In this episode of the Prep Period Podcast, Robert Moore highlights how to do the following:
BRIAN: Welcome to the Prep Period podcast. My name is Brian Bean, I’m your host. I’m really excited, today we’re going to discuss a couple different things we’re going to discuss guidelines for how to successfully implement simulations into your classroom, we’re going to use Stukent’s Social Media Marketing sim as our example. We’re going to talk a little bit about how many activities, the number of posts per week you should do and really how to use the sims to combat student fatigue. Okay. And then we’re also going to talk about how to create some video content, how to implement Tik Tok and different podcasts into your curriculum. I’m really excited, our guest is Robert Moore from Morris Knowles High School. All right, we are recording now so from this point on everything can be used against you in court.
BRIAN: Is that how it works?
ROBERT: Something like that, yeah.
BRIAN: Welcome, Robert. So first things first, let’s get our listeners a little bit more familiar with you. So, Robert Moore has been teaching high school business, uh, for 28 years, okay, so he is a veteran in the industry for sure he’s currently in his 24th year at Morris Knowles High School in New Jersey. He’s been teaching Social Media Marketing for about four years. He’s got a wife and two children, loves spending time with them when he’s not teaching, and he is an avid golfer who is the head golf coach and head girls basketball coach at Morris Knowles. Which makes total sense because you know golf and basketball, they’re basically the same sport, right rob?
ROBERT: Uh, they actually, you’d be surprised how much they, uh, intermingle and how many coaches actually coach basketball and then coach golf in the spring, yeah.
BRIAN: I had no idea. I coached a little bit of basketball back in my day, but I have never been able to hit a golf ball straight in my life so I’ll leave that, that dual threat, you are the king in this podcast in that regard. I’m not going to try and compete with you there. Uh, so let’s talk about the topics. Uh, specifically, I want to start with this idea of simulation fatigued, okay. So, what do you mean by that, how do students become fatigued with the simulation?
ROBERT: When we first start out at the beginning of the semester with simulation they love it. It’s new it’s different, and they like the idea of being able to create their own post and design their own things to a point. They start to get fatigued after a couple weeks of running the simulation because they run out of either ideas, or they keep going back to the same graphics. And they got, they get bored with the same graphics.
BRIAN: So, it just maybe starts to feel a little repetitive to them.
ROBERT: It does. It absolutely is repetitive, and they and you see it with the quality of their posts too sometimes they just go down and you know it, and they’re just like “yeah, i’m just not feeling it,” because it’s kind of the same.
BRIAN: Yeah, and that that kind of fatigue comes into play in so many different ways as a teacher, you know.
BRIAN: You’ve constantly got to be changing things up and and whatnot to keep the student engaged otherwise you’re just going to lose them it doesn’t matter what you’re doing or how fun that thing is if there’s not some kind of nominally difference each time it gets kind of a little confusing for them, a little uh repetitive. So, let’s talk about how you. What do you do in order to fight that very thing? Okay. So, why don’t you tell me a little bit about your pacing. First off, like how often do you use the sim in class? How many posts do you typically do? Let’s talk about that.
ROBERT: Well you said it when you said about how the kids can get bored with the same thing over and over again the teachers do as well. So, as far as with me as you said veteran teacher, which I’m a great beard. I know that, that’s okay.
BRIAN: I don’t know what you’re talking about. For those of you who can’t see it, I got way more gray in my beard than you, so I don’t want anyone here.
ROBERT: I’m a redhead, so therefore very very light and white. But anyway, um, the fatigue part of things, what we do is when we start out for the simulation the first time that we do it we’ll do it in class. And we do block scheduling here, which is 88 minutes, so what I will do is I will spend about 40 to 45 min them just doing posts. The first couple times they do it that might mean that they get 10 to 12 posts in total. The other parts of the class period we talk about when you should post, we talk about the, um, use of hashtags, the use of anything else that will help their post get more, um, interactions, and more likes. And we talk a little bit about the metrics they’re going to see in all those things as we go along. Usually, the first, um, for the first week of the simulation they have to do 40 posts, and I try and spread it out over two weeks to two and a half weeks of class time. My class is a semester, so that’s two marking periods, about 20 weeks, and so we’ll spread about, spread it out about two and a half weeks or thereabouts. 40 posts. I usually tell them, look, you’ve been given a budget of five thousand dollars. If you don’t spend that budget, your boss is gonna come back to you and start going, “What? You don’t need the money to do this work? You better start using it or you’re gonna lose it. Your budget’s gonna be cut down.” So, I make them spend about forty five hundred five thousand.
