Week 12 – Social Media. Open Source Tools. My story.

What did you learn from your experience using social media and other open source tools? Should they be used for teaching and learning? Tell the story of what you learned…

Changing the way I learn and teach… how I look at the world through a different lens…how I research… how I leverage my interactions… how I extend my own beliefs and push me into deeper dialogues, but at the same time understanding that there is line to the interactions.. a blurred line.  I think that SM allows for one to self-reflect no matter who is the audience.  You put yourself out there and through a matter of clicks others reflect with you or maybe without you.  I am motivated by others, intrigued by others and sometimes infuriated by others.  Social media is tricky – specifically, twitter.  When you have 140 characters to represent your thoughts, your beliefs and try and capture the essence of what you are trying to say and on the flip side you have the ability to self-direct, choose your own learning and according to Vanwynsberghe &  Verdegem (2013), there is a public and private blur of the boundaries.  I kind of felt that way when following the directions for this weeks module, I had to link my twitter to my facebook account.  I try to achieve a separation of the two… I like to “try” and use twitter for professional ideas, sharing, connecting, developing my PLN and with facebook, I tend to use it to connect with my friends, many of whom are professional friends, but basically I started using facebook because my mother always asked me “are you in town or out of town”.  I had a “secret” code or way of indicating this without her having to even ask now.  When I connected the two, I kind of felt that blur of the boundaries.  Is that a bad thing?  Not really, it just felt like I had to try harder to keep the content on a different level.  Maybe it was just me… could facebook be used as an educational tool?  Sure, the very nature of what it is, indicates that it is allows for easy access, people can connect and ask quick questions – poll out, reach out for help, assistance for something… heck ask the experts.  Here is a perfect example — a friend is coming to Texas and needed recommendations for running trails, night life, etc.  Sure she could research google, yelp, travel advisor, but why not use primary sources?  Those who live in the area for the best recommendations?  What is wrong with that… nothing.  Could an educator do the same thing?  Absolutely… does it happen? Probably not.  In K-12, I am sure there are some sort of filtering that would interfere with that… I think there is still a fear.  We don’t get trained on how to use these tools (or at least we didn’t when I was still teaching) but rather take the easy road and just block the things that could provide us the best route to the best information.   It is funny… I posted this and then read a post… on Facebook of all things, from a K-12 teacher reminding them of an assignment that was due… hmmmmm.  I investigated this a bit further and it looked like only 8 students were reminded.  I guess because the other students are not on facebook?  I am intrigued and I know this teacher… I am going to ask.  

When I think of using SM, I think of this like the Big 6.  I used to teach this when researching.  One example (this was before twitter and I don’t think we even had FB yet) but trying to figure out going to the movie – this might not be the best or most relevant example anymore, because there is an app for that!  But prior to this, I might have to get the newspaper to figure this out… I could call the movie theater, but then I would have to look up the phone number, call, get the information, etc.  I think you get the idea.  

Is there a curve to this?  Absolutely!  I think sometimes teachers are just barely rounding the bend of this curve OR they want to, but then there is some guy at the head office that says… “Ummmmm, no”.  There needs to be a better way to understand why these tools are important and how to best approach them vs just not going there.  Professional development is definitely an option, but along side that is providing the experiences and digging into why these tools are beneficial.  I can teach you how to use the tools, but there is a whole other piece to the learning… application of the tools.  Let’s don’t get caught up with the tool and trying to fit it in.  It needs to be applicable and relevant and provide a deeper level of the learning.

Vanwynsberghe &  Verdegem (2013) also discuss the idea of active participation by the user and the traditional models that are no longer sustainable… we don’t have a classic “sender-message-receiver communication model”.  It is really an interchangeable communication model that is both mass and self-communication… interesting takeaway… you post something on twitter for the “masses” but really in essence you are self-communicating and then getting feedback – retweets, favorites, inquiries… and potentially a deeper & richer meaningful conversation to be had.  That is why I love it.

On that same thought:  http://projectinfolit.org/index.php/component/k2/item/75-smart-talks so good reading and pondering… exploring these ideas.

Vanwynsberghe, Hadewijch, and Pieter Verdegem. “Integrating social media in education.”CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture 15.3 (2013). Literature Resource Center. Web. 21 Apr. 2014.



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