What Can Social Media Aggregation Contribute To Teaching & Learning
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What Can Social Media Aggregation Contribute To Teaching & Learning

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This paper describes the role that aggregation of social media can contribute to teaching and to learning. With respect to teaching, assessment is enhanced because the aggregate stream of social media ...

This paper describes the role that aggregation of social media can contribute to teaching and to learning. With respect to teaching, assessment is enhanced because the aggregate stream of social media activity produces an artifact that exhibits what and how students are learning and discovering. With respect to learning, engagement is enhanced because the aggregate stream of social media activity encourages students to interact with each other by cooperating and by commenting on others’ learning and discovery.
Especially promising is the prospect for the course (and subsequent learning) to “continue” even after the semester ends and even for assessment data to be collected longitudinally.

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What Can Social Media Aggregation Contribute To Teaching & Learning What Can Social Media Aggregation Contribute To Teaching & Learning Document Transcript

  • What can social media aggregation contribute to teaching and learning? Thomas I. M. Ho, Ph.D. Educator.DrThomasHo.com Keywords: social media, curation, education advocacy Abstract Political, societal, and financial forces exertpressure threatening education which is sorely in need of advocacy. Advocacy should be based upon evidence of the accountability of students and teachers engaged in learning and in professional development. Such evidence can be revealed by students’ and teachers’ LearnStreams which result from aggregation of their social media content created as a natural by-product of their learning and professional development. This paper identifies some social media aggregation tools which can be harnessed for education advocacy. Social media aggregation The C4LPT Guide to Social Learning ( Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies, 2010) is a comprehensive resource on the use of social media for teaching and learning. Most notably, it cites the creation of user-generated content via Web services which facilitate sharing to enable collaboration by making connections among people. Whereas content creation was once the primary responsibility of the instructor, students are now able to document their learning by creating content in a variety of formats. Social learning (Hart, 2010) is the application of social media tools to learning. While previous attention has been focused on social media such as social networking, social bookmarking, and blogging; this paper will emphasize the role of social media aggregation via emerging social mechanisms such as lifestreaming and Twitter hashtags. As powerful as social media itself is, it is even more powerful when viewed through the lens of aggregation. Because of the diversity of sources of user-generated content, it is imperative to organize that content! In the same way that digital celebrities and tech-savvy companies “build their brands” via their online identity, learning can leverage these tools to enable similar innovation. Teaching and learning Although there are numerous learning outcomes that are desirable, we will describe how social media engages the student during learning by enabling him to present his learning experiences in a way which documents learning for purposes of assessment. 1
  • Engagement With respect to learning, engagement is enhanced because the aggregate stream of social media activity encourages students to interact with each other by cooperating and by commenting on each others’ learning and discovery. Using these indicators of engaged learning(Jones, B., Valdez, G., Nowakowski, J., & Rasmussen, C., 1994), we can envision how social media tools can contribute: Vision of Engaged Learning Students take responsibility for their own learning. Social learning enables them to do so by making it so easy for students to generate content. Tasks for Engaged Learning Social learning tasks can be challenging, authentic, and integrative because they enable interaction with collaborators outside of the classroom. Assessment of Engaged Learning Social learning facilitates assessment because it generates artifacts which document learning beyond traditional mechanisms. Instructional Models & Strategies for Engaged Learning Social media enables students tobuild a repertoire of effective strategies for learning in diverse social contexts. Learning Context of Engaged Learning By its very nature, social learning encourages cooperation and collaboration rather than competition and fragmentation among students. Grouping for Engaged Learning Social media mechanisms enable flexible groups to be configured and reconfigured according to the purposes of instruction. This flexibility enables educators to make frequent use of heterogeneous groups and to form groups, usually for short periods of time, based on common interests or needs. Teacher Roles for Engaged Learning As a role model in the use of social media, the teacher serves as facilitator, guide, and co-learner rather than as a mere “teacher” or instructor. Student Roles for Engaged Learning In addition to being an explorer and cognitive apprentice, students areproducers of knowledge. Using social media tools, students generate products for themselves and their community that synthesize and integrate knowledge and skills. Through the use of technology, students increasingly are even able to make significant contributions to the world's knowledge. 2
