Social Media

Many of us are using social media with sites like Facebook and Twitter or even blogs. But tend to see this as a leisure activities and cannot see the connections to our classrooms. Our students know better. The internet is a portal to locating excellent resources for information on topics in which they are studying  in class.

Social media includes Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Wiki, Flickr and blogs just to name a few. Social media is not a fad. It will impact almost every role, at every kind of company, in all parts of the world. (Whitby, 2012)

Social Media is the future of communication, a countless array of internet based tools and platforms that increase and enhance the sharing of information. This new form of media makes the transfer of text, photos, audio, video, and information in general increasingly fluid among internet users.

Platforms like MySpace, Facebook, and Linkedin have created online communities where people can share as much or as little personal information as they desire with other members. The result is an enormous amount of information that can be easily shared, searched, promoted, disputed, and created.

How social media can be used in the classroom is often misunderstood. Teachers may see the importance for Personal Learning Networks (PLN). Making connections to other teachers for personal development, collaborations, connections and for resources exchange but not for actual classroom use. How do you use Twitter, blogs, facebook and wikis successfully in a classroom? This event will not only explain and demonstrate what social media is but also how each of the forms of media just mentioned can be used.

This video explains what Information Communication Technologies  (ICT’s)  are and how important they are in the 21st century classroom.

Social media is best understood as a group of new kinds of online media, which share most or all of the following characteristics: (Mayfield, 2008)

Participation

Social media encourages contributions and feedback from everyone who is interested. It blurs the line between media and audience.

Openness

Most social media services are open to feedback and participation. They encourage voting, comments and the sharing of information. There are rarely any barriers to accessing and making use of content – password-protected content is frowned on.

Conversation

Whereas traditional media is about “broadcast” (content transmitted or distributed to an audience) social media is better seen as a two-way conversation.

Community

Social media allows communities to form quickly and communicate effectively. Communities share common interests, such as a love of photography, a political issue or a favourite TV show.

Connectedness

Most kinds of social media thrive on their connectedness, making use of links to other sites, resources and people (Mayfield, 2008).

Basic forms of social media

At this time, there are basically six kinds of social media. Note, though, that innovation and change are rife. (Mayfield, 2008)

Social networks

These sites allow people to build personal web pages and then connect with friends to share content and communication. The biggest social networks are MySpace, Facebook and Bebo.

Blogs

Perhaps the best known form of social media, blogs are online journals, with entries appearing with the most recent first.

Wikis

These websites allow people to add content to or edit the information on them, acting as a communal document or database. The best-known wiki is Wikipedia4, the online encyclopaedia which has over 2 million English language articles.

Podcasts

Audio and video files that are available by subscription, through services like Apple iTunes.

Forums

Areas for online discussion, often around specific topics and interests. Forums came about before the term “social media” and are a powerful and popular element of online communities.

Content Communities

Communities which organise and share particular kinds of content. The most popular content communities tend to form around photos (Flickr), bookmarked links (del.icio.us) and videos (YouTube).

Microblogging

Social networking combined with bite-sized blogging, where small amounts of content (‘updates’) are distributed online and through the mobile phone network. Twitter is the clear leader in this field (Mayfield, 2008).

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Comments
  1. katereidedc3100 says:

    I love the idea of using social media to record and communicate learning with stakeholders, for example in the early years, secure blogs can not only share the events of the day with parents,but to keep a virtual diary of a child’s progression in terms of growth and development.

    In this example, children can and should be involved in deciding which information is shared via this form of media, which acts to extend learning by encouraging an assessment of each item considered for inclusion, reflection and reinforces new knowledge and understanding of the learning topic.

    I would love to learn more about the practical implications for social media in a range of classrooms.

    • Chris McCann says:

      Hi Kate,
      Keeping parents up to date with blogs is a great idea. All these tools are also a great way to reduce the amount of paperwork, lists and filing that teachers tend to keep in their classroom, their car and at home!
      There are some great ideas to reduce the amount of paperwork – “paperless classrooms” – I will post some links on our wiki page and I retweet some information I found earlier.
      Thanks for your ideas and for participating.

      Christine McCann

  2. Hi Kate,
    I am glad you can see the benefits of using social media in the classroom. I also hope we have been able to provide you with some ideas of using one or all four of the formats we discussed in our event in your classroom. From the event organisers, I would like to extend to you a thank you for participating in our event.

