Social media tools have a lot of value in teaching and learning, and this has become even more apparent as I continue to use twitter in an introductory field biology class. In “St Lawrence Ecosystems“, students are doing natural history research projects and tweeting about their project. They are discovering the many ways that 140 characters can help create collaborative learning communities.
Now that we’ve examined the arguments for using social media in the classroom, and discussed some of the practical considerations, it’s time to talk about the tools themselves. There is a befuddling array of social media tools from which an instructor could choose. Even the more web-savvy among us can be intimidated by all the choices! How should we go about identifying and selecting the right tool for the job? To make this discussion a little more straightforward, we’ll limit it to include what we would consider our “Top Ten Tools”. These are user-friendly, well-supported, free, include opportunities for information-sharing/networking, and are commonly used. Continue reading Social media in teaching: picking the right tool for the job
From Facebook to Twitter and blogs, social media tools are an integral and important part of society, and these tools are here to stay. Social media is about collaborating, networking, sharing and generating knowledge and content, and all of these features are of great value in the context of higher education. Today’s Universities have well-developed social media strategies, and use a suite of social media tools for various purposes including internal and external communications, recruitment, sharing research findings, and highlighting exciting student initiatives (this is reviewed in detail by Davis et al.). Continue reading The value of using social media tools in teaching and learning
Last week I had the pleasure of presenting at an Education Technologies conference, on the topic of using social media tools and mobile technology in teaching and learning. The conference attendees were diverse and included educators (from elementary school through to Universities), information technology officers, school board representatives, and others. The presentation was focused on using the case study of McGill’s St Lawrence Ecosystems course to illustrate advantages of using social media tools and mobile technology in an outdoor classroom, and during the presentation, the audience (situated in groups, around tables) was asked for comments on three questions. Each group provided verbal feedback, and also provided written comments. These responses are shared, below. Continue reading Using social media and mobile technology in the classroom