, in other words, explore and explain. I could definitely see the opportunities that would come about with this blog because the demonstrators are only students just like the ones that I have in my classroom. Haywood really understands the importance of getting right to the main picture, which in this case, are many. The great thing about all of her videos is that they tend to be student-centered, which is the way that inquiry-based learning is gravitating (with this being a scientific blog, that was a pun!)

In the third educator blog, Adventures in Science, Mrs. DuBose explains about the rock cycles with quite a few elaborate diagrams to explain how the Earth works, including this one in which she displays a rock cycle animation. I’m sure that she makes this blog available as a reinforcement of what was taught in class. This blog goes further than a typical text that the students could read in the textbook. Instead, it shows computer graphics that help accentuate many of the top concepts that Earth Science students should know, including the rock cycle. In addition, there are multiple diagrams and lesson plans to make a science teacher full of joy! I also teach Earth Science so this idea of expanding on what was learned during her lectures could definitely give students the ability to add on and extend, as in the 5 E model.

All three of these blogs could be integrated as a series of ways to establish the 5 E model, except possibly the Evaluation. I expect that I could allow students to view these blogs during a class and then have them work on their own contributions towards a collective class blog. In addition, it would be great to introduce the concept of how students could effectively solve problems through the new Common Core standards that are now being pushed. The inquiry-based learning is something that our department meetings have been engrossed with. If I introduce not just the concept of blogging, but key strategies on how to involve the students more I’m sure teachers might go with it because they may find that each of these blogs are different enough to give each science teacher an idea to promote.  Although there are no Creative Commons emblems on these blogs, they are available to the public. Just as Linda Starr mentions, “The guidelines specifically exempt K-6 students from adhering strictly to those [copyright] portion limits” (Applying, p.4). These were fun, yet informative sites.

Starr, Linda. “Applying Fair Use to New Technologies?” EducationWorld. Education World. 25 Jun. 2010. Retrieved March 21, 2013, from.

Science Teachers – Post 1

     As a science teacher, I often find it difficult teaching students effectively with the limited budgets we have at school. I can say out of experience that the ability to teach the laws of capacitance is rather difficult without the chosen materials. But then, viola! we turn to either a you tube video, a computer program, or even a blog.

    What is a blog? Sounds like an old 50’s movie monster that eats people by dissolving them. No wait – that’s the blob! No, instead, a blog is characterized by what Wikipedia calls “ blog is a discussion or informational site published on the World Wide Web and consisting of discrete entries (“posts”) typically displayed in reverse chronological order (the most recent post appears first).”

     So here go my jump into the science education through blogs. We will first look at 3 educators and then 3 different kinds of school blogs (Elementary, Middle, and High School). Questions will arise…