EdTech 543 – Social Network Learning

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Hello and welcome to my initial thoughts as I begin my adventure of learning how to integrate social networking into the classroom environment. Our world is rapidly changing as social networking websites/apps are becoming to primary source of communication between individuals and groups of people. Whether it’s through the sharing of a video, picture, internet meme, or live broadcast social networking sites are having a major impact on how society sends and receives information. In 140 characters or less millions of people across the world can engage in discussion about anything and everything and large political/social movements can be born. Social networking may be one of the most impactful tools to ever be developed. Given this powerful tool it is logical for us to look at ways to leverage social networking tools to enhance the education of our students. This is what will be the first of many blog posts about social network learning, which focuses on initial reactions to being required to joining social networks for use in this class, my experience in using social media in my own professional development, my experience in using social media as an instructional strategy in my learning environment, and my expectations for this course.

My initial reaction to joining these social networks for use in the course was excitement as it makes me feel we will to a certain extent be able to see what using social media might look like. I have already used most of the social media required for the class. This makes me feel confident I will be able to navigate the sites/apps I will need to use for the class allowing me time to focus on theory, application, and experimentation in the use of social media in a learning environment. I was also comforted to see that it doesn’t appear that any of my privacy settings will need to be changed to fully participate which leaves me I control of what I choose to make visible online.

I have absolutely no experience in using social media for my own professional development, but I hope that will be change as I progress through this class. I imagine there are a lot of valuable resources available through social media that I am simply not aware of that could be of great benefit.

I also have no experience using social media as an instructional strategy as I have only taught second grade where you don’t have students engaged in social media, but as I am hoping to be in a middle school setting starting the next school year many of my students will be engaged in social media and I would love to be able to integrate its use into my classroom.

My expectations for this class is that I will learn the theory and best practices for using social media in my classroom effectively and responsibly so that it has the greatest impact possible. Increasing student engagement is always a focus for teachers and I can see how social media could play a large role in putting content into a real world context that will increase engagement. I do have concerns about some potential pitfalls of using social media as well and I hope that this class will provide me with solutions to avoid these pitfalls and avoid any negative outcomes. For example, how do you setup expectations to ensure positive learning experiences for both experienced social media users and novice users? How do you address parental concerns about allowing students access to social media when they would otherwise not have access to it? Are there any legal concerns that I need to be aware of as a teacher? Many schools block access to social media when connecting to the school’s WIFI network, how do I work to make this access available if it is not already available? I am very excited to find answers to these questions along with the other questions I haven’t thought of yet as the class session progresses.

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