Introducing the GlobalEdSschat!!!
Before we introduce, GlobalEdSschat, let me tell you about its predecessor, the Ontario Education Student Chat (ONedSsChat). Leigh Cassell and Jennifer Casa-Todd thought about how we might address address a problem we saw in our educational context: social media use among young students was on the rise, and yet using social media in the context of teaching and learning in K-12 happens infrequently. A comparative study of student social media use among 13 to 17 year olds from 2012 to 2018 saw a rise from 41% to 89% of students using a smartphone and an increase from 34% to 70% of students aged 13 to 17 who used social media multiple times a day (Rideout & Rob, 2018), and yet, social media was only being used in 13% of classrooms according to a nationally representative sample of 1208 U.S. K-12 teachers (Vega and Rob, 2019). As educators with a literacy background, we understood the potential of using social media, especially Twitter, both as a literacy practice (Greenhow and Gleason, 2012), and an opportunity to embed digital citizenship (Couros & Hildebrandt, 2015).
Our idea was to create a chat that would connect students in Ontario to one another, around topics they cared about using social media, with the hope that we might show students how to use social media for learning and connecting with others which currently wasn’t being done very often. We invited a few amazing educators (Nicole Kaufman, Allison Fuisz, Brock Baker) who would make great teacher-mentors and thought of students in our own lives or schools who might be interested in becoming part of the student team.
Although there is a paucity of research which speaks to the use and benefits of social media in the K-12 educational landscape, where social media was used with younger students, there were generally positive effects (Vohra, 2016; Becker and Bishop, 2016; Snyder, 2016). ONedSschat proved to be an opportunity for students to share their voices, connect with others, and learn via social media.
It was approximately one year into the existence of the ONedSschat, that we started to notice and document several important themes which were worthy of research (publication pending). Firstly, it became evident that the student team and the participants of the chat were learning digital citizenship skills while actually being online. Secondly, we noticed students’ proficiency of digital tools was increasing. Thirdly, students grew in confidence and used their voices to express their opinions during the chat, as well as to assert themselves more prominently in the organizational aspects of the chat.
Our students and participating classes have enjoyed connecting with one another and the chat has grown both in popularity and depth. We are excited to offer the opportunity to go global so that our students might learn from the perspective of others from communities around the world. This is our mission:
`Global EDU Student Chat (@GlobalEdSsChat) is a student-led Twitter Chat that connects K-12 students around the world to discuss topics related to character education, social justice, and citizenship. #GlobalEdSsChat creates opportunities for students to network with others, gain perspective, build relationships with new learning partners in a literacy-rich learning environment, experience social media as a powerful platform for learning, and establish a positive digital footprint.
How does it work?
- Our student team picks the topics and creates the questions. Your class may vote on a topic or suggest one via our Twitter account @GlobalEdSschat
- We live stream a panel discussion once a month (30 minutes) which consists of our student teams, an expert and guest panelists from K-12 schools (contact us if you would like a couple of students from your class to join us as guest panelists).
- Viewers participate in the conversation via the YouTube chat or by using the hashtag on Twitter.
Our past topics have ranged from media literacy to goal-setting to music, to body image, and lots of topics in between. You may view past episodes on our YouTube Channel (Subscribe for updates). Whether you join us live, or view the archive, there is always a space for your students to have a voice and discuss the topic with one another.
We are excited to have Michael Drezek join our teacher mentor team for the 2019/2020 school year. Our student team so far includes:
We do hope you will join us this coming school year. Please subscribe to our blog for updates including topics, dates and times!
Leigh, Jen, Brock, and Michael
Becker, R., & Bishop, P. (2016). “Think bigger about science”: Using Twitter for learning in the middle grades. Middle School Journal, 47(3), 4-16.
Carpenter, J. P., Kimmons, R., Short, C. R., Clements, K., & Staples, M. E. (2019). Teacher identity and crossing the professional-personal divide on twitter. Teaching and Teacher Education, 81, 1-12.
Couros, A., & Hildebrandt, K. (2015). Digital citizenship education in Saskatchewan schools. Retrieved from http://publications.gov.sk.ca/documents/11/83322-DC%20Guide%20-%20ENGLISH%202.pdf
Greenhow, C. & Gleason, B. (2012). Twitteracy: Tweeting as a New Literacy Practice. The Educational Forum, 76(4), 464-478. doi:10.1080/00121725.201
Rideout, V., and Rob, M. B. (2018). Social media, social life: Teens reveal their experiences. San Francisco, CA: Common Sense Media.
Snyder, S. E. (2016). Teachers’ perceptions of digital citizenship development in middle school students using social media and global collaborative projects (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Walden University, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Vega, V., & Robb, M. B. (2019). The Common Sense census: Inside the 21st-century classroom. San Francisco, CA: Common Sense Media.
Vohra, S. (2016). How social presence on twitter impacts student engagement and learning in a grade 8 mathematics classroom (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Walden University, Minneapolis, Minnesota.