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Using Social Media to Engage Educators in Learning


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Poster presentation at #SMSociety15 held at Ryerson U in Toronto, July 27-29

Published in: Education
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Using Social Media to Engage Educators in Learning

  1. 1. Critical Friends Collaboration Objective 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- thentic discussions about educational is- sues using social media. Methodology Self-study methodology, afforded us an opportunity for critical reflection on the use of social media tools as part of our pedagogical practices. This choice of methodology is considered an appropriate way to investigate such programmatic changes within teacher education programs (Dinkleman, 2003). Data Sources  reflective journals,  personal conversations as critical friends (Schuck and Russell, 2005),  a focus group from a re- lated study, and  observations of activity on the various platforms we utilized. Using Social Media to Engage Educators in Learning References Bandura, A. (1977). Social learning theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall. Dinkleman, T. (2003). Self-study in teacher education: A means and ends tool for promoting reflective teaching. Journal of Teacher Education, 54(1), 6- 18. Gray, C. & Smyth, K. (2011). Social not-working? Evaluating and building an online learning community. In P. Balcaen (Ed.), Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on e-Learning, University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus, Canada, 27-28 June. Academic Conferences International, pp. 137-147. Lave, J. & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. Rogoff, B. (2003). The cultural nature of human development. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Schuck S., & Russell, T. (2005). Self-study, critical friendship, and the complexities of teacher education. Studying Teacher Education, 1, 107- 121. Vygotsky, L. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. M. Cole, V. John -Steiner, S. Scribner, E. Souberman (Eds.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. By Michael Nantais and Jacqueline Kirk Findings  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 most successful.  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- cussion.  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 degrees.  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. Future Work  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 platforms.  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.