    • Michelle Irving says:

      Hi Kate, Have a look at the Twiduacte information on the Twitter page also as Twitter is micro blogging.It is interesting how al the social medias we have highlighted can be used independently or with one another. we hope you learn more about social media and how easy it is to use not only for your personal use but in the classroom
      cheers
      Michelle

  3. Ellysia Fiedler says:

    I agree with Kate, I really like the idea of using social media in the classroom. Not only does it teach students to become digitally responsible, the information provided can be accessed by fellow teachers, classes, parents and students. I also believe that using social media, which is monitored by the teacher, improves communication amongst the students

    “Facebook and Twitter can enhance communication among students and teachers. Educators can answer students’ questions via a Facebook page or Twitter feed, post homework assignments and lesson plans, send messages and updates, schedule or announce upcoming events, and share interesting Web sites and multimedia content. Students can use Twitter to get help from instructors or other students. A great way for instructors to give participation points in addition to in class participation is by having students tweet about something that was discussed in class.”
    http://campustechnology.com/articles/2012/01/19/pros-and-cons-of-social-media-in-the-classroom.aspx

    Just to share another resource, there is a classroom resource called “Fakebook”. I used this in a recent prac experience in a grade 6/7 classroom where the majority had either a facebook or twitter account. The students used this during the “Red Dog” English unit and updated the status to reflect what had been read from the book during the lesson. They also uploaded a photo and added “friends” of red dog.

    I found it was an effective tool with these students as they were already involved in social media and applied their knowledge to this task.

    Fakebook; http://www.classtools.net/fb/home/page

    • Michelle Irving says:

      Hi Ellysia
      thanks for the great resources. we have explored some that are out there. there are so many and I think this is what is so daunting for teachers when it comes to ICT’s and not understanding. I have to be honest I did not know anything about blogs, twitter, Twiduacte or wikis before this event, I did not think Twitter was appropriate for the classroom (or did some of my fellow event organizers) until I explored it’s capabilities and we realized it is more than something to be used by celebrities. I still have not fully come to grips with wikis which I will explore more after this event. YouTube was the only one I had experienced but mainly just for finding appropriate clips for use in a classroom. Making your own clip with xtranormal then uploading is a great way to get exactly what you want.
      Have ciopied your links and will check them out especially Fake book which I had not heard of.
      cheers
      Michelle

      • Chris McCann says:

        Great resource Ellysia – sounds like a really engaging way to add to a Unit of work. You are lucky to have had a mentor who was pro-active in using social media, as well as a school that understood how involved and engaged students already are with social media in their everyday lives.
        Thanks for participating!
        Christine

  4. Michelle Irving says:

    Do you think that so schools and teachers make the excuse of student safety for the reason they do not use social media? I know there are safety concerns but if used properly and students are taught the proper ways to use it they can be a great resource. I mean being able to connect with students from a school across the globe to discuss a topic to engaging with experts from many fields. These experiences can be priceless and the learning can be amazing. I am looking forward to exploring all different social medias and will be advocating for there use in the classroom.

  5. Ellysia Fiedler says:

    Hi Michelle,
    I think that is a concern raised with the use of social media, I also think that teacher’s are concerned at how they can monitor the students input on the page, considering twitter accounts can not be as effectively moderated as a blog for example. Similarly to what you have set up within this event where comments need to be approved before they are publicly posted.
    So in response to that I would use a blog initially for students to interact with both the teacher and other students, these are also great to use within a class edstudio. I have had the opportunity to create and view many edstudios and look forward to being able to use these throughout my next prac experiences and in my future teaching. With the use of the blog, teachers are able to monitor the input to the site and in turn students learn appropriate ways to communicate online. Perhaps teachers need to teach the genre of interaction on social media just as they would teach the other literary genres such as a narrative or persuasive argument.
    I also agree with your previous post, that teachers find this daunting and possibly feel overwhelmed with the enormity of resources and access to social media and this is a major contributor to the students within the class not being exposed to a wider variety of icts.

    • Michelle Irving says:

      Hi Ellysia
      You make a valid point about social media and Twitter but I think if you are aware of the problems before you begin to use it then you can be prepared. What about engaging an expert or with another school and having a computer attached to the IWB so that all in the class can see and then each student as they have a question or reply can tweet it and the rest of the class can see? This way the teacher can shut it down if anything concern them. I feel the problem is we worry too much about what might or could go wrong and this unfortunately outweighs any good. The more we talk about, and use social medias the better they become. As Tom Whitby states Twitter is all we have at the moment but he is sure someone will come up with a form of it especially for educators like they did with Twiducate for the lower primary years.
      Did you try out Twiducate for blogging? I set up the account for you to try. It is an excellent tool. One I will definitely use in my classroom even for older students as a way of keeping in touch.
      Cheers
      Michelle

  6. Hi Ellysia

    You do make a very valid point about the concerns of what students may or may not get up whilst using social media as part of their learning. I believe that students need to scaffolded and explicitly taught about cyber safety and netiquette. They also need to be explicitly taught the consequences of any misuse of social media, whether it be within the classroom or outside in their everyday lives, for example the legal ramifications of sextexting. I think once students are aware of the expectations and the consequences they would more than likely engage in the proper conduct and use of social media.

