For over 10 years, The Montclair Kimberley Academy’s (MKA) Irish Studies Program has been taking seniors to Ireland as part of our school’s May Term Program. Typically, we have been telling our stories through standard, static web sites, however, this year the Irish Studies Program is changing things up by embracing social media tools.
After attending the edSocialMedia bootcamp in February and hearing what is possible to do with blogs, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube — and seeing what people are doing at places like Worcester Academy, we have changed our publishing format to include these new tools.
We will be using a WordPress blog, running on our own Apple Xserve, to publish our stories of the trip and chronicle the Irish Famine and Irish history. Using Twitter, we will be posting more daily updates to the site in an effort to keep people even more informed of our progress. We will take advantage of YouTube and Flickr and it’s integration into the Apple iLife ’09 suite to publish our videos and images. In the past we have been limited in our updates by the availability of Internet access (normally internet cafes), but this year we will be using an iPhone and the apps from Twitter and WordPress to post content wherever and whenever want to along our journey through Ireland. We are also working on securing a broadband USB based modem through an Irish telecommunication carrier (Vodafone).
With each of these tools we will be able to reach a larger audience, which until this point has been primarily an MKA audience. Our goal is to take all that we do while traveling — the stories, the videos and the pictures — and open it all up to the world, to invite people to comment and participate in our journey, and share in and contribute to our learning.
In future blog posts, I will be discussing the preparation and pre-trip training with students, the impact on communication and sharing with a larger audience (we already have 43 followers on Twitter) and how this all works out.
You can find out more about our program, including out program and trip blogs and social media channels at the following locations:
- Irish Studies Program: http://irishstudies.mka.org
- 2009 Irish Studies Site: http://irish2009.mka.org – This year’s site
- Twitter: http://twitter.com/irishstudies – Follow us.
- YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/mkairishstudies
- Flickr Photostream: http://www.flickr.com/irishstudies
You can follow William Stites on Twitter @wstites