Final Reflection and Course Blog

I learned a lot from this course this summer. Before beginning this course my social network use was limited to Twitter and Facebook, but I now know so much more.  I learned something from each assignment and thought they were well-organized, thoughtful assignments. I learned about many social networks that I never used before including Edmodo, Pearltrees, Learnist, Hackpad,, Google+, Goodreads, Linkedin, and more.  One of my favorite aspects of this course was how we communicated with our peers and professor. In previous courses I’ve only used email and moodle forums for course communications. I enjoyed the experience of using a Facebook group for posting our work and reviewing announcements. I also used Twitter heavily in this course because my PLN communicated mainly through Twitter. I was fortunate to have an excellent PLN and felt that we created great projects together, especially our music video appreciation course. I hope I have the opportunity to use the course we created with older students someday. I will definitely be sharing my PLN’s guide to content curation with my colleagues at school.

I am looking forward to applying all that I learned into my professional practice.  One of my reasons for taking this course was to learn how to use social media in my elementary music classes, and I now have many ideas. I plan to have my students write tweets for our music classes, create and use a class hashtag, and use Edmodo for class activities and announcements. I may even create a class Facebook page because many parents use Facebook as their main social network. I will also be discussing social media etiquette and digital footprints with my students and completing activities related to those topics.  Even though these aren’t music topics, I feel that it is very important to teach young students the importance of creating a positive digital footprint. I also plan to offer professional development sessions for teachers as part of my district’s Teacher Academy on using social networks in the classroom.

For professional development,  I will continue to participate in twitter chats, especially #musedchat. I will be on the lookout for webinars. I had never attended a webinar before and found them exhilarating. I loved being in sessions with people from all over the world and being able to chat with participants while listening to the presenter all within the comfort of my own home. I also joined some great Google+ groups for music education which I have already learned a lot from. I plan to keep in contact with my PLN members from this course as they were very knowledgeable, and I learned a lot from them. I will continue to grow my personal PLN through Twitter and Google+ by continuing to connect with music and edtech educators.

Lastly, in self-assessing my blog, I feel that I earned the full 75 points because my blog posts were detailed and met all requirements. I am glad that I will have these blog post for future reference as the assignments were very informative.


Social Networking Case Studies

I learned a lot about using social media in the classroom through this curation. It was difficult to find specific project examples as many blog posts were lists of ideas. The projects I did find are great, and I included what I learned from them and how they can be applied to music in the descriptions below. I unintentionally learned the importance of using tags for blog posts through this assignment.It made it much easier to search blogs for social media projects when the authors applied tags because the search features do not always work properly.

I also noticed that social media is not being heavily used (or just not blogged about) in elementary music education. It made me realize that there is a need for music educators to start sharing how they are using social media. This would be a great thing for me to blog about this year as I start using Twitter and other social media in my music class.

1. Why do we tweet? – – This blog post describes how a first grade class uses Twitter to connect with professionals related to what they are studying. In the music classroom, we could use twitter to connect with composers or musicians who have written or performed music we are studying.

2. How to Create a YouTube Playlist for Class – – This post explains how to create YouTube playlist to curate videos that teachers would like students to view, comment on, or discuss. Using YouTube as a social media tool would be an excellent way to discuss various performances of music we a studying in class or to examine the instruments of the orchestra.

3. Playing 20 Questions Live via Google Docs – – This class used Google Docs to play 20 questions live with another classroom. This would be an effective way to connect with another music class. We could play 20 questions describing different composers or musical instruments. I know my students would love this!

4. The Year of Skype – – This post describes how they use Skype in the music classroom.  Students get to perform music for other classes and practice proper audience etiquette. This is an exciting use of Skype and something I hope to do this year. Students love to perform, and I am sure the added excitement of performing over the web would be an educational experience.

5. Making Learning Authentic – – This posts discusses how they use Twitter in the Spanish classroom. I loved the idea of using a unique hashtag, having a monthly Twitter chat with students, parents, and professionals about their subject. I thought of many ways this could be applied to music. A few of these ideas include the following: viewing a music performance on YouTube and discussing via Twitter chat, discussing favorite composers or pieces of music via Twitter chat, and interview professional musicians through Twitter chat.

