Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Social media, educators, and YOU!?

Recently, my eyes lit up as the Faculty Focus in my in-box noted that "80% of faculty use social media in their teaching" -- I was then forwarded the article by three faculty members who have worked with me on social networking or other research articles. Since this marries nicely with the idea of work and travel as academics, I wanted to link everyone to the article and to the other teaching resources mentioned.

The survey (access can be gained to the research and report here) noted that "social media" includes Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, SlideShare, Flickr, blogs, wikis, video and podcasts.

Most surprising to me was the report that  90% of faculty use social media for some type of professional reason in their classes (though frequency of use varies).

Most interestingly was the age/experience of faculty members and their likely use of the media. It seems that those faculty members with more than 20 years of experience teaching are less likely to visit and post on social media than their counterparts with 5 years or fewer experience.

Almost two-thirds of faculty used social media in during their courses or as part of an assignment.
Online teachers are more likely to use social media as part of their course or as part of an assignment.

The last line of the Faculty Focus report noted, "However, despite the broad awareness and varied use of social media, many faculty are unconvinced it has a place in the college classroom and have concerns regarding its instructional value, privacy, and the time commitment." This mirrors my experience completely where I chat with my colleagues and note my use of social media in class and in communicating with my students (both online and on-campus) and face a myriad of concerns.

When reading the article, survey, and watching a linked video about Twitter in the English Composition classroom, I thought about my use of social media. I began to critique--was I using social media purposefully, professionally, with the privacy of students in mind? I found myself doodling the ORID model -- a model used to help students move toward more analysis in their work. ORID, as many readers know, stands for Objective, Reflective (positive and negative), Interpretive, and Decisional where we first examine what we know/observe, move into positive and negative reactions, transition to what sense we make of this data, and then finally end up with the opportunity to enact informed decisions based on the process. This process helped me to examine my own social media use.

As you examine the increasingly ubiquitous nature of social media as a means for communication, research, and study within higher education, consider what rules, uses, and preconceptions you might have about the use of social media.

Read Clive Thompson's Wired article, "How Twitter creates a social sixth sense."

* ORID graphic: found at this website.

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