Become a RESPONSIBLE social media user!

Forgive me for the use of an exclamation point (!) in the title. Nope, I am not angry. Rather, there is a tinge of disappointment by how lots of people, including those in the academe, use social media irresponsibly nowadays. First, allow me to jog your memory as to what SOCIAL MEDIA really means and proceed by giving some thoughts, call it preaching or nudging, on how to be on the right track towards becoming the most responsible social media user on the web.

Here is how the net defines the term.

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Originally, social media is for sharing one’s thoughts, notes, pictures or videos to update our friends and loved ones about what’s been happening in our lives lately. The intention is not to broadcast to the whole world, except perhaps if you are a celebrity or a public figure, what you do in detail for each moment of your life. Neither is it used as a vehicle to bully someone you don’t like nor as an excuse to engage in an online WORD war against your enemies. On the contrary, it was designed to deepen our friendship with others, to rekindle old memories with acquaintances whom we seldom meet, or to gain even more friends.

Clearly, the SOCIAL part of the term comes first before MEDIA, or the internet, to give emphasis that the jargon was introduced as a way to INTERACT with other persons either by SHARING a wide variety of information with them and RECEIVING information from them as well. As expected, there are many types of social media platforms anyone can use. Social networking, being the most popular type, is one of them along with blogging, podcasting, photo sharing and gaming. Here is the social WEB as a reference.

NOW, back to my goal for this blog: BECOMING A RESPONSIBLE SOCIAL MEDIA USER. Let me be very straightforward by using the first letters of the word R-E-S-P-O-N-D to drive at my point. (Actually, I was just inspired by the acrostics that my son participated in during their nutrition month program…:)

R is for RESPECT. Due respect should be given to other persons’ posts. Refrain from giving snide remarks when we don’t like what we see or read. The old adage still holds in this digital age, that is, RESPECT begets respect.

E is for EXCELLENCE. Not all of us are perfectionists and we do not write using the perfect tenses. However, we should strive for excellence when it comes to the content of our blogs or notes. A helpful suggestion is to READ and RE-READ what we have just typed before deciding to press that BIG ENTER button in the keyboard. But when you are a teacher, you owe it to your students to become a good role model when it comes to giving comments or to just simply posting whatever those brain cells tell you to encode. One advice from our mother’s professor is this: IF IT DOESN’T SOUND RIGHT, THERE MIGHT BE SOMETHING WRONG.

“… let us utilize social media to BUILD BRIDGES and not to CREATE WALLS.”

S is for SELF-REGULATION. Yeah, yeah, yeah, there are no censorship bodies out there to police every post you make. But please, before hitting the OK or Publish button, think again and again about how your peers will react. We don’t have to please everyone I know but we have THE control about how we want others to perceive us.

P is for PURPOSE. Be reflective in using social media. What’s YOUR MAIN AGENDA behind posting the new dress you bought or the sumptuous expensive food you are about to eat? What will you gain from sharing your recent misadventures and problems in public? Again, think before you click.

O is for ORDER. We do not want to create confusion about who we are as a person. To avoid that, be very logical and consistent about what we share regarding ourselves. You present yourself to be a messy person and your friends will perceive you as such. But try to be prim and proper and your “trust” rating will be boosted.

N is for NETIQUETTE. Observe some ethics whenever you post. Ask yourself: “Will anyone’s sensibilities be offended by what I am showing or posting over the net?” We might have that it-is-my-wall-it-is-my-site excuse to justify this behavior but then again, there have to be some boundaries.

D is for DISCIPLINE. C’mmon, your friends have many REAL tasks to do other than just gawk at your memes, problems and selfies every minute. Will ONE or TWO posts be not enough for the day to let others know that you are still alive and doing well? More is less and less is more. Post only what is important and you’ll get more likes and comments. Do it every second and NOBODY will care about YOU anymore. Flooding other’s walls with just your own is SO IRRITATING that some might be tempted to unfollow or unfriend you instead.

SO there you have it. R-E-S-P-O-N-D. Respond to these tips and be the responsible social media user everyone expects to be. And remember this, let us utilize social media to BUILD BRIDGES and not to CREATE WALLS. So go on and POST now responsibly!

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Instructional Scaffolding, anyone?