6. Kindergarten Around the World – – This project allows students to connect with other students via Twitter to learn about cultures different than their own. I would love to do this for young students to hear different music from around the world. There are many different styles of music all over the world that students have never heard, and this would be a great way for them to learn about it.

7. Social Media Should be Social – – This post was written after a year of having a class Facebook page with a Kindergarten class. I have felt, as an elementary educator, that it would not be effective to use Facebook. However, this teacher describes how it was a great way to communicate with parents, and by letting the students guide what he posted, it became “their voice to their parents.” I find this inspiring, and it is true that many of the parents use Facebook as their main or only social media, so it is a great way to connect.

8. Monsters on Twitter – – For this project a class wrote written descriptions of a monster they created, shared them via Twitter/Skype, and had another class draw the monsters based on their descriptions. This is such a neat project. I thought it would be awesome to have students describe a piece of music or style of music and have another class in a different part of the world compose the music using GarageBand or another music app. They could then discuss it through social media and edit until they agree on a final product.

9. Ten Ideas for Using Instagram in the Classroom – – This article presents many great ideas for using Instagram with students. While I realize we were not supposed to include lists for this assignment and as a new Instragram user, I found it inspiring.  It gave me ideas for my music classroom particularly the Photo Prompts idea. It would be a great activity to have students compose a piece of music inspired by a picture on Instagram. I also think it would be great to have students take pictures at school music events and share them via Instagram. It would be great to get the student point of view through pictures.

10. Trusting a Student with a Disctrict Twitter Account – – Students were given a chance to tweet their school day through a disctrict Twitter account. While this was done with older students, I could see it being successful in upper elementary provided the account was monitored and only given to students who model good behavior and academics. It would be really neat to see the perspective of a student and could be an excellent 21st century version of “Student of the Day.”


My curation (including additional sources) can be viewed here:


Social Media Policy

Developing a social media policy is not an easy tasks. Since the use of social media in schools is still relatively new there is a lot of room for error. I believe it is necessary to have a policy that is not too restricting of teachers and encourages the use of social media. One of my goals for this school year is to use twitter in my elementary music classroom. While developing this policy I thought about how I plan to use twitter and what policies would be helpful for teachers who have limited experience with social media.

Through my research I noticed that when social media is used in elementary schools it is usually heavily monitored by the teacher. Often students are required to compose drafts of tweets or posts and the teacher must approve them before posting.  With this in mind I decided to create a policy for teachers at my school to follow that encourages the use of social media in the classroom. This policy is for teachers in my elementary school using social media with students in the classroom as well as using it for professional development.


1.  Establish professional/classroom social media accounts for use in school and notify administrators of the social media that will be used.

2.  Keep all posts respectful, professional, and follow the code of conduct guidelines in the school handbook.

3. Communicate with families via social media to promote school/classroom events, student work, projects, field trips and more. Use unique hashtags to link conversations.

4. Get parental permission before posting any pictures of students on social media, Also, receive verbal permission from co-workers before using their image.

5. Respect copyright laws and credit sources when posting on social media. When possible, search Creative Commons for media to use in posts.

6. Monitor students at all times when using/posting on social media. Keep all passwords to accounts private and secure.

7. Carefully review others accounts before accepting followers or following others. Be sure what they are sharing is appropriate for school and students.


8. Share private, personal or confidential information related to yourself, students, or the school district.

9. Friend or follow any current/former student who is under the age of 18 and/or is still a student within the district.

10. Retweet or share resources/posts via social media without reviewing for inappropriate or inaccurate content.

Most importantly….DO use social media in the classroom to connect with other classrooms and educators from around the world.

In order to share this policy with parents and community members it would be presented at back to school nights, a board meeting, a PTO meeting,  as well as a separate community event which would showcase different ways social media can enhance learning.  There would a discussion portion of each meeting to allow parents and community members to provide feedback on the policy.



