It seems the best way to attend a conference is in PJs.
I “attended” the 2o12 session, “Leveraging Social Media to Flatten Your Classroom Walls” presented by Paula Naugle and Jan Wells: http://k12onlineconference.org/?p=1148.
The audio was great at the beginning, but took a turn for the worst as the session continued. I had this same issue many times before while taking online graduate classes. It’s very frustrating as a learner, because the skipping and cutting out of the sound makes it nearly impossible to get a solid grasp on the material. However, replaying it several times, I pieced it together.
The ideas here are to break down barriers of the “walls.” The learning does not end with the contents inside the classroom, that is just the start. They spoke of ways to connect with different students and teachers alike, and proved how rich the learning can be when more voices are involved. It would be a great idea to Skype with another classroom. I would just be afraid, again, that the connection would not be great and the learning would be lost, as has happened to me several times as a student. However, the idea that we can use experts as guest speakers and share them, or Skype them in from abroad, is certainly intriguing and it couldn’t hurt it try it out. I am starting a new class this year teaching beginner level Hebrew, and it would be great if I could get one of my Israeli friends on Skype to practice some Hebrew with them. It would be exciting for both parties, and much more memorable for my students then listening to an mp3 and answering content questions. There are several more resources out there that would be fun to tap into, so I will continue to explore these options. Bringing social media in the classroom is also fun for the students and keeps their responses organized and accountable. I would love to try Edmodo, and as 6th graders I think they are more than capable of having their assignments on a social media site such as this. I personally use Googledocs for everything, but if I bring it into the classroom, then every student has to have a Gmail account. This is certainly possible, but I might like something like Edmodo a bit more for students.
Overall, this session was beneficial to expand my mind on how to use social media in the classroom, and expand the classroom beyond the physical limits.