Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Magic of Social Media

The definition of Social Media from Wikipedia is "Social media refers to the means of interactions among people in which they create, share, and exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks."  

I think I can say that I do my fair share of utilizing social media in and out of my classroom.  I have my personal blog that you are currently reading, I have a classroom blog, I tweet professionally using @mrswideen, my students tweet using @mrswideensclass and have their own personal blogs.  I use Facebook personally.  I have a class youtube account, we currently have a live webcam set up for our classroom tadpoles and we regularly use Skype and Google Hangout in our classroom.  

What is funny about this story is that none of this story is new.  I am very transparent about what is going on in my class.  I document it on my blog and I share what we are doing by tweeting and collaborating with others.  My classroom is always open and I encourage other educators, parents and friends to stop by our classroom and check out what we are up to.  My students have had blogs for almost 2 years now, they have been tweeting from @mrswideensclass since October and we have had 20 iPads in our classroom for a little over a year.  

What has happened in the last 24 hours has resulted from the "magic" of social media:

Yesterday Beth Holland's article was published on Edutopia titled, "Teaching Toddlers to Tweet? Introducing Social Media to Elementary Students"   I was honored to be included in this well written article and tweeted the article to our school board's Public Relations Officer, Scott Scantlebury @gecdsbpro.  From that tweet, I received a phone call from CBC Windsor asking if I could come in to do a radio interview before school the following day.  I of course agreed!

As I was waiting to speak on the air this morning, I was approached by a gentleman at the station asking if he could send someone out today with a camera to shoot a piece for the six o'clock news.  I was flabbergasted!  I asked my principal and he said, "Of course!"  I finished my radio interview and got to school before the morning bell.

A screen shot from one of my student's blogs.  She was
blogging while I was doing the interview.
The reporter from CBC News, Lisa Xing came while the students were on their nutrition break so we had a few minutes to talk.  She interviewed me, 3 of my students and took shots of us tweeting and blogging.  As she was taping, the office was paging me to tell me that a radio station in Toronto wanted to speak to me!  When Lisa finished up taping I went and spoke to a gentleman from CBC Ontario Morning that wanted to know if I could do a phone interview about teaching social media to my students tomorrow morning at 7:45.  I again enthusiastically agreed! 

When I thought the craziness of the day was starting to calm down, Greg Layson @GLaysonCBC tweeted out this story titled "Twitter taught in Grade 1 class in Windsor, Ont. - Kristen Wideen has her kids blogging, making YouTube videos and learning with classrooms around the world."

This all began from an article and one single tweet.  

June 20th, 2013
Update:  The "magic" continues...

This morning I did a radio interview on Ontario Morning (a Toronto radio station).  After I did the interview, I had a call from Luke Simcoe from Metro News, "Metro is Canada’s most read national daily newspaper brand."  You can view the story here.  

I think the best part of my day, happened at the end of the day when the director of education popped into my room to congratulate me.  I was so honored that he took time out of his busy schedule to stop by in person to see me!

June 28th, 2013
Update:  One more appearance....

Last Tuesday, I was asked to do another radio interview, this time on AM 800 in Windsor.  It was replayed on Wednesday and then on Thursday, it was the topic of the radio commentary.  You can listen to the commentary below.


  1. Wow! What an incredible story. I'm so glad that you got a chance to share what your Grade 1's and 2's are doing. Even though I teach Grade 6 this year, I still learn so much from what you're doing with your young learners. To thank that social media made all of these opportunities possible ... and basically at the speed of a tweet!

    I'm curious to know the feedback that you've gotten from these media appearances. Have you had any new learning after these opportunities?

    Thanks for all of the incredible things that you do and share!

  2. I am really loving reading and listening to your story! I am really excited about having my class tweet next year! We started this year for one Social Studies unit but there is so much more potential that I see! Great work and kudos to your students!