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Education and Social Media

August 2, 2012

I don’t know what to make of this?

Since a couple of weeks I receive mails from people who like my blog and wants to share resource with me, like the one below. First I was irritated :-?, why do they contact me – a little unknown blogger, then of course I felt honoured – they contacted me :-), but since these mails increase, I ask myself repeatedly what is the purpose of their approach. Well, I am sure it is not, because they like my writing so much, though I think I am not to bad ;-), but because they want to promote their institution/website/product – take a pick.

Nevertheless, I have to admire their approach. They work hard to improve their ranking and chose different avenues to reach that goal. It seems their social media managers take SEO (search engine optimization) pretty serious. An it is still up to me whether I want to share the resource myself here on the blog or via Twitter. I sometimes wonder whether you could make money with professional blogging?

Use of Social Media in Education

Well, let’s focus on the two infographics. I embedded the first one ‘A teacher’s guide to Social Media‘ , but the second infographic was too huge to be embedded, so please follow the link to view the infographic ‘Pros and Cons of Social Media in Education‘ from the Online Universities Blog.

A Teacher’s Guide to Social Media
From: OnlineColleges.net

My interpretation of the two infographics

Marc Prensky’s claim that teachers are digital immigrants and students the digital natives seems to be revoked.

“Faculty who have been teaching for 20 years are just as aware of social media sites as any other teacher.”

According to the first infographic 90% use social media in their classroom or for their professional careers. That sounds encouraging.  YouTube is the most use social media tool, which is not really surprising, which shows again that we have to catch up here in German schools where many school administrations still believe that YouTube needs to be blocked in computer labs.  Facebook is second most used, however the personal use is with 60% double as high as the professional use. The application of Facebook in classrooms is a matter of debate among teachers, but the reluctance to use this social media tool to connect with students is still pretty high among German teachers. Interestingly blogs, wikis and slideshare are the three tools that are used to a higher degree for professional purpose, contrary to the other tools, like LinkedIn, Twitter, Flickr or MySpace. Yet, it would have been helpful to distinguish better between professional and personal use. Does professional mean that this tool is used in classroom or that teachers used that tool to improve their professional careers. When I use Twitter to keep up-to-date with newest development in teaching is that considered as personal or professional?

Use of Social media

  • connect
  • notify
  • teach
  • curate

How this is achieved is vividly pictured in the infographic. A clear plus for this form of presentation. For those who are interested to find more infographics I can highly recommend the ‘Cool Infographics blog ‘ from Randy Krum.

Growth of social media tools

The second infographics shows the growth of social media tools starting from 2008 up to 2011. Facebook almost doubled by numbers and is now, according to Online Universities blog, with 98% the most used social media tool in higher education. Yet, Twitter took off from zero to 84%, followed by LinkedIn that started as well by zero and is now used by 47%.  Blogging and message boards stagnated the three years, being used by around 50%.

However, the authors of the infographics also cautions that challenges are attached with the use of social media and that a lukewarm approach, to ‘simply have a profile on a site like Facebook’  is not sufficient to convince students, but requires daily maintenance and interaction. They also recommend that educational sites should be monitored and approved to provide a safe environment  avoiding e.g. cyber-mobbing.

All in all, two interesting infographics, although they are only to a certain degree applicable to German classrooms. As in many cases, we lag behind and it seems that Prensky’s digital immigrants are still overrepresented here 😉

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