Social Media for Higher Education Researchers
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Social Media for Higher Education Researchers



Slideset to accompany a panel presentation @ Western Australian Group of University Librarians (WAGUL) Research Day 22 July 2014 #wagul #wagulrd2014

Slideset to accompany a panel presentation @ Western Australian Group of University Librarians (WAGUL) Research Day 22 July 2014 #wagul #wagulrd2014



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  • The Higher Education sector is beginning to see a more ubiquitous level of social media experience as school leavers emerge from the K-12 sector with many years of technology experience behind them 1-1 programs are becoming more common in primary and secondary sectors. However, this does not account for all students – low SES, mature age undergraduates, etc. The Higher Education context does not guarantee that student expectations and high order technology use will be met. <br />
  • A dizzying array of possibilities can cause confusion and conflict – Often students seem to miss the point of learning activities – especially if the platforms selected seem to be disconnected from what they perceive as their core focus. However, this often overlooks activities where teachers want process to be highlighted. The challenge that faces teachers is finding ways to ensure that learners make the appropriate connections – discovery sometimes seems more valued by teachers than by learners in the HE landscape.
  • Similar experiences are still reported by teachers who are proactive social media practitioners. The digital native meme is constantly challenged – but ultimately misunderstood. Indigenous digital citizens are not necessarily skilled at all possible uses of technology. While “consumption” is probably the key experience of most young digital citizens, the experience of creation, collaboration and curation are seldom accentuated – it doesn’t mean they aren’t present in very particular contexts. Participation in social media contexts requires contribution… the creation and collaboration may be meagre but they are real. <br /> <br /> Matthew Allen – “The only reasonable conclusion I can draw from this is that the STUDENTS, not the curriculum or teaching, explain the difference. Curtin undergrads had a class *as well as* all the online work and thus can be assumed to have had a richer / better teaching experience of the same content. Yet they were less satisfied. I conclude that the most likely reason for this is that, on the whole, Curtin undergrads have a more teacher-centric approach to their studies and thus an authentic, challenging learning experience is not as satisfying for them because it does not fit their expectations.” <br /> <br />
  • Observations of high school students showed they were demonstrating desirable 21 century skills. What seems to be missing at times is the awareness of the broader possibilities in terms of developing a personal professional brand, professional networking and academic extension. Perhaps the changing relationships between teachers and students can foster this awareness so it becomes more useful earlier to a broader population of learners? <br /> <br /> Certainly, with all the challenges that humanity is facing, our species would do well to maximize our rate of learning. It’s becoming more apparent every day that one of the simplest and most powerful ways of doing this is to increase connectivity among people, their ideas, and the data that their technology is churning out in record quantities. Our minds are products of self-organizing, emergent forces, not products of committees or curriculum boards. Our institutions need to understand this if they are to remain viable. Today, more than ever, as we become better acquainted with the science of complexity, we are starting to see the importance of interconnectivity, the power of diverse ideas, and the innovation that comes from connecting many minds, ideas, sensors, and data. <br /> Schools will change. The frustration comes from those who see how today’s technology is being underutilized and hobbled by The Academy. Unfortunately, (for short-term practical reasons) most people still see The Academy’s credential as being more important than the mind’s ability to use existing (and future) technology. That will change as employers can no longer afford to hire credentialed individuals who lack the requisite abilities to adapt quickly through connectedness. The performance levels of people who’ve learned to use connectedness compared to those who haven’t will be too great to ignore. Whereas performance differentials in traditional work do not vary much between individuals, with knowledge work, they can be drastic. (
  • Teaching spaces reflect the shift towards student-centred learning. Accommodating BYOD
  • The expectation of students as critical enquiry agents has long been a part of contemporary pedagogy. This raises questions about what its is to teach – is subject specialism enough?
  • Increasingly these are open to students – primarily postgrads but still a trickle of undergrads.
  • Given that some pundits are suggesting that the shelf life of social media links is about 3 hours – there must then be some consideration of how the users conceive of the relationships they’ve established via social media channels.

Social Media for Higher Education Researchers Social Media for Higher Education Researchers Presentation Transcript

  • Social Media in Higher Education Researchers New social dimensions Kim Flintoff Academic Engagement Developer, Curtin Teaching and Learning
  • The Shift Begins in Kindergarten “rigorous and based on college- and career-ready expectations”
  • Not a new idea
  • Adopt an SEO focus • Presence – you have to be there to play • Connections – aggregation, syndication, networks • Activity – give and take
  • Know thyself
  • Vanity Search
  • Analytics
  • Know your influencers
  • Optimise your presence
  • Are changes occurring? “I kluged together a wiki, a blog a message board and asked students to join free public social media services like, Flickr, Youtube, and Twitter. Again I was surprised… they were overwhelmed…” Howard Rheingold “Social Media Classroom Screencast” Aug 19, 2008 Photo by Joi Ito hd.jpg
  • Networking from student to professional “Interestingly, researchers found that very few students in the study were actually aware of the academic and professional networking opportunities that the Web sites provide. Making this opportunity more known to students, Greenhow says, is just one way that educators can work with students and their experiences on social networking sites.” University of Minnesota study into Educational benefits of social networking.
  • Personal Technology “Personalization cannot take place at scale without technology.” Culture Shift: Teaching in a Learner-Centered Environment Powered by Digital Learning Personal Learning Environment
  • Matters of Trust Social media has not, and will not, change the fundamentals of learning, but will rather complement and supplement its dynamics by creating new channels of communication. Social media will also create new channels of trust as the global reach of the Internet exposes learners to new sources of learning, be those sources, people or repositories. Rasmus, D. Social Media in Higher Education: Time to take the plunge. %20Social%20Media%20in%20Higher%20Education.pdf
  • Academic Networks
  • Content or Relationships 3 hours “In a nutshell, bitly's research reveals that generally, links shared on Facebook, Twitter, and via direct sources like email or instant message have a shelf life of about 3 hours.” Read more: 07/Shelf-Life-of-Social-Media-Links-Only-3-Hours- Data.aspx#ixzz1x4RNvKWG