Unit 1 Blog: Integrating Social Networks and Learning

In this Unit, we looked at social networks as a means of sharing and finding resources to aid the learner and educator. This, as in the following weeks, is my reflection on the week’s readings/videos, the learning challenge as well as the class discussions, including my experiences and any questions and conclusions.

Social Networking

I am already connected with students via Facebook, Line (chatting app popular in Asia), Google+ and Skype. I use these mainly for disseminating information such as homework assignments and reminders, and students contact me if they questions or have a change in their schedule which affects class. I use only one Facebook account for both my professional and private selves, but as my students are at the University level and they use it as a means for practicing English, it is a valuable resource that I’ve never had problems with. As social media resources, I usually use Slideshare (a PowerPoint presentation-sharing site) and YouTube because of the availability of a variety of topics and documentaries/movies I use in my lectures.

The readings acted as a way to introduce various types of social media that aided in sharing information and partaking in a virtual community. I’m well-versed in the most popular social networks, but I was surprised at the sheer number of apps, many of them similar in some nature (for example, location-based services). The fact that more and more are always developing and evolving has made me reassured that we can use these types of technologies to aid in working up Bloom’s revised/digital taxonomy.

Bloom's

Some key issues/ concepts and observations I considered in the readings were the emphasis on internet privacy as well as Bloom’s revised/digital taxonomy. We have an eternal presence via the internet and the issue of ethics and privacy need to be discussed with students when they start using computers (PBS, 2010). There is also a variety of social media that could potentially aid in each successive level of Bloom’s taxonomy, culminating with ‘creating’, signaling that the highest level of learning has taken place (Churches, n.d.). In Digital Nation, the multi-tasking was brought up, and led me to quickly self-examine and conclude that I fit into that category; when they filmed the material in 2010, I was still in college. I would have never thought of my activity as ‘multi-tasking’ per se, more like studying with entertainment, but I still would prefer to be able to focus on one task from start to finish without interruptions.

audacity

For the learning challenge, I created a podcast with audacity. This was extremely helpful for me because its ease of use makes it simple to record lectures for students to review. I definitely will use audacity in the future with my university classes. However, for a presentation with adding visual information as well, I would use Powtoon to underline important information that will be the foundation of subsequent lessons. This would be more helpful than the standard PowerPoint in my secondary school classes as well as the university.

With the learning activity, the concept of continual availability came up. Especially with EFL students, the ability to re-listen to lectures is powerful in forming understanding in spoken speech. In a broader sense, it gives the learner the chance to re-examine content until they have mastered the material. I would like to utilize Zondle more in my secondary school classes, a gaming application that could motivate students through individual and group competition. The gamification of education was explored in Digital Nation, citing a middle school that uses games as the vehicle of education (PBS, 2010). Games could work in acquiring as well as testing the understanding of information and even creating gaming materials signals Bloom’s level of creation.

Discussion

The discussion board was reassuring in seeing that most everyone included some form of collaboration or community in their personal philosophy of learning. Social networks could absolutely aid in education in that they fulfill the collaborative, creative, resource-finding and sharing role that is the goal of social network applications. The issue of privacy came up repeatedly, especially at the primary level, where it’s most important to form a sense of permanence of data and ethics on the internet. Perhaps a fix to this could be school-wide networks, or intranets, to protect student data, but this still leaves the issue of utilizing external networks.

Within this learning context, the discussion board itself acts as a personal learning communities as it allows in the sharing and evolution of ideas. I agreed with the community and privacy aspects of the discussion, which is understandable as we all come from a pretty specific demographic using a learning resource for professional development. I understand the urgency of the privacy issue and understanding the difference between your private and public selves, my cousin posts inappropriate material I cringe at now, knowing that it is forever linked to his Facebook profile and available. I have always been careful of what I share or let people share about me on social networks, but I think that’s more of a reflection on my private nature than any education in computer ethics.

In conclusion, I have generally found that I’m more optimistic than pessimistic in regards to the potential benefit of social media networks. Social media can help in developing all levels of Bloom’s revised/digital taxonomy with the proper instructional design and objectives. Overall, the information in this unit has encouraged me to integrate new types of resource technology in my classrooms as the particular benefits are obvious in my educational settings.

 

 

References

Churches, A. (n.d.). Bloom’s digital taxonomy. [Presentation slides].

Retrieved from http://edorigami.wikispaces.com/file/view/blooms+elluminate.pdf/ 58496778/blooms%20elluminate.pdf

 

PBS. (Producer) (2010). Frontline: Digital_nation [Web].

Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/digitalnation/view/

 

All images licensed under creative commons.

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