Sources that reviewed while creating this policy:

Anderson, S. (2012, May 7). How to create social media guidelines for your school. Retrieved from

Fisher, C. (2012). Creating social media guidelines for educators. Retrieved from

Lepi, K. (2012, June 11). Crowdsourced school social media policy now available. Retrieved from

Student Guidelines. (n.d.). Social media guidelines. Retrieved from


My Professional Learning Environment

Creating my Professional Learning Environment diagram helped me explore how I use social networks and web tools.  The process for creating the diagram was simple.  I started with my mobile device/computer and looked at all the apps/sites that I visit frequently (the larger icons on my diagram).  Then I thought about the resources that I use occasionally (the smaller icons on my diagram).  I knew that I wanted twitter to be the center of my PLE and through a web search I came across this amazing backdrop to use for my diagram. Next I compiled all the logos and organized/grouped them into a cohesive diagram.   I used twitter as a backdrop because it is the main network that I use and most of my networking, sharing, and professional development stems from twitter.  Using the backdrop with the clouds and twitter icon also clearly shows the connections between the communities.  Much of the great resources I find for Pinterest, Feedly, YouTube, Diigo and more come from twitter.  Twitter is also where I share resources that I discover from google searches, feedly, and other networks.  Although twitter is the main community I use, because of what I’m learning in EDTECH543, I am beginning to expand my PLE and start using other communities more frequently (instagram, linked-in and google+ are new communities for me).

I enjoyed viewing my classmates PLE diagrams and was struck by how everyone has a unique PLE. The first thing I noticed is that twitter is not central to everyones PLE. Everyone has their own favorite community that they use most. Whereas my diagram focused more on finding resources, others emphasized creating their own content or sharing content through a variety of communities. Also, I came across communities that I haven’t heard of or used and will be exploring them in the future. I also noticed that my peers use networks in different ways. For example, with the exception of this course, I have only used facebook for personal use and some of my peers use it for professional use. This varied usage  was apparent for other communities as well. It was certainly a learning experience to view other’s PLEs and gave me some insight on how I can continue to expand my Professional Learning Environment.

My PLE Diagram (click to enlarge)


Live, Real-Time Professional Development

The live, real-time professional development that I attended over the last few weeks was excellent. I have participated in a few twitter chats before but not with tweetdeck. Tweetdeck certainly updated more quickly and made chatting much easier. A challenge I found with the twitter chats was the 140 character limit because it sometimes would take long to condense my thoughts and respond in a timely manor. I’m guessing with time and practice that is something that I will get used to. The webinars I attended were outstanding. I was very impressed by RSCON5 and so glad it fell during this coursework. I have never participated in live webinars before, and it was very neat connecting with people from all around the world. I contributed to the twitter chats by engaging with other participants and answering the questions. I contributed in the webinars by engaging in the back channel chats.

Twitter Chats and Key Learnings

1. #TedEdChat – I liked how everyone participating in this chat watched a TED Talk before and then we discussed different quotes from it. This particular chat was on grit and how the more grit a student possesses the more successful they will be. It was an interesting discussion and I will be saving the TED talk to share with colleagues.

2. #EdChat – The chat topic was if authentic learning can take place within the common core. This ended up being more of a discussion of how authentic learning should be defined. I wasn’t as interested in this discussion but found it very interesting the variety of opinions and diversity of definitions for authentic learning.

3. #EdTechChat- This chat was extremely fast paced, wow! It was hard to follow at times, but I learned a good tip to keep the moderators in a separate column as to not miss the questions. We discussed using social media in schools, and I connected with edtech colleagues from NJ.

4. #MusEdChat- We discussed balancing new music with old classics. I liked the discussion and it was cool hearing the similarities in programs around the US. I also learned about some new composers that I hadn’t heard of before.

