Viral Videos and Trending Topics in the Classroom

Screen Shot 2015-07-30 at 2.01.49 PMA wildlife photographer puts a camera on a remote control car, takes stunning images, and his video goes viral. A man hunts a lion and the world erupts in an online conversation using the hashtag #cecilthelion.

But do videos and hashtags have a place in the adult education classroom?

 

Viral videos are videos that are the ‘talk of the town’. They receive attention on all the social media sites such as Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, and Tumblr. Some even make it to major news outlets. Through watching these videos, millions of people have a shared experience with a common talking point.

In the classroom, using videos that have gone viral can help adult learners make connections with difficult concepts. For example, consider the video Clouds by Zach Sobiech that has been viewed 11,965,743 times.Student’s can explore poetry and making inferences.

Well I fell down, down, down
Into this dark and lonely hole
There was no one there to care about me anymore
And I needed a way to climb and grab a hold of the edge

The benefits of using viral videos in the classroom includes using media that is familiar and is attention grabbing while introducing or reinforcing important instructional topics. Or, they can just be fun and used as an icebreaker in the classroom.

Moving beyond videos, what role do hashtags play in the learning experience? The power of social media to give students a voice has never been stronger. Viral hashtags introduce students to different experiences or affirm all to familiar experiences. Use these powerful conversations to discuss current events.Think about the following hashtags:

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#Bringbackourgirls, #50dollarsnot50shades and #ifIdieinpolicecustody are examples of the advocacy that is happening online. Giving students a voice is perhaps one of the most powerful outcomes in adult literacy education.

There is definitely room for viral videos and trending topics in the classroom. How would you use them?

Get the High School Equivelancy Certificate! A high Level Action Plan

Screen Shot 2015-04-08 at 1.46.49 PMby Guest blooger Gina Marie De rosier-Cook, Joliet Junior College

The problem: Since the implementation of the new test we had seen a significant decrease in the number of students taking any part of the test. We thought the reasons students were not taking the tests were fear of the computerized test, not having a credit card to pay, lack of computer access in the home, the content was much harder than the previous test, limited availability (there wasn’t any night or weekend testing times in our area) and lack of computer skills. We polled a large sample of students asking why they were not taking the test and the following top three reason emerged:

  • fear of harder content,
  • fear that the test was computerized,
  • and fear of the unknown.

Ultimately they were just very scared to go and take the test. We needed to shake off the “new test fear”. Word travels fast in the community and our students had a preconceived notion that the test was ridiculously hard and no one would pass. I partly blame the lingo of the close out campaign because it was stated over and over “Test now! The next one will be harder”.

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Computer-Based Instruction: An Implemetnation Strategy

Screen Shot 2015-03-20 at 3.29.02 PMDo you ever wonder how to get started with computer-based instruction? Cindy Lock, the Adult Education Specialist at Illinois Valley Community College has provided a step-by-step outline of how to implement i-Pathways in the classroom. As identified by her strategic plan, student success begins with careful planning, teacher development, and familiarity with the curriculum.

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The Value of Page One

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 7.57.11 PMHave you ever played the game Monopoly? You move your game piece around the board while attempting to acquire property and wealth. Teaching is a lot like running a Monopoly game. Instead of buying properties, students move through the learning process and acquire knowledge. However, unlike the Monopoly game where everyone starts at the same space, students begin studying and often attempt to skip the “first box”, or page one. But why is page one so important? It’s the starting point and it’s important to teach students how to read the first page of any text.

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The times they are a–changing

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Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’.
Bob Dylan 

Mobile technology is changing the way we think and the way we learn. It is creating a need for teachers to develop different instructional strategies. Often, students are on the cutting edge of technology use in their personal life, yet they experience a traditional classroom setting that relies on books and lectures. To remain effective, teachers must create a bridge between students’ personal use of technology and their classroom expectations. For many teachers, moving from traditional instruction to integration of mobile learning is a difficult transition.

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