News Column

Social Network Helps Students Learn

Oct. 20,9 2012

Cathy Spaulding

Social Network

Muskogee High School biology teacher Harland Warrior encourages certain social networking in his class.

There's no Tweeting or Facebook. Instead, he links with students through the academic social network My Big Campus. The online network enables students to communicate with the teacher and other students, as well as access teacher notes and subject-related videos at any time.

Warrior said it presents science and other subjects in a way students find familiar.

"We're playing their game now," Warrior said. "It's technology."

Warrior said he has used the My Big Campus network for about four weeks. He calls it his "communications hub."

"I have all my notes on Word or PowerPoint, so if you want to take my biology class at home, you can take it at home," he said.

Sophomore Bailee Hendrickson said she keeps up with class announcements on the network.

"It's so we can see what we're doing in class," Bailee said. "We can talk to each other through the network."

She said the teacher posts notes on the network's "wall."

"We'll go back and look at them and study," she said. "If you miss a day of school, you can look on it (the class wall)."

Students also can have an application for their smartphones.

Sophomore Andrew Looney showed how he can scroll through different assignments and messages from the teacher.

"It helps me if I'm in the (online) computer lab, and it always lets me know if I have any homework to be done," Andrew said.

Several other MHS teachers use the program, Muskogee Public Schools spokeswoman Melony Carey said. Biology teacher Kelli West used the PowerPoint documents for students to go back and review lectures.

"We also have an Advanced Placement English teacher, Lisa Dotson, who used My Big Campus this summer to help guide her AP students through summer readings," Carey said. "While they were on vacation, they could access the program from their smartphones."

Warrior said he puts his lesson plans in network "bundles" for his students. Teachers can see what other teachers in the My Big Campus network are doing. He said, for example, "There are hundreds of YouTube videos on the quadratic formula."

"A teacher can use these YouTube videos in his bundle," he said. "You can look at something on another teacher's bundle, borrow it or use it."

Students can do their assignments and return them through the network.

"Already, the students are hitting my wall with the Word documents," he said. "They're doing their homework and they don't even know it."

Source: (c)2012 Muskogee Phoenix (Muskogee, Okla.). Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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