Journal Four: The Role of Social Media in Education
Facebook successfully drew the world’s attention to the effects social media have on the way we learn, share and comment on information shared in the digital form. The earlier and subsequent emergence and growth of other social media outlets during the past decade has made it very difficult for anyone to ignore. Today, educational institutions acknowledge the importance in employing these same social media tools in an academic context to serve their learning philosophies and objectives.
Social media is a growing socio-technological trend that is already affecting many lives on personal, professional and academic levels. Its application to education is still overwhelmed by speculation and conservativeness and even more, its applications in an educational context are still not very clear. As we progress through the 21st century, much advancement comes about in these digital platforms. Yet, the more we progress into the century, the more we will find students accustomed to technology as a primal part of their lives and it is therefore important, when it comes to education, to make these students feel little or no conflicts, between their high-tech lives and educational practices. The gap must be narrowed.
Skepticism of social media in education is widely acknowledged and understood as the majority of tools today are tailored for the leisure seeker rather than the student. However, it is also essential to familiarize one’s self with the other emerging online tools that are dedicated in most to learning and education. Wikis, voicethread, Youtube, Moodle and plenty more available tools are just the tip of the iceberg. I believe that educators have a choice, not an obligation, to choose which online social media tool best fits with their course content, course objectives, the level of interaction needed between students, the demographic backgrounds of the students and accessibility to internet (region and country dependant).
It is important for educators today to find the balanced between governing guidelines of education and self-directed study. Online social media are creating paradigm shifts in the way students learn, however, there is a bubble of hype surrounding these delivery methods of educational content. I think the best practice to follow at the moment is the slow integration of social media in education and carefully assessing its worthiness and contribution to learning outcomes. Testing on smaller scales must be initiated before a full-blown campus wide adoption of twitter, Facebook, wikis or blogs. Ideally, I see it working best as the progression takes place with a combination of class-room teaching and virtual teaching, both weighted in alignment with course objectives and learning outcomes.
The collective work of course assignments from Course PIDP3240: Media Enhanced Learning, British Columbia Provincial Instructor Diploma Program
Selwyn N., (2012) Social Media in Higher Education, http://www.educationarena.com/pdf/sample/sample-essay-selwyn.pdf (Retrieved on 21st June, 2012)