You can never underestimate the power of words. As Twittering, texting, and Facebook grows, the need for education is becoming even more important. This past week Facebook revealed that hackers using stolen usernames and password credentials are hitting at least 600,000 accounts every day. You can read a story written by Bob Sullivan in the Redtape Chronicles on msnbc.com to confirm that stat.
Using Wiggio in my classroom makes teaching online safety, bullying, etc. a lot easier.
The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) has an outstanding Website full of PowerPoint presentations, information and movies directed at educating parents, middle school, and high school students on the dangers of online communication. There are five topics.
Protecting Your Reputation
Combing Wiggio chat rooms and file sharing with the DCJS Website puts the entire presentation into a whole new light. The steps are simple and the results are amazing.
Students select a card from a deck of cards and are divided into red and black groups. Keeping chat room attendance under 12 usually keeps everyone involved.
Students enter into either the black or red Wiggio chat room set up previously.
Five moderators are selected out of each group. Each moderator downloads the presentation’s notes from Wiggio, which include additional discussion information.
These moderators lead the chat room discussions with the added information while the presentation and movies from the DCJS Website play.
The instructor does not enter either chat room. It is entirely the moderators’ roles to keep the discussions on track.
Grading is based on participation. Wiggio chat room discussions are archived. This makes it possible to check out was going on later in the day.
The final step is providing students with a wrap-up forum for reflection about what was gained from the presentation and discussion.
The entire process took a good hour to cover. However, the results were impressive. Here are a few of the actual comments my class posted in the follow-up forum. The sentiment was the same for every single student.
“I’m going to make sure that everything on Facebook is appropriate and there is nothing that I wouldn’t a family member or a boss seeing. I will make sure my Facebook is private and ONLY accept people that I know or I know my friends know.
It’s sad learning about people that were victimized by predators because of something so simple that could have been changed if only they changed a couple things on Facebook/MySpace/any other social networking site.” –Rachel
“Today was very eye opening and seeing that there is a lot more things going on to people that we don’t see happening. This will make me check over everything on my Facebook page to make sure there is nothing on there that i don’t want others to see.” –Jay
“With the information presented today I am going to put my profiles as private and I am not going to add ppl that I don’t know. It kinda scares me to know how much a person can find out in 20 minutes or less just by a website.” –Tiffany
Thank you DCJS and Wiggio. You made my day and maybe changed my students’ lives.
My love for PDA’s goes way back to when Dick Tracy used his wristwatch to communicate with the rest of his squad in the comic strips. As a kid I’d always think how cool would be if that stuff actually worked. Today it doesand I can, too. Personal devices seem to have turned into a hobby for me. Currently I’ve got a couple of iPads, a smartphone, and an Archos Tablet in addition to all the laptops I’ve got laying around.
My love for PDA’s probably gave me the incentive to quickly take advantage of Wiggio’s fantastic texting feature. Over 95 percent of the students in my classes have cell phones. That number may actually be low.
Wiggio allows me to instantly connect with my students in a very short time. Just the other day I was away from school and was checking my email. I received an email that confirmed that our high school softball team was recognized as having the second highest non-weighted GPA for a high school in the country by the National Fastpitch Coaches’ Association. I quickly moved to the browser on my smart phone, logged into Wiggio, and within a few minutes 95 people on my softball list found out that same news. I’ve also been able to let that same group of 95 know within a few minutes that a softball game was cancelled or that bad weather was on its way and that practices were cancelled.
Wiggio text messaging is a standard Web 2.0 tool in my class. It’s simple to use and also provides a “paper trail” of what was sent, who it was sent to, and when it was sent. As a teacher, I really like the security that Wiggio has to offer. I also like the option that allows individuals to block their cell phone and email information. Even though I contact students on a regular basis through texting, I still have no idea what their cell phone numbers are.
Anytime I update grades, I’ll send out a mass text message to make sure students log in online to check out their current scores to see if I messed up on anything. I’ve also used the texting feature for trivia games or reviews. Send out a question and see who responds back.
One of my favorite stories I have to share about the Wiggio texting feature is that one Friday afternoon I found the billfold of a student who was long gone. It contained his driver’s license and some cash. Knowing I had his name in a Wiggio account, I simply texted him where his lost billfold would be and that a janitor would let him in my classroom. He returned to school and picked up his billfold later on that afternoon.