  • Presentation (delivery) Clearly, social media mechanisms such as Slideshare, WordPress, Google Docs, YouTube, Google Reader, Delicious, and even Twitter are ideally suited for delivering content because these are common tools for everyday use.To present both instructor (and especially student)generated content, we promote social media aggregation to organize this wealth of mechanisms for generating content. Assessment (archiving) Consequently, assessment is enhanced because the aggregate stream of social media activity produces an artifact that exhibits what and how students are learning and discovering. Tools Social media To generate content, numerous social media alternatives are available. Clearly, social media is a high-performance technology for promoting active learning(Jones, B., Valdez, G., Nowakowski, J., & Rasmussen, C., 1994), but often these tools are either utilized inappropriately or underutilized for promoting learning. Blogging Blogging has long been used as a means for students to express themselves in order to demonstrate what they have learned or to reflect on their learning. It has been more common to use blogging, but the availability and ascent of microblogging has encouraged this alternative, even in learning. Twitter The Twitter microblogging service has been greatly misunderstood and especially in teaching and learning, it has been subject to both scorn as well as praise.(Ingram, 2014) How to not use Twitter The use of Twitter in a classroom setting had been dubious because it can be easily used poorly especially in not creating very useful artifacts which document learning(Young, 2009) Why use Twitter: A much more robust use of Twitter as a personal learning network (Webb, 2009) reveals why students should be encouraged to venture beyond their strong preference for Facebook.(Martinez, 2008)They would quickly realize that Facebook is not sufficient on its own and because it lacks an ecosystem of third-party applications that is not as rich as that which enriches Twitter. What Twitter lacks in “numbers” (due to its smaller user base), it easily makes upwith third-party applications which enrich the user experience far beyond mere Facebook status updates.(Berlin, 2009) 3 View slide
  • Nevertheless, Twitter does have its shortcomings. (Richardson, 2008)In particular, Twitter is particularly problematic because it generates a stream of disjointed tweets. This is why aggregation is desirable and we will subsequently demonstrate Twitter aggregation mechanisms. Blogs & comments Although microblogging is easier, blogging (and commenting) create more useful artifacts for assessment by enabling students to express themselves more fully and to reflect on their learning. However, many (if not most!) students are reluctant to blog so commenting on one another’s as well as other blogs represents reasonable “middle ground” between blogging and microblogging for creating artifacts. Social bookmarking Social bookmarking also represents a less demanding way for students to document their learning although they may be reluctant to blog. In order to mitigate that, the Diigo social bookmarking service is especially useful because it enables either instructor (or student) to “add value” via annotation of content on bookmarked Web pages. Aggregation Whether generated by blogging, bookmarking or other social media services, the resulting flood of user-generated content demands organization! Fortunately, social media also offers organizing mechanisms as robust as the content-generating services. For Twitter, two primary aggregation mechanisms exist. Twitter hashtags index tweets and make it much easier to either search or to view tweets in context. Hashtags offer ease of use (Parr, 2009) compared to the complexity of the FriendFeed social media aggregation service which is a much more robust alternative. Twitter hashtags As a simpler and less capable alternative, Twitter hashtags have many shortcomingsthat are plagued by inconsistent usage as well as inadequate mechanisms for viewing tweets. As part of the rich Twitter ecosystem, the Twubs service (Van Grove, 2009) (Gutmacher, 2009) mitigates some of these shortcomings. FriendFeed On the other hand, the FriendFeed service (Taylor, 2009) offers aggregation that is very powerful, but is so complex that even this social media-savvy author had difficultytrying to figure it out! FriendFeed can be used in conjunction with Twitter (and virtually any other social media service) and it can even be used for microblogging instead of Twitter. Since the acquisition of FriendFeed by Facebook, this author had considerably reduced his reliance on FriendFeed until the implications of this acquisition become clearer. Unfortunately, Facebook has allowed FriendFeed to languish so it is no longer a viable candidate for social media aggregation. 4 View slide