BRIAN: I love that, Rob. Because it’s very realistic. Anybody who’s been in any kind of position where you’ve got a budget with work, you know if you don’t spend it you’re gonna lose it. And then next time around when they do the budget they’re going to look at that and say you don’t have enough or you didn’t use, you didn’t use it all, so you don’t need that much so we’re going to lower your budget, which could hurt you in the future. So, I love that you, you kind of bring that into play a little bit, that’s, that’s fantastic.
ROBERT: I sit around the room too at times, they see it and they go, “oh okay, what do you mean?”
BRIAN: I love it. So, if I’m understanding correctly, you take those 40 posts, you try to stretch that out over a couple different weeks.
ROBERT: We spread it out, yeah. It’s usually about five class periods, is what we usually spread, spend for the first two weeks um two and a half weeks so that’s two, two and a half weeks worth of class time about 40 minutes each time that they get to work on it. Now they know if they’re not done, they’ll have to do it at home. Which I’m not a big proponent of homework in my, in my classes, um, we’re all elected so I don’t really do that. But they understand why they have to do it and I tell them look it’s just like in the real world, that you have a deadline. You know when it’s going to be due, you know when you have to get it done. This is when we’re running the simulation, so you better get your stuff done, and they, they get into that a little bit, they like that idea as well.
BRIAN: I love it. Now, one of the things, as I was reading through some of your background, that I thought was really kind of cool, uh, this, uh, strategies that you’ve got to fight this fatigue isn’t just about pacing, you know. Because you know we all, we’ve all been there as, as teachers, we know the drag that can come especially when you teach the same subject three or four times a day. Yeah. By February, you hate everybody in your life, and it can be kind of this drag. Um, so, it can’t just be about pacing. Because when you’ve got something that you’re doing that you just are really, your students are engaged, you’re loving it. It’s even fun to grade, if that’s even possible. Uh, and so some of the things you did, I thought was really cool, really clever, and I want to talk about that for a little bit. So, if I understand correctly, you have some kind of cool contests that you’ve integrated, uh, kind of the sim, kind of beyond just simulation activities. You’ve created some contests that you do within your class different things with like graphics, hashtags. Where did you? First of all, can you explain those contests? And then I’m curious where you got the idea for them?
ROBERT: With one of the contests we do, we have them create their own graphics that could be used by, um, or used in the simulation. Before we did social media, I taught a couple classes using Photoshop. And the kids obviously love to play with Photoshop, they love to design different things with Photoshop. So, when I started the social media part, I was like, all right, how can I incorporate some of the knowledge I have a photoshop, into that? And I went, all right, since we’re using this, we started using the simulation. I was like, okay, let me take them and after we’ve done it for a couple weeks, we’re through week three or whatever it’s gonna be, I’ll have them, we’ll have a contest. And I’ll give them, they’ll walk in that day, they’ll get a sheet of paper and they, that will have the contest rules for that day. And they’ll have to use the skills that we’ve had and I’ve shown them in Photoshop, or use the videos, because I have a whole library of videos tutorials that I’ve created for them using Photoshop to create and design their own post that we could use for BUHI. It includes choosing the bags, it includes choosing, um, some other background and stuff like that. A lot of them, actually, like superheroes and Marvel, and stuff like that so I’ve seen a lot of creative ideas where they’ve incorporated BUHI products with Captain America or with Superman. And it’s fantastic.
