Sal’s One Day on Earth Project

I came across the One Day on Earth project via my Twitter network. The One Day on Earth project is a world-wide collaboration where people documented various happenings on October 10,2010, or 10/10/10.

I turned it into a mandatory lesson for my 12th grade POD class and my 9th grade Honors Civics class. I left it as an optional assignment in my other classes, although I introduced the social media lesson to all of my classes. I believe the students need to understand the power of the social media sites they already use.

My own participation as a documentary filmmaker was to be recording my family’s day on Sunday, October 10, 2010. I needed to come up with something fun to do on that day, something that would show what goes on in Western Pennsylvania in October. The weather looked as if it would cooperate for outdoor activities. We decided to go to a childrens’ hayride and fall festival at the Triple B Farm inn Elizabeth, PA. They have many neat things for younger children.

I started the day by taking pictures of the sunrise and various stages of the morning. While we were getting ready to leave I quickly set up a Twitpic account and checked my Flickr account to make sure I could send pics from my cellphone to my Flickr account. I linked my Flickr account with my Facebook account, that way any pictures that were sent from my cellphone to Flickr would automatically post to my Facebook account. I wanted to expand my own use of social media to show the students what you could do with the various tools.

As we left for Triple B Farm, I asked my wife to take pictures en route. She ran the camera on the trip down to the farm. We tried to get a variety of shots that showed off the region. Once there, I took over only to find out that the camera battery was low from being on the entire way down to the farm. I used the camera until the battery died, then I switched to my cellphone camera. My wife also was snapping pictures of the day, I could pull some of them if needed. My daughter had our hand me down digital camera, which she used to take pictures during the trip. On the way back home we tried to take pictures close in location to were we did on the way down. This would give us a mirror image at a later time in the day to compare and contrast with earlier images. Throughout the day I posted notes in my phone or sent pictures to Twitpic to help me keep the pictures organized.

I did not upload the images to my computer until Tuesday in class. My goal was to work along with the students and model the process to complete the project. The pictures were organized within iPhoto on my Macbook, then uploaded to my Flickr account for online storage. My plan was to use my Animoto for Education account to turn the still pictures into a video journal.

Overall, I am happy with the process of the project. My topic and the capturing of images went well. I probably should have charged the camera battery to full power the night before, but it was recently charged. I also picked up on synchronizing my various social networking accounts, something I will continue to use well into the future.

As for the students, they picked up on the overall process quickly. I had tried to encourage them to use their existing sites such a Facebook and Twitter as a platform to communicate their efforts about the projects. That effort did not work as well as I had hoped for. I do not link to current students’ accounts, so I cannot check first hand if they posted their efforts, so I took them at their word. A number of them were honest about not wanting to post school, or academic items on their site, so be it. I believe their efforts showed them the power of social media and how it can be used for more than just saying “hi.”

Student blogging from the iPods: Cross posting

My students in honors civics and Econ/POD participated in the One Day on Earth Project, a global multimedia documentary that took place on October 10, 2010, or 10/10/10. They worked on their reflection posts of the project. I had them use the iPods to write their posts in Edublogs, using the HTML tab. The students accessed Edublogs via the Safari app. Once they completed their reflection and had the post proofread, they were to copy the post and paste it into the One Day on Earth website, and my Freshmen also pasted into their Keystone Commons account.

The students accomplished this by holding their finger on the iPod screen until a circle appeared, then they lifted their finger they had the option to copy, select, or select all. The chose the select all option, then copy. See images below.

They opened a new window and logged into One Day on Earth and had to choose the “view normal page” option located at the bottom of the screen. Once they have the normal page view, they can open their blog and add a post. Students had to click the HTML tab and then paste their copied material into the second site. They added a title, proofread their post again, then published their work. My Freshmen then repeated the process in the Keystone Commons site they signed up for earlier this year. They were encouraged to also post links to their blog posts on their Twitter and Facebook accounts. I am hoping they begin to use these sites for more than just a collection of random comments and photos, that are in some cases inappropriate. I am hoping they begin to use the sites for positive promotion of their work along with becoming more conscious of what they post on the sites.

Overall, in the grand scheme of life, this little task was not a big deal. That being said, in my little piece of the universe it was monumental for several reasons. First and foremost they participated in a global project, which was a first for all of them. They also are beginning to use social media for educational purposes, which is new for many people, not just my students. They also are learning how to successfully complete more tasks, even if they are mundane tasks, using the iPod Touches. Their skill set with technology is growing which will hopefully give them an edge as they go through life.