    Thanks

    Kaaren

    • Chris McCann says:

      I agree with your point that social media ‘etiquette’ for want of a better term is something that we need to teach explicitly as we would any maths concept or literacy genre. Scaffolding, modelling and allowing students to experiment in a whole class setting is definitely a way to establish what is acceptable and what is not.
      The use of social media in the classroom should be considered the same as the use of any set of tools, and students need to be shown how to use them efficiently, effectively and safely.

      Chris

  7. Bec White says:

    Hi everyone
    I have just started exploring this learning experience and I am so excited to learn more. On my pracs I have not seen much innovation in terms of using social media to assist and enhance learning. I love the video above and believe it sets out everything that I face as a pre-service educator. We need to equip students with the knowledge to validate and problem solve with the information they are retrieving (content) and the skills such as safe internet practices. Personally, I feel that I have the skills to operate Facebook and Twitter in my personal life but not the skills to take these (Facebook and Twitter) into the classroom as I agree with the comments above about all the negative buzz around them. However, I am looking forward to moving through this learning experience and learning more.

    • Hi Bec
      I am glad that you are enjoyed our event. I too, have not experienced any teacher incorporating social media in the classroom. It would be very interesting to see and the students reaction. I agree with you too, that students need to be explicitly taught about the pro’s and con’s of using the internet. Twitter does have a pretty bad reputation but we hope to alter that view.

      Thanks again for your participation

      Kaaren

  8. Michelle Irving says:

    I thought I would add this link to a site about what can be used in the classroom as I am getting frustrated at how social media not seen as an important tool for use in the classroom. Communication is the most important part of education without it we have nothing yet the tools are students are already using are being written off as just for ‘social’ use. They have the knowledge of how to use them so we don’t have to teach how to use social media we just have to show them how to use it in education. I am sure our students will think of ways to use it we have never even thought of.
    See what you think
    50 Educational Technology Tools every teacher should know about
    http://edudemic.com/2012/08/50-education-technology-tools-every-teacher-should-know-about/
    Cheers
    Michelle Irving

    • Chris McCann says:

      I sympathise with what you say about not seeing much social media in the classroom, Bec. I have seen some but one opportunity I did have was to attend a moderation day whilst on prac. There was Professional Development that was created by teachers from the schools attending. One of these sessions was based around the use of technology in the classroom and the teachers who ran it had some fantastic apps and ideas for students to utilise technology in general – not specifically social media.

      I think that this is the basic problem that we are encountering as we created and worked through this event – there is technology in the classroom – but teachers as a whole are reluctant to explore social media with their students. I think that there are a few obvious reasons why:

      Possible negativity from administrators
      Fear of ‘what could go wrong’ as Michelle states above
      Lack of exposure to innovative and great ways to incorporate social media into lessons/units
      Underestimation of their students capabilities and their already present skills with these social media tools
      Underestimating the scope and depth these tools could bring to their learning experiences
      Fear of parental disapproval

      These are just a few that I can think of straight away. As with any new idea, there will be resistance and reluctance, but we as educators need to be able to learn new skills and techniques. One of the best ways to do that is to collaborate with others who already have those skills and social media tools are designed for collaboration and sharing!

      Chris

  9. Ashleigh says:

    I am slightly confused regarding exactly what you would like us to comment on.

    I with the video that teachers definitely need to teach students skills, not just knowledge, especially with ICTs. Knowledge is very easy to find once you know how to look for it, skills are more transferable.

    As for social media, the biggest red flag for me is the legality of it in a classroom! I would be afraid of using it in the classroom, just in case I was reprimanded for it. If I knew it was safe and okay with the school I would definitely consider using social media from about year 4 upwards.

    • Chris McCann says:

      Hi Ashleigh,
      These comments on this page are just general views on social media and its inclusion in the classroom.
      We would love you to progress through the blog pages and participate in the activities and then comment as you come to the end of each topic – Blogging, Twitter, YouTube and Wiki’s.
      I understand your reluctance to include social media – however, we have found so many excellent examples of its use in many and varied classrooms that we see it as a valuable tool.
      There are many ways to restrict access and to editorialise comments before they are posted, depending on the software, application or settings on each type of medium.
      Hope you progress through and find the great examples I have mentioned.
      Christine.

