There are many ways that social media can be used in education, and I’ve found myself fielding more and more questions about this particular space. As a result, I decided to write this post assembling some of the best resources for learning more (and participating!) in social media for academia:
Henry Jenkins is one of the leading thinkers on digital education, and his vast network provides a constant stream of interesting insights, new discoveries and thoughtful commentary on the many ways social media is changing education and learning.
Howard Rheingold is an educator who claims credit for coining the phrase “virtual community.” He not only updates his content frequently, but will show you all of the different ways you can use a blog to communicate with your community effectively using video, audio, images and text.
Ethan Zuckerman is associated with the Berkman Center at Harvard, but it’s worth reading his blog to get a more global perspective on a wide range of topics, including digital natives and empowering people from around the world to connect using social media. He is the founder of Global Voices and one of the most engaging speakers I have ever heard.
Finally, I recommend reading the MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Learning blog for news and updates on the impact of digital media on learning.*
Social Networks for Educators
This social networks in education wiki has an exhaustive list of resources around education and social media. This wiki offers a great overview as well as some explanations of the different ways social networks are used.
You can also start with the social media in I recommend PBS Teachers Connect as a good place to start. It breaks down conversations between teachers working with children at different age levels. TeachAde is another social network geared towards teachers that is sponsored by the NEA.
If you decide to build your own social network for educations, this Ning group is a great place to start. Ning is a social networking platform that allows you to build your own social network from the ground up using their tools and platform. As you can see, there are already a large number of Ning social networks around education in which you might be interested.
SlideShare Presentations on Social Media and Education
Here’s a great overview of social media in education from Paul Ayres in the UK. Paul provides an overview of some of the most common social media tools and couches them in terms of education. He explores blogs, social bookmarking sites, podcasts, YouTube and more:
And here’s one from Dean Groom who works at Macquarie University in Australia. Dean gives a fantastic overview of Web 2.0 as it relates to education and discusses how educators can build a strategy around social media :
Finally, I really like this one from Sarah “Intellagirl” Robbins that she presented at Educause08. The slides have enough text to narrate you through, but Sarah is a pioneer is the use of virtual worlds and other new media platforms. In this deck, she discusses how higher education is changing and some of the tools available to help navigate that change:
Remember that the appropriate type of engagement depends upon a number of factors:
What is your objective? Consider WHY you want to use social media. If your answer is because “everyone else is telling me to,” then perhaps it doesn’t make much sense yet. Spend some time reviewing the above articles and resources and make sure that your engagement platform is best suited for your objective.
Who is your audience? Depending on whether you are trying to facilitate communications between your students or to connect with other educators in your space, you will find different social networks already exist for these communities. It makes sense to conduct some research into how these audiences are already communicating before you embark upon setting up your own project.
*Disclosure: MacArthur Foundation is a former client | Photo credit: NMC SecondLife