Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Introduction to Social Technology

Students use social technology such as Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube and Twitter every day for their personal use. These technologies can be used in education as a method for promoting student engagement and interaction if used effectively. This blog looks at things to be considered before using social technology in education. This material is taken from the Emerging Trends and Technologies MOOC offered through Coursera.

According to Eric Sheninger, there is no guidebook out there that educators must abide by when it comes to using social media and there are no overbearing rules - which is why it is so useful and adaptable. The only firm rule he encourages educators to follow is to use common sense when posting to the Internet and always remember your role as an educator in the community you serve.

Types of Social Technologies being used in education:

  1. Social Networking and Sharing of Information - these technologies allow the user to post ideas and personal work for the community to view and give feedback. Examples: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Slideshare, and Pinterest
  2. Blogs and Wikis - these technologies allow users to create collective works or to blog information for the community to comment on. Examples: Tumblr, Blogger, Wordpress, and Wikispaces

Suggested ways social technology can be useful to educators:

  • Acquire, share, and curate resources
  • Discussion forum and engagement in conversations of professional interest
  • Elicit feedback on ideas and initiatives
  • Ask questions and receive answers from experts
  • Track conferences
  • Digital newspaper
  • Share the great things you and your students are doing
  • Public relations
  • Enhance communications

Before you use a social technology in the classroom:

  • Set-up a profile in the technology you want to try and use it personally so that you are familiar with its use before introducing it to students
  • Investigate and understand the privacy controls
  • Determine a learning objective and make sure it is measurable, centered on social sharing and/or collaboration, and that it will work with the technology you have selected
  • Gather clear examples of effective use for students to reference
  • Design activities with a duration over a finite time with explicit activities to be achieved

Tips for using social media tools efficiently for instruction:

  • Don't comment on every post...unless you want to
  • Use the technology to crowd source student support (let students help each other)
  • Be visible for frequent, short durations to maintain momentum and your sanity
  • Subscribe and filter as a way to monitor student posts 

 More information:

Coming soon: Using Twitter for Education


  1. Thank you so much for the mention! You might be interested in my new book on Digital Leadership, which just became available yesterday

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