During professional learning workshops, I often ask participants how they learn new things today. The top responses are always Google and YouTube. Another quick survey I take is by asking participants to raise their hand if they do not use social media. Normally in a room of 25-30 participants 2-4 participants raise their hands. Unknowingly, almost all of them use social media in some form or another on a regular basis. For instance, most agreed to using YouTube to learn something new. If we are in a Discovery Education (DE) professional learning workshop, DE has a huge social media component to their site from the landing page throughout. Additionally, little do these participants know that sites such as Google, Yahoo, Linkedin, Itunes, Pinterest, Yelp, and even Netflix are all social medial sites.
In a study conducted by Goodyear, Casey, and Kirk, the researchers explored how social media could facilitate pedagogical change in a developing community of practice. (Goodyear, Casey, & Kirk, 2014). What they found was that social media could substitute for a physical location, such as virtual school can for a classroom (Goodyear, Casey, & Kirk, 2014). Twitter provided a platform for participants to communicate which developed into a culture that was carried on in Face to Face meetings (Goodyear, Casey, & Kirk, 2014).
I found the result of this study powerful and very representative of my own experience as a doctoral student in FSU’s first online doctorate program. Blackboard and now Canvas were tools similar to Twitter used to facilitate dialogue through classroom policies laid out in our syllabus. In my current Web 2.0 course #EME6414, the choice to communicate is even more representative of an organic development of culture because of the variety of platforms to choose from to communicate. One of the things my cohort members and I did in our doctorate program was develop a Facebook group and a GroupMe instant messenger group that allowed every to chat regardless of the device. Those conversations were huge in our support of each other throughout the program.
As a classroom educator, I found a lot of value in extending classroom instruction beyond our class period with the use of social media, such as Edmodo to communicate with students. It provided students an opportunity to digest their day’s learning and attempt to work through it independent of me. Whenever they would have an issue, classmates and myself were available to support them. Today, I would incorporate Twitter and hashtags as a means to easily communicate which would definitely further transform my instructional practice.
There is much value in merging the worlds of social media and education to support student learning. Articles such as the one cited here, and further research will continue to add credence value of social media in education. Think of how using social media can expand your practice, and if you’re teaching how can it expand your pedagogy.
Goodyear, V. A., Casey, A., & Kirk, D. (2014). Tweet me, message me, like me: using social media to facilitate pedagogical change within an emerging community of practice. Sport, Education and Society , 1-17. doi: 10.1080/13573322.2013.858624