Since 1999, the Irish Studies program at The Montclair Kimberley Academy (www.mka.org), in Montclair, NJ, has been a semester-long May Term senior elective in Irish history that culminated in two weeks of field study in Ireland. Students had been posting their work on a dedicated web site but realized their audience was limited.
Everything changed in the spring of 2009, when students turned to social media. Students took a WordPress blog and mashed together YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, and text content to create their course web site (irish2009.mka.org).
Using a YouTube channel (www.you tube.com/mkairishstudies) and a Flickr Photostream (www.flickr.com/irishstudies), students posted videos and images. They used Twitter (twitter.com/irishstudies) to build an audience through tweets prior to, during, and even after the trip. They created a WordPress blog where they mashed up all their stories. The number of followers grows daily as people discover the students’ stories. This was something students could never have achieved had all the content lived only on our school’s Web site.
--William Stites is the Director of Technology of The Montclair Kimberley Academy, in Montclair, NJ.