BRIAN: Yeah, the thing I love about this so much, so many times teachers, when they find a good resource like a simulation, right, they get in a habit and a pattern of leaning too heavily on that simulation to provide too much of the content for the course. And it becomes almost a crutch for them. And what you’ve done, is you’ve taken the simulation, you get the students used to the, the concepts, you start to get them involved in what they’re doing. But then you’ve added on to it, you’ve added your own layer of activity and engagement by tapping into something that you think the students would be engaged in, in addition to it. Not only does that spark a little bit more life into the simulation, but it’s, but it allows you to leverage both things to be mutually beneficial. The simulation helps with the other activity, and the other activity helps with the simulation. I love it. I think that’s fantastic bro, that’s brilliant. So do you have a favorite one that students have done in the past that comes to mind?
ROBERT: Um, the one that’s sticking out in my head, and it’s not my favorite, but it’s just sticking out. It was a picture of, um, Superman carrying a bag over the Manhattan skyline.
BRIAN: Oh yeah.
ROBERT: The hashtags were, um, and the stuff that they used all related to both the the bag not being his kryptonite and how he was gonna combat Lex Luther with the, uh, bag instead of with kryptonite or Lex Luther wasn’t gonna be able to take care of him that way. So, that was probably my favorite.
BRIAN: Uh, that’s really clever. That’s awesome, that’s fantastic, I mean I’m not gonna fault the kid for choosing the wrong superhero, you know. Everybody knows Batman’s better, but that’s okay, we’re not going to fault that young student for being naive. Hopefully, you corrected that as the teacher, sent them on their way properly.
ROBERT: But see I went with Thor.
BRIAN: See, now you’re crossing the streams. We’re getting into two different worlds here.
ROBERT: I know we can’t cross the, uh, Marvel and DC.
BRIAN: That’s right. We’re gonna, we’re gonna edit that part out in post to tell you what. Uh, so let’s transition a little bit now, um, to you also do some cool things with some videos with like, Tik Tok, and I’m going to pretend like I even know anything about Tik Tok. I’m way too old for that kind of stuff, but uh so I’ll just pretend along, and you explain. Let’s talk about some of those cool things you do with videos.
ROBERT: Well, it started two years ago in the spring we were doing this, we were doing the class and I happened to come across an article about Tik Tok. Now I didn’t know anything about Tik Tok either and I read it and then I shared it with the class, we started to talk about, and they’re like we don’t use Tik Tok. Like okay, come back to this fall of 2019, and all I see in our cafeteria at lunch times is four, five, six people around their phones shooting videos, shooting Tik Tok’s. So, in the course of three months, it was like, all right, we’re using tick tocks.
BRIAN: Now it went, probably no one uses it, now it’s dominating the world. And yeah, some guy gets a brand new truck from Ocean Spray because he sings along to an old rock tune while he’s on a skateboard.
ROBERT: Yep, so I took that and I ran with it. Um, I’ve always liked to incorporate video and I do podcasts as well with the social media class. But I’ve always liked to incorporate videos with them. So this year we did, um, a how-to video. And I actually just got one today, um, a how-to video and this girl is a competitive gymnastics, uh, person. We don’t have gymnastics at our school so she filmed it at her club. and she showed me how to do a couple different, um, gymnastic maneuvers and she did it in Tik Tok and then at the end, she put a special note in, because she committed to a college at that point and she sent it to me and said, “You’ve got to watch the whole thing, there’s a special surprise in there for you” and that was the surprise. It was awesome.
BRIAN: Oh that’s cool, yeah.
ROBERT: So that they, they’re finishing up their first videos, are actually due next week and they’re a how-to video. And I told them you can do it with Tik Tok, you can do a regular video, whatever you want to do. But I want a how-to video on something and I told them you have a minute in length, that’s all I want.
BRIAN: I love it, and if I understand correctly, you even have them doing their own podcasts, yeah?
ROBERT: We do, we’ll get, um, when we come back from break we’ll, I’ll put them into groups of two or three or maybe even four and then they have to come up with the topic for their podcast. And then they have to write up this general script, sort of like what we’re doing here today, and then they will sit there and they will record their own podcast. Um, they listen to podcasts all the time, so I was like, all right, we’re gonna make our own podcast and we talk about how they can market it. How they can, um, put advertisements in. Some of them, actually, we’ll do the podcast and they’ll stop and hold on, “here’s a word from our sponsors”, and they’ll read an advertisement there. It’s really neat.
