Thursday, August 18, 2016

Sharing Social Media #136

Do you share your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, or any social media accounts with your students? Perhaps some, but not others? LinkedIn is the one that I will accept invitations to connect - especially when I see that someone who has studied in the National College of Ireland wants to connect (though I have questioned the value of LinkedIn this week).

Image source: Getting Smart.
But what about Facebook and Twitter? A couple of years ago I decided to experiment with Twitter in some of my classes. I wanted us to use Twitter to share ideas and news stories relevant to our module and get some discussion going. The class was small, so this experiment was bound to fail since a critical mass of students was not present to make it work. Perhaps I wanted to be "cool", but the experiment was doomed to failure. Also - after a while I noticed that students were tweeting personal stuff (interesting!). 

Several educators advocate using social media in the classroom. Adam Renfro, writing about 8 Social Media Strategies for Your Classroom suggests social media is "more relevant, connected, and meaningful to your students", and he has some ideas for how to use Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter (among others) in class.

Facebook for me is strictly personal. I know several teachers who decide not to have a Facebook page so that they are not being stalked by students. There is a border between an educator's personal space and their teaching space. But if you want to be "out there" on social media platforms, then it is up to yourself how to police and control your connections. I have yet to see a College with a real policy for staff in relation to social media (nor do I want to see this - academic freedom and all of that). We have to be careful in how we handle this open platform, my sense is that we have not yet reached the maturity stage with social media in education.

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