As I noted in my last post, a new blogging challenge has emerged called blimage – a “blog image” challenge: You must use an image sent to you and “incorporate it into your blog, and write a post about learning based on it…Then pass an image of your choice on to someone else so they can do their own #blimage challenge.” Read about the original idea here.
I so far have twice challenged my colleague Enoch Hale (who last year challenged me to a 30-Day Challenge with wicked fun results) and he responded with excellent posts here and here. He in turn challenged me which resulted in my last post. Now I have received another challenge from Enoch with this image of Ross Dam:
Do I focus on what is held back or what is released?
Holding back brings to mind fear, which brings to mind faculty discomfort with social media. Behind the dam, the waters appear pretty calm. The status quo is working, so why would faculty want to bring the disruption of social media into their classrooms?
- Last month the Pew Internet and American Life Project published results of a new survey finding that “73% of online adults now use social networking sites.”
- Pearson’s Social Media for Teaching and Learning [PDF] annual survey found that 55% of faculty members use social media for professional purposes, and social media options such as blogs and wikis are gaining popularity for use in both individual and group class assignments.
- A 2012 study from the National Association for College Admission Counseling [PDF] reveals that “well over half of all [college] admissions departments are using some type of social media in recruiting.”
- Jobvite’s 2013 Social Recruiting Survey [PDF] reports that “94% of recruiters use or plan to use social media in their recruiting efforts” and “78% have made a hire through social media.”
She suggested that faculty were concerned about privacy, looking unprofessional, going public in a traditionally private world, and managing the time investment social media seemed to require. She gave practical suggestions on each of these concerns, and ended with two suggestions to keep it all manageable:
- Find a good role model. Where are professionals in your career field or field of study engaging via social media? Spend some time on those platforms (e.g., LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest) first, and look for one or two people whose style and approach you can emulate and make your own.
- Stay positive. Build your reputation, through your approach and the messages you send, as someone who is not only knowledgeable, but also helpful to others in the community.
So what can happen when you release the potential of social media in your classroom?
Marie Owens suggested in a post in Faculty Focus that faculty should view social media not as a concern but as an opportunity to connect with students. “By approaching the nearly constant online interaction of their students as a chance to connect, teachers might find a new context to do what they love to do: teach. ”
Like all aspects of teaching, the use of social media does not in and of itself lead to learning. Knight and Kaye in their 2014 published study “To Tweet or Not To Tweet” found that students made greater use of Twitter for the passive reception of information rather than participation in learning activities. Kelli Marshall had similar results until she made some mindful changes in how she used Twitter (and communicated that use). Likewise, Mark Ferris used Twitter to add engagement to his statistics course.
Lisa Blaschke conducted research using questionnaires and interviews and incorporating the perspectives of both students and instructors on the use of social media in the online classroom, looking to explore how media influenced interaction and learner development. The results indicated that students perceived specific social media (Google Docs, mind mapping and e-portfolio software) in conjunction with specific learning activities as influencing specific cognitive and meta-cognitive skills (constructing new knowledge, reflecting on course content, understanding individual learning process). Her research also indicated an increase in student familiarity with using social media and student research skills. She noted that “…it is evident that social media alone is not the exclusive factor in influencing cognitive and meta-cognitive development in learners. Rather, it is the combination of the pedagogy in the course design and delivery, together with the technology, that creates the kind of nurturing environment for this development to occur.”
“Learning is a remarkably social process. Social groups provide the resources for their members to learn.”
We are only beginning to research the opportunities that social media bring to classrooms – motivation, engagement, ability to surface prior knowledge, and self-directed learning. Yet I find the potential that can be released exciting!
My thanks to Enoch Hale for his challenge. Back at you next week, buddy!