Opening an email from De La Salle had been a habit lately. Waiting for some announcements such as suspension of classes, new schedules of courses and dates of online enrollment, friendly reminders to return overdue books borrowed from The Learning Commons, and of course, LOTS of invitations to attend lectures, workshops and seminars.

Last week is no different. We were invited to attend a seminar-workshop by Dr. Josefina Goodwin, a Science Teacher at the MCS and a Science Instructional Coach at Shelby County Schools, Memphis, Tennessee. The invitation reads:

Do you find that you waive scaffolding a lesson because it seems like a lot of work to do? As teachers, we already have a lot on our plates, so scaffolding may not be at the top of our list. But if you don’t scaffold a lesson, then it’s like teaching a child to ride his bike without the training wheels on. It’s important that we teachers don’t just say “I would like you to study chapters 1 and 2.” We have to give our students the tools to know what to do and how to do it.

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In this session, you will be able to:

  • Describe scaffolding and how it is used in instruction .
  • Look at the different scaffolding strategies and what they look like in science.
  • Visit the Gradual Release of Responsibility Model and define its components.
  • Plan for instruction within the framework of the Gradual Release of Responsibility Model
  • Look at several examples of C-E-R (Claim, Evidence, and Reasoning)  as applied in different areas of science.
  • Utilize new tools and strategies for instruction

This kind of invitation makes you really want to listen to the lecture and learn as much as you can. Dr. Goodwin explained well the two types of scaffolding strategies, GRR and CER, and even gave numerous activities demonstrating how to use the said strategies. Though the discussion focused more on its applications to science, teachers from all subject areas may adopt scaffolding technique to actively engage students to think critically, work independently, and reason out in a very logical manner.

In this age where learners are dependent on the internet (hello Google!) to supply a quick information when it is needed, scaffolding as a strategy would train students to look for evidences and give valid arguments whenever a conclusion or claim will be arrived at. As teachers’ roles are shifting from being mere authorities to facilitators in the classrooms, it would be best to use scaffolding in a wide repertoire of methods where we expect students to take responsibility for their own learning.

How I wish I could share everything that were learned from the seminar but hey, the net offers a lot of articles dealing with this pedagogy. We are free to search activities, materials, sample plans, discussions and forums about instructional scaffolding. Happy surfing!

Here are our pictures during and after the workshop.

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Preparations for a successful Technology Integration Seminar

This week is all about preparing ourselves to conduct a free seminar here at De La Salle University next month. It is a one-day activity to showcase and share some of the inputs learned from the class. NOW, what’s there to reflect on?

I’ve been thinking about three most important indicators towards successfully conducting a seminar. First things first is PLANNING. The basic elements like logistics, date, venue, participants and committees have to be agreed upon and established from the very beginning. Enter Sir Mike and Madam Evelyn. Some individuals from the group should stand up and act as leaders.  And they accepted the challenge in good faith. All aspects of the event were covered from registration to food to evaluation. Who will be the master of ceremonies? Who will be facilitators? Thus, chairpersons and members of some working committees were distributed, some were assigned, while the “experts” on technology-related topics were the lecturers. In other words, the HUMAN aspect, the manpower, of conducting a seminar has to be taken into consideration before anything else.

Next stop is PRIORITY. What should be on top of the list? What is of urgent concern that needs immediate attention? Everyone agrees that letters of approval, communication letters, permits, invitation letters and the like have to be written and prepared carefully before the “plane takes off”. This is a task delegated to those who are gifted with words. Yes, there are lots of them in the class. One really should be grateful that every one in an organization has its role to play and talent to contribute. And it’s also about willingness to accept a job the leader assigned a member to do. Nevertheless, if there is a need to say NO, then do so in a polite and apologetic manner.  Respect begets respect. Fortunately, the class understands each other so well.

Lastly is PARTICIPATION. Volunteer, cooperate and be visible all throughout each stage of the activity. Initial plans have to be shared, future constraints have to deliberated upon, and helpful ideas have to be voiced out to ensure success in any endeavor. Just like the ants who help each other build a nest and bring in food for the colony, the group would succeed if each one offers a helping hand and be there in every step of the way. The class as ONE was resolved to do the best it can to conduct this challenging endeavor.

Feeling very positive, we expect to have a successful seminar to offer to our colleagues in the basic education department.18893328_1765506610143629_7946789660343532892_n.jpg