  • RebelMouse Fortunately, alternatives for social media aggregation such as RebelMouse have emerged. RebelMouse (Berry, 2013) has recognized how educators are using it. Presentation To present user-generated content in an organized way, this author had found the Netvibes service to be especially flexible and easy to use. Examples of social media aggregation for courses taught by the author can be found at http://LrnStrm.com which was also recognized as the first college course on lifestreaming by one of the leading bloggers (Krynsky, 2009) on the aggregation of social media content. More recently, curation tools such as Storify have emerged. Educators have recognized its value for social media aggregation. (Hariri, 2013) Conclusion Although there have been teaching and learning experiments with social networking, they have rarely taken advantage of the full power of social media. Social media can easily overwhelm its participants with a stream of activity that is both voluminous and disjointed. This is especially true of the microblogging service Twitter which has grown considerably, but is largely misunderstood especially for what it can do for teaching and learning. This paper has described the role that aggregation of social media can contribute to teaching and to learning. With respect to teaching, assessment is enhanced because the aggregate stream of social media activity produces an artifact that exhibits what and how students are learning and discovering. With respect to learning, engagement is enhanced because the aggregate stream of social media activity encourages students to interact with each other by cooperating and by commenting on others’ learning and discovery. Especially promising is the prospect for the course (and subsequent learning) to “continue” even after the semester ends and even for assessment data to be collected longitudinally. Bibliography Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies. (2010, January). C4LPT GUIDE TO SOCIAL LEARNING. Retrieved January 5, 2010, from Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies: http://c4lpt.co.uk/handbook/ Berlin, E. (2009, February 23). Why I Still Prefer Twitter and FriendFeed to Facebook. Retrieved 23 July, 2009, from louisgray.com: http://www.louisgray.com/live/2009/02/why-i-still-prefer-twitterand.html 5
  • Berry, M. (2013, June 5). RebelMouse | TeacherCast App Spotlight (@RebelMouse). Retrieved February 12, 2014, from TeacherCast (Educational Broadcasting Network): http://podcast.teachercast.net/rebelmouse/ Dieu, B., & Stevens, v. (2007, June). Pedagogical Affordances of Syndication, Aggregation, and Mash-up of Content on the Web. Retrieved December 12, 2009, from The Electronic Journal for English as a Second Language: http://tesl-ej.org/ej41/int.html Gutmacher, G. (2009, June 25). Twubs Makes Using Twitter Hashtags Easy. Retrieved July 23, 2009, from Arbita: http://aces.arbita.net/node/924 Hariri, A. (2013, January 23). Storify. Retrieved February 12, 2014, from The ED Hub: http://theedhub.com/Software-detail/storify Hart, J. (2010, January 1). The State of Social Learning Today and Some Thoughts for the Future of L&D in 2010. Retrieved January 5, 2010, from Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies: http://c4lpt.co.uk/handbook/state.html Ingram, M. (2014, January 26). There is no one Twitter experience - there is only your Twitter experience. Retrieved February 12, 2014, from Gigaom: http://gigaom.com/2014/01/26/there-is-no-onetwitter-experience-there-is-only-your-twitterexperience/?utm_content=buffer85b34&utm_medium=social&utm_source=plus.google.com&u tm_campaign=buffer Jones, B., Valdez, G., Nowakowski, J., & Rasmussen, C. (1994). Designing Learning and Technology for Educational Reform. Oak Brook, Illinois: North Central Regional Educational Laboratory. Krynsky, M. (2009, March 20). First College Course on Lifestreaming Taught at IUPUI. Retrieved March 20, 2009, from lifestream Blog: http://lifestreamblog.com/first-college-course-on-lifestreamingtaught-at-indiana-university/ Lichtenberg, R. (2009, December 11). 10 Ways Social Media Will Change in 2010. Retrieved December 11, 2009, from ReadWriteWeb: http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/10_ways_social_media_will_change_in_2010.php Martinez, S. (2008, July 19). Twitter as a metaphor for learning. Retrieved July 23, 2009, from Generation YES Blog: http://blog.genyes.com/index.php/2008/07/19/twitter-as-a-metaphor-forlearning/ Parr, B. (2009, May 17). HOW TO: Get the Most Out of Twitter #Hashtags. Retrieved July 23, 2009, from Mashable: http://mashable.com/2009/05/17/twitter-hashtags/ Richardson, W. (2008, July 15). What I Hate About Twitter. Retrieved July 23, 2009, from weblogg-ed: learning with the read/write web: http://weblogg-ed.com/2008/what-i-hate-about-twitter/ 6
  • Taylor, B. (2009, April 29). A whole new FriendFeed. Retrieved July 23, 2009, from FriendFeed blog: http://blog.friendfeed.com/2009/04/whole-new-friendfeed.html Van Grove, J. (2009, April 27). Twubs: Wikipedia-Style Hubs for Twitter Hashtags. Retrieved July 23, 2009, from Mashable: http://mashable.com/2009/04/27/twubs/ Webb, E. (2009, November 4). Engaging Students with Engaging Tools. Retrieved January 7, 2010, from EDUCAUSE Quarterly: http://www.educause.edu/EDUCAUSE+Quarterly/EDUCAUSEQuarterlyMagazineVolum/Engagin gStudentswithEngagingTo/192954 Young, J. R. (2009, November 22). Teaching With Twitter: Not for the Faint of Heart. Retrieved January 7, 2010, from The Chronicle of Higher Education: http://chronicle.com/article/Teaching-WithTwitter-Not-for/49230/ About the Author THOMAS I. M. HO, Ph.D. DrThomasHo.com +1 317 288-1790 When he retired from academia, Dr. Ho was Professor of Computer and Information Technology at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). Previously, he was a Senior Fellow inInformation Systems and Computer Science at the National University of Singapore from 1993-1994. From 1990-1992, he was Director of the Information Networking Institute atCarnegie Mellon University. From 1978 to 1988, he was Head of the Department of Computer and Information Technology atPurdue University which was recognized by the Data Processing Management Association for its Four-year Institution Award for undergraduate computer information systems programs. From 1986-1988, he was on loan from Purdue to serve as Executive Director of the INTELENET Commission which pioneered the INdiana TELEcommunications NETwork. He received his BS, MS, and Ph.D. degrees in computer science from Purdue University. 7