BRIAN: Oh, that’s cool. Maybe, maybe if I prove to not be very good at this, you can have one of your students come do my job for me. Uh, I, that’s awesome. So we’ve talked a lot about technology type, very tech heavy approach so far today. Um, what do you recommend to those teachers out there that maybe are still working on their tech savviness? Like how could they… Do you have any software that, resources that you would recommend that are really easy to use?
ROBERT: The phone. Absolutely, the phone. The kids, I let the kids choose their own resource for what they’re going to record with, because they know better than I do. And that’s a battle I’m not going to go through with them when we’re recording stuff, as far as what platform they need to use, I tell them look use your phone do whatever you need to do to get it so that I can view it and we all can view it. Um, when in class you know we’ve, I’ve always had access to Photoshop. But this year with us being hybrid, and the use of chromebooks we found Photopea which Photopea, p e a is the last three letters. It is an online version of Photoshop, so, and the kids can use their chromebooks for that. So therefore, we fixed that issue real quickly when we found this and started to use this, and I’m like all right, this is perfect and there we go.
BRIAN: Is that a free resource?
ROBERT: It’s free, It’s free, they’re…
BRIAN: They just google photo p-p-e-a, I want to make sure we spell that right when we google it p-e-a and then that’s a resource that they can use on their chromebooks for free?
ROBERT: Yep, for free, and they can save everything as images or even Photoshop documents and it’s very easy to use.
BRIAN: That’s awesome, that’s awesome. Well, thank you so much for coming, and sharing some of your insight with other teachers. I know for years I was in the in the classroom, and it’s a constant battle trying to figure out that how to get past that fatigue, and any kind of thing that you can do that, that elevates the educational experience for the students, man I love, that’s my favorite aspect about education as an industry. That we all just kind of have each other’s backs, we’re like you got a good idea, share it with that guy and we’re just gonna spread it and everybody gets better at it. So thank you very much for your time today. Uh, stay safe in the storm and, uh, hopefully we’ll hear from you again sometime soon.
ROBERT: Sounds good, Brian. Thanks so much for having me today, thank you.
BRIAN: So, for my final thought for the day, it’s actually going to come from a book I’ve recently read called “The Progress Principle.” For those of you watching the podcast, you can see it. For those of you who can’t, it’s called “The Progress Principle.” One of the things I love concept-wise from this book is the concept of inner work life. Now it’s written for adults and professionals and kind of helps give us, you know, some insight from a leadership standpoint on how to provide a better inner work life so that you find more, more fulfillment and enjoy what it is you do all day. But I think this is applicable to our, our students as well. As teachers we have the ability to provide a better inner work life for our students. You think about it, they’re in class all day long they got five, six, seven, eight classes a day depending on how your school is structured and it’s going to be a grind. Every single class every single day is not going to be fantastic and outstanding, that’s just the nature of the beast. So one of the things that you can do to help your students have a better inner work life is what “The Progress Principle” points out as making positive progress for meaningful work. And I love how Rob was doing that with some of the things that we talked about in this episode. Whether it be, you know, giving the students a way to make the simulation more authentic to themselves to be able to contribute to that, that simulated experience that way with the, the graphics and hashtag contests. I love that idea. Um, owning a cool project, that is something unique that this generation gets to do with Tik Tok, podcasts, things like that. And the key though, is that they aren’t necessarily something that they’re trying to get done every single day and get a grade every single day. But if you have something project wise like this where they can make positive progress every day on something that would be meaningful to them, that’s going to increase their quote-unquote inner work life. They’re going to be more engaged, they’re going to be more excited to come back the next day and I think that, that’s some of the tricks, some of the keys to really improving education is by giving those students that positive progress and meaningful work every day.
Robert Moore has been teaching High School business students for 28 years. He is currently in his 24th year at Morris Knolls High School. He has been teaching Social Media Marketing for four years. He has a wife and two children and loves spending time with them when not teaching. He is an avid golfer who is the Head golf Coach and the Head girls Basketball Coach at Morris Knolls.