Beginning with Social Media

Last week I was tasked with putting together a one-page “cheat sheet” on social media for education. Knowing there are thousands of well-done infographics on that very subject, I did what anyone would do… Googled it! And, as I expected, fabulous, creative results.

Social media image

The challenge now is deciding which of the vast resources to share. One I particularly like looks at Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google+, Tumblr and digg: That fits because I anticipate my audience is on Facebook, has used YouTube and knows of Twitter, but is unfamiliar with Google+, Tumblr and digg. It is a good opportunity to make them more aware of possibilities they may not think of.

Pinterest is another social media site I want to highlight. Love Pinterest! While a number of people I know use Pinterest, the classroom focus is something instructors may not have thought about. A great “cheat sheet” for Pinterest for the classroom and schools can be found at:

Instagram is a social media site where I have an account but have rarely used. I’m honestly not that great at photography or remembering to take picts. John Spencer shared a similar view in a blog post, Ten Ideas for Using Instagram in the Classroom. John says,

I didn’t understand the pull of Instagram the first time I heard about it. To me, it sounded like a fancy app that would take regular pictures and make them look like they were crappy, old photographs. Eventually, though, I changed my mind. I saw the artistic side of the app and eventually began to see the social interaction. Instagram became another layer of sharing our world and telling our stories.

John is now a convert and I understand why. Check out his blog for great illustrations and ideas.

Knowing that my districts, and others, have experienced some push-back on the use of social media, you may be asking “why would you encourage instructors to incorporate social media in their instructional practices?”

Dana Rosen recently wrote a great article on Edudemic, “From Chalkboards to Chat Boards: What Will eLearning Look Like in 2075?” Dana explains “why social media?” much better than I.

Why does “social” have to mean sharing cat photos and selfies? Social media could become the primary forum for idea sharing, tutoring, etc. Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites share the common attributes of “instantaneous idea sharing.” If those ideas were directed towards academic or training content, we might rethink using Facebook (or other social platforms) in the classroom.

I’ve discovered the questions/concerns my district has dealt with around social media have little to do with social media and lots to do with inappropriate use:

  • Using logos without permission
  • Changing logos
  • Using social media instead of existing district resources (Blackboard, MS Lync, etc.)
  • Revealing student info or performance through social media
  • Contradict district messages or marketing on social media

The bottomline is both students and instructors are active on social media sites. Doesn’t it make sense to teach proper use and find ways to utilize such communication mechanisms to engage, collaborate and educate? I think so!

2 thoughts on “Beginning with Social Media

  1. Thanks for this Post Pam – really useful ! I also followed up your link to John Spencer’s post about Instagram and have found that really useful too ! . What a productive morning I am having ! anyhow …I just wanted to say thank you !

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