    • Hi Ashleigh

      You would not be alone in your concerns about using social media in the classroom. It is imperative before commencing using blogs or wikis etc that all stakeholders are aware of your intention and prior approval is necessary. Though, we hope that after completing our event you will feel more confident in using social media in your classroom.

  10. Emma Salter says:

    I believe that ICT’s certainly do have a place in the classroom. As to what form is really up to the teacher and internet connections. I think blogging provides students with collaborative learning opportunities providing students with richer experiences than writing assignments. Another form of ICT that I have come accross is Tumblr, this is an online micro-blogging tool that is suited to sharing photo’s, videos and links and is free, here is a you tube link http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=5C47FUM6lgk.

    • Hi Emma

      Thanks for your input and suggestion it is very much appreciated. I agree with you, in that ICT’s are a vital component of the classroom today, without there use, I think we are not fully preparing the student for life in the 21st century. ICT’s are part of most students everyday lives and if we fail to include ICT’s in the classroom, then we are only creating a greater divide between home and school.

  11. Ana Gonzalez says:

    Hi

    I really enjoyed the video and like many of the comments above I believe that using and teaching social media in the classroom to 21st century students is essential.

    My experience working at a school is that many teachers are scared of social media and what could happen if they used it. Teachers feel that their students have a lot more knowledge than they do and that things could get out of control. I think they are also afraid of making mistakes and many of them are afraid of change! I’ll be honest learning about new web tools and social media has worried me too but the advantages of using it in today’s society outweigh the disadvantages. We need to get out of our comfort zone! I never thought I would have a twitter account but now I use it for educational purposes. I never thought or knew this could be possible!

    The video above really made me think about the tools that are currently in use in the classroom and the many possibilities available. I have not seen many of these possibilities in use which frustrates me.

    I liked how engagement was defined and differentiated from entertainment. This is something that needs to be explained when defending the use of social media. I want to be able to make a change and not get caught up in the business of a teacher’s life. Just like the video said change starts with us. Are you ready?

    • Hi Ana
      thanks for your reply. I tis interesting everyone’s view on social media. I was skeptical on how it could be used but it really is amazing the resources out there. I think Twitter was spoilt by celebrities and trolls that the real value of it is not being realized by many.

      I think like our students we are allowed to make mistakes. we do not have to know everything we are learned too and I think that is what a lot of teachers forget. learning never stops. Even though you get your degree your learning is really just beginning.

      Enjoy all the resources we provided Will be interesting to talk on Twitter or to receive Tweets from you.
      cheers
      Michelle

  12. We would like to thank all the participants who took the time to post comments, explore the activities and take the surveys.. We appreciate all your time and effort and wish you well n your social media learning journey.
    Group 6 organizers
    Kaaren Sweeney
    Christine McCann
    Michelle Irving
    Kim Sandford

  13. Responses to our survey

    Download1. How do you define the term ‘social media’? Explain in a few words.

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    Show Responses 11

    DownloadCreate Chart2. What forms of social media are you familiar with? Tick all that you have heard of.

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    Twitter

    75.0% 9
    YouTube

    100.0% 12
    Blogs

    91.7% 11
    Wiki

    66.7% 8
    Facebook

    100.0% 12
    Myspace

    66.7% 8
    flickr

    58.3% 7
    pinterest

    66.7% 8
    LinkedIn

    41.7% 5
    Other (please specify)
    Show Responses 1

    DownloadCreate Chart3. What forms of social media do you use regularly outside the classroom?

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    Twitter

    25.0% 3
    YouTube

    100.0% 12
    Blogs

    33.3% 4
    Wiki

    25.0% 3
    Facebook

    91.7% 11
    Myspace 0.0% 0
    flickr 0.0% 0
    pinterest

    41.7% 5
    LinkedIn

    16.7% 2
    Other (please specify)
    Show Responses 1

    DownloadCreate Chart4. Rate your level of competence in using different forms of social media.

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    No Clue

    Struggle

    Can do the basics

    Reasonable

    Can do most things

    Brilliant

    Response
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    Twitter 36.4% (4) 0.0% (0) 45.5% (5) 0.0% (0) 9.1% (1) 9.1% (1) 11
    YouTube 0.0% (0) 0.0% (0) 8.3% (1) 16.7% (2) 75.0% (9) 0.0% (0) 12
    Blogs 9.1% (1) 0.0% (0) 18.2% (2) 27.3% (3) 36.4% (4) 9.1% (1) 11
    Wiki 9.1% (1) 18.2% (2) 9.1% (1) 36.4% (4) 27.3% (3) 0.0% (0) 11
    FaceBook 0.0% (0) 0.0% (0) 0.0% (0) 9.1% (1) 27.3% (3) 63.6% (7) 11
    MySpace 50.0% (5) 10.0% (1) 20.0% (2) 10.0% (1) 0.0% (0) 10.0% (1) 10
    Flickr 60.0% (6) 10.0% (1) 10.0% (1) 0.0% (0) 0.0% (0) 20.0% (2) 10
    Pinterest 45.5% (5) 0.0% (0) 18.2% (2) 9.1% (1) 9.1% (1) 18.2% (2) 11
    LinkedIn 70.0% (7) 0.0% (0) 10.0% (1) 10.0% (1) 0.0% (0) 10.0% (1) 10
    Other (please specify) 0

