Using Social Media to Engage Educators in Learning
The goal of this long-term
self-study project is to explore and
determine sustainable methods for
engaging pre-service and in-
service education students in au-
discussions about educational is-
sues using social media.
afforded us an opportunity
for critical reflection on the
use of social media tools as
part of our pedagogical
This choice of methodology
is considered an appropriate
way to investigate such
programmatic changes within
teacher education programs
personal conversations as
critical friends (Schuck and
a focus group from a re-
lated study, and
observations of activity on
platforms we utilized.
Using Social Media
to Engage Educators
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Rogoff, B. (2003). The cultural nature of human
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Schuck S., & Russell, T. (2005). Self-study, critical
friendship, and the complexities of teacher
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Vygotsky, L. (1978). Mind in society: The development of
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By Michael Nantais and Jacqueline Kirk
Each of the various platforms has advantages and disadvantages for learning.
Students were engaged in deep, thoughtful discussions about educational issues.
From this perspective, blogging and discussion threads on our faculty Ning network seemed to be
Both of these platforms were more open than the LMS, which allowed the discussion to include
people outside of the specific courses. For example, graduate students (who are primarily practic-
ing teachers and school administrators) and Department of Education consultants joined discus-
sions in the undergrad class groups, adding their authentic experiences and knowledge to the dis-
We each took a different approach to the discussion threads, one of us provided prompts for the
discussion, while the other had students initiate the discussions. Each approach worked to varying
Some issues arose, including some students’ concerns about privacy and the problem of “multiple
spaces” (Gray and Smyth, 2011).
In addition to the enhanced conversations, students have found creative ways to use and connect
using social media. These have opened up exciting opportunities and connections for our students.
This self-study is by no means complete, we will continue to experiment, share, debate, and push
one another as we explore this area.
We also continue to explore ways to address issues that arise in the use of various social media
An extension of this work will be to employ different methodologies that extend the self-reflective
nature of self-study into other types of data collection. In this way our learning can grow with more
and different perspectives.