Webinars (RSCON5) and Key Learnings

1. Whatever Happened to Joy? – This webinar discussed how joy is important and made the argument that it should be included in daily learning. I found this inspiring because as a music teacher my goals are to make the students love music and have fun with music. It was very refreshing hearing someone discuss the importance of joy and fun rather than data and assessment. I really liked how he would pause, have us watch a video and then discuss. I also learned a lot from the back channel chat. It was fun being able to engage with other participants during the presentation rather than just sitting dormant like a classroom lecture. He also posed a question on twitter before the presentation and included the results in his discussion. I thought that was an excellent use of social media.

2. Be a Maker, not a Taker: Hacking (Music) Education – This was presented from Germany which I found interesting. I enjoyed hearing the educational similarities between cultures. The presenter focused on technology use in the classroom. It was a good overview of educational technology.

3. Tech & App Swapalooza – This was a cool experience. Multiple people shared their favorite web tools and apps. I also learned a lot about Blackboard Collaborate because the moderator began with an overview of the features. I have many new apps to check out from this session.

4. Connecting Beyond the Classroom – This session presented ways to connect with other educators and classrooms. We learned about mystery skype calls, virtual field trips, the global read aloud, the global digital scrapbook, epals,, international dot day and more. It was a very informative and smoothly run webinar.

I plan to continue checking out live webinars and participating in twitter chats.

Plan for Developing Positive Digital Footprint and Managing Online Reputation

Here are my 10 strategies for developing a positive digital footprint and managing my online reputation:

1. Search my name regularly using multiple search engines to ensure there is no unwanted content associated with my name. I will be sure to check video, image, and blog searches as well (Kuehn, 2010).

2. Develop a positive online presence by actively posting professional material on social networks and other sites (Richardson, 2008).

3. Be aware of pictures being taken at parties or social events that I might not want to be posted online.  Make sure that family and friends know when I do not want them to post any pictures of me (Kuehn, 2010).

4. Be careful of who I am following on twitter by making sure I am not following anyone who is posting inappropriate content (Hengstler, 2011).

5. Remember when writing emails to anyone that it is only private based on the honor-system and anything you write could potentially be forwarded or posted/printed to be seen by anyone (Hengstler, 2011).

6. Spend time learning about social networks that are unfamiliar to me.  Find out the answers to questions about the social network site including: What information is public on the site and what are the privacy settings (Johnston, 2013).

7. Only join social networks that would be considered professional. There are some social networking sites that would be inappropriate for an educator to join (Hengstler, 2011).

8. Review my districts social networking policy to make sure my online activity is in compliance with what the district expects of their employees (Johnston, 2013).

9. Use secure passwords for sites that I join and update old passwords to insure that no one can get into my accounts and post unwanted material (De, n.d.).

10. Establish an page and use resources such as Google alerts, mention, and brandyourslef to monitor my digital footprint (De, n.d.).



De, K. (n.d.) Six steps to proactively manage your digital footprint. Retrieved from

Hengstler, J. (2011). Managing digital footprints: Ostriches v. eagles. In S. Hirtz &  K. Kelly (Eds.), Education for a digital world 2.0 (2nd ed.) (Vol. 1, Part One: Emerging technologies and practices). Open School/Crown Publications: Queen’s Printer for British Columbia, Canada. Available from

Johnston, G. (2013, May 3). Managing your digital footprint as an educator. Retrieved from

Kuehn, L. (2010). Manage your digital footprint. Teacher Newsmagazine, 23(3). Retrieved from

Richardson, W. (2008). Footprints in the digital age. Giving Students Ownership of Learning, 66(3). Retrieved from

Thoughts on my Digital Footprint

Mfootprint-48274_150y digital footprint is something I think about whenever posting online. There were a few things I learned when researching digital footprints that I hadn’t thought about before. I’ve goggled my name on occasion to see the results, but I’ve never tried it with other search engines.  When I searched my name today over multiple search engines the results included all my professional accounts (YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter, EdTech coursework, etc.). Luckily nothing unexpected appeared. Something else I hadn’t thought about was purchasing my domain name. This is a good idea and something I am going to do.  This would definitely help me keep my name safe from someone else buying that domain name and using it for something I wouldn’t want to be associated with.

