Google and the Classroom: What’s at stake?

Over the summer The New York Times published a piece about how Google is “taking over” classrooms. The article discusses how Google is taking a significant step to transform the philosophy behind public education, emphasizing skills such as collaboration and problem-solving over rote-learning. The article also raised criticisms about Google’s purposes, signalling that it may not be working purely in the public’s best interest but helping to create future users who depend on Google. 

The article understandably sparked discussion in the digital world of educators. In higher education in particular, the article was met with some push-back. Inside Higher Education published pieces noting that Google has faced slow adoption rates in college classrooms and warned that services like Google Classrooms (now open to all college instructors) cannot replace traditional Learning Management tools–the most well-known being Blackboard. 

All this raises interesting questions for those who wish to engage their students digitally. As Social Mediums, issues of data security and ownership are a significant part of our on-going discussions of how to use social media responsibly in education. Is it better to have students using Google Classroom, making use of applications like Google Docs, or using a service like the CUNY Commons, making use of applications like Social Paper? Is it foolish to think students aren’t already using Google or are there reasons for showing that different platforms open you to different considerations about who can use your work, see it, plug it into an algorithm, etc.?

— The Social Mediums

Whose Terms? – From Chronicle of Higher Education

The GC Teaching and Learning Center recently released a group-authored handbook for teaching at CUNY that is not only a beautiful digital presentation of some seriously useful content, but enhanced by encouraging the use of, a powerful annotation tool (see the chapter “How to Interact with this Guide.” Annotations can be private and shared, opening up the possibility for this digital handbook to be a radically group-authored hypertext. Annotation tools are extremely powerful and one of the most exciting types of social media tools for scholars. This piece from The Chronicle of Higher Education brings up the usual question terms of service (especially relevant in light of the roll back of Net Neutrality protections recently) with specific mention to annotation programs. The old axiom is that if the service is free, you are the product. As we rush to integrate digital tools into our teaching and research, sometimes we lose sight of what we’re offering up of ourselves, our colleagues and our students. As social mediums, people who actively try to encourage folks to share their work, it’s important to heed these warnings so that folks can make good decisions with their work and data. — Social Mediums

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Using Google Scholar Alerts to Collect Content for Sharing

In this post we discuss how to use Google Scholar Alerts to stay on top of newly published scholarship, some of which may be appropriate for sharing via social media. It’s a way to make your searches for relevant content easier and of course to stay-up-to-date on new scholarship in general. — Social Mediums

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Save That Hashtag! – From the Chronicle of Higher Education

We’ve given a a few workshops on live tweeting for conferences and one of the points we emphasize is that Twitter discussions don’t have to be ephemeral. When the conversation is especially vibrant, it’s usually a good idea to collect that conversation somehow. In our workshops, we’ve usually talked about Storify. It’s a good tool when you’re archiving discussions from a relatively short period of time. The tool discussed here is good when you have a hashtag that’s been used for a long time–maybe related to your program or your annual conference and you want to make use of that data. –The Social Mediums. 

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Ulysses Here and Now: Using Twitter to Teach Experimental Literature – From JITP

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