    DownloadCreate Chart5. Of these which have you used in a classroom situation?

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    Blogs

    27.3% 3
    Twitter 0.0% 0
    YouTube

    90.9% 10
    Wiki

    18.2% 2
    pinterest 0.0% 0
    Digg 0.0% 0
    LinkedIn 0.0% 0
    Yahoo Answers

    9.1% 1
    Slide share

    27.3% 3
    Other (please specify)
    Show Responses 1

    DownloadCreate Chart6. Rate your competence in using these forms of social media in a classroom situation.

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    No idea

    struggle

    Limited

    Do most things

    Brilliant

    Response
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    Twitter 70.0% (7) 10.0% (1) 20.0% (2) 0.0% (0) 0.0% (0) 10
    Youtube 8.3% (1) 0.0% (0) 8.3% (1) 58.3% (7) 25.0% (3) 12
    blogs 18.2% (2) 0.0% (0) 27.3% (3) 45.5% (5) 9.1% (1) 11
    Wiki 27.3% (3) 0.0% (0) 36.4% (4) 27.3% (3) 9.1% (1) 11
    Facebook 50.0% (5) 10.0% (1) 0.0% (0) 30.0% (3) 10.0% (1) 10
    MySpace 60.0% (6) 10.0% (1) 10.0% (1) 10.0% (1) 10.0% (1) 10
    Flickr 50.0% (5) 10.0% (1) 10.0% (1) 20.0% (2) 10.0% (1) 10
    Pinterest 60.0% (6) 0.0% (0) 20.0% (2) 10.0% (1) 10.0% (1) 10
    LinkedIn 88.9% (8) 0.0% (0) 11.1% (1) 0.0% (0) 0.0% (0) 9
    Comments
    Show Responses 2

    Download7. Just briefly, if you have used social media in your classroom, describe how and what you used it for. For example YouTube to play video.

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    Download8. If you have not used social media in the classroom, briefly explain why.

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    Download9. Do you believe social media is appropriate to be used in the classroom? Briefly explain your answer.

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    Responses (12)

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    Possibly. The potential for abuse, bullying and students being off task is very high.

    11/12/2012 4:21 PMView Responses

    Yes, although alot of social media sites or things that you may want to access will be be blocked anyway.

    9/12/2012 11:33 PMView Responses

    I think soical media when used appropriately in the classroom can be a greta learning tool for students

    9/12/2012 11:05 PMView Responses

    part of everyday life and promotes connection to their life

    9/12/2012 8:31 PMView Responses

    In a monitored environment – yes. Students will be using these outside of the classroom, therefore they should be shown the educational value of these tools, and also how to use them effectively and responsibly.

    9/12/2012 3:02 PMView Responses

    I am not sure how using twitter or facebook in lessons would work with as I have not tried it or have confidence in implementing it.

    9/12/2012 10:40 AMView Responses

    Some yes. It is a way student’s can interact with other students around the world and gain knowledge and understanding of their culture.

    9/12/2012 10:34 AMView Responses

    Yes in the right context, with plenty of rules and supervision

    8/12/2012 2:41 PMView Responses

    Yes, because why not? It’s a valuable tool

    8/12/2012 1:02 PMView Responses

    If incorporated effectively it is a very useful tool

    8/12/2012 7:05 AMView Responses

    i think it would depend on the age of the student, for example, Facebook is for over 13s, so i would not use it for primary aged students

    7/12/2012 6:39 PMView Responses

    Effective, relevant, focused use of social media that enhances learning and is grounded in strict guidelines for use are great tools to embed in classroom learning activities.

    7/12/2012 10:48 AMView Responses

    DownloadCreate Chart10. Would you use social media more in your classroom if you understood it’s applications better?

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    Cannot see its worth 0.0% 0
    Maybe

    16.7% 2
    Think about it

    8.3% 1
    Sometimes 0.0% 0
    Often

    41.7% 5
    As much as possible

    33.3% 4
    Comments
    Show Responses 1

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