Being a teacher I always feel that you have to be even more cautious when posting online because parents/students can easily search your name and find personal accounts. That is why I make sure everything I post is professional.  This is also the reason I rarely use Facebook.  In the past, Facebook has changed security features and then reset privacy settings without notifying users. I think it’s a major flaw in that social network, and I would never feel comfortable thinking that information I post is really private. I also decided to use a stage name for my songwriting and music performing partly because I wanted to keep that out of my professional digital footprint.

I feel very fortunate that social networks where just being established when I was in high school and Facebook was only open to college students.  This allowed me to not have posted anything I might regret today. I think that schools should spend a lot of time discussing digital footprints with students today starting in elementary school. It’s alarming how quickly your digital footprint can become tarnished if you’re not cautious and proactive.

Creative Expression: CoPs, PLNs, and Connectivisim

For my creative expression I decided to create an audio cast of music to demonstrate my understanding of Connectivisim, Communities of Practice and Personal Learning Networks. Using music to demonstrate all three theories is how I chose to show the relations and connections between the ideas.

Communities of Practice are demonstrated by multiple instruments playing a major scale. All the musicians share the same passion (the scale). At first the musicians are out of sync but as they continue to work together and learn more the music begins to come together. By the end they are all playing together (Wenger, n.d.). I felt this was a good representation of how learning can be facilitated through Communities of Practice.

Personal Learning Networks are demonstrated through the use of drum beats. It starts with just one beat and slowly more and more beats are layered on top making the music (the learning) grow. The use of all drums represents the similar interest shared by people in a PLN and the variations in the beats represent how each person brings a unique perspective to the learning environment (Kharbach, 2012).

Connectivism is demonstrated by different instruments slowly being layered on top of each other. As the music becomes stronger it’s representing how learning can grow by connecting with others around the world through web 2.0 (“Connectivism”, n.d.). It also shows how learning with others is more effective than learning alone.

*I created these audio samples using midi files and loops in Apple’s GarageBand application.



Connectivism. (n.d.). Retrieved June 21, 2014 from Education 2020  Wiki:

Kharbach, Med. (2012, June). A simple comprehensive guide on the use of personal learning networks in education.  Retrieved from

Wenger, Etienne. (n.d.). Communities of practice: a brief introduction. Retrieved from:

Social Network Learning

What are you initial reactions about joining these social networks for use in this course?

My initial reactions for joining these social networks for use in this course is excitement. I am glad that we will be utilizing social networks throughout the learning process. I always find that I learn better by doing so by using these social networks to complete assignments I know I will retain a lot. I am pretty familiar with Facebook as I have been a member since 2006, but they have added a lot of features since then that I haven’t used or looked into. I joined twitter in 2012, but have only used it on and off.

What is your experience in using social media for your own professional development?

The only social network I have used for professional development is twitter. Between March and April of this year I was getting really into twitter and posting everyday about educational technology. However, I found it became very difficult to keep up with and haven’t done much with it since.  It was getting difficult to find things to post about that were contributing to the conversation rather than recycling others posts.  It’s unbelievable the amount of resources posted daily on twitter.  I currently use facebook only for personal use but I rarely post on it. I don’t really enjoy facebook, and I only have one because it feels like something you need to have in the 21st century.

What is your experience in using social media as an instructional strategy in your learning environment?

I have no experience using social media as an instructional strategy. This is something I hope to learn this semester. I’d love to create an online learning environment for my students and parents. I feel like using social media in the classroom would really benefit my music program.

What are your expectations for this course?

From this course I am hoping to learn how integrate social media into the classroom. I’d like to learn how to connect with people on twitter and write posts that are contributing to the conversation. I’d like to learn how to manage feeds so it’s not so overwhelming. I’m also interested in learning about how other social media, like facebook and more, can be used for professional development. I believe social media is an extremely powerful educational tool, and I want to be able to use it effectively to help me grow as an educator and to meet the needs of 21st century learners.


Bloom’s Taxonomy and Assessment