Social media has been widely utilized in teaching and learning. Doctor (2013) stated that the advantages that social media brings to education include easy communication, immediate information update, and high flexibility with a variety of devices (e.g., smart phones and tablets) for easy access anytime and anywhere. Social media broadly covers functionalities in networking, socializing, chatting, blogging, communication, and sharing (Aseifert, 2013). Dabbagh & Kitsantas (2012) stated that learners can create, organize, and share contents through social media. The following list includes a list of social media, but not all, and its relevant tools.
|Category of Social Media||Tools|
|blogging/ micro-blogging||Blogger, WordPress, Twitter|
|media sharing||Youtube, Vimeo|
|cloud-based||Google tools (e.g., Drive, Site)|
Current Use of Social Media
Social media has been used in different ways for effective teaching and learning. The following two examples comes from my former online course “Teaching with Technology” offered to pre-service teachers in a 4-year institution. The first example came from one face-to-face session in fall, 2011. The second example came from an online session (http://edit2000online.wix.com/summer2015) in summer, 2015 (see Figure 1). I also include some lessons I’ve learned to use these tools in face-to-face and online courses.
A multicultural project was implemented in this course to promote cultural exchange and communication between U.S. and Taiwan college students. The entire project lasted one fall semester. Each student in Taiwan was paired with one student in UGA. Since there is a time-zone difference, Facebook was selected and used as a networking tool for students in Taiwan and UGA. Each week, the instructors posted the weekly topic in Facebook (see Figure 2). In addition to posting answers in individual blogs, students in Taiwan can chat or share information with their UGA pals in Facebook (see Figure 3).
Since students had to write down their answers in blog posts, Facebook simply became a space to chat and connect to each other. Some students even only post photos that they received gifts from project pals in Facebook without any further interaction. Thus, some interactive activities (e.g., sharing college story) are suggested to increase student engagement.
WordPress has been used as a tool that students can share their ideas about technology integration using Universal Design Principle in Genius Hour Project. Students are offerd an opportunity to explore a topic that is of personal interest. Basically, students worked on different tasks every week and posted in WordPress. So in the third week of class, for example, students posted their tool selection to present their projects and its rationale. Also, they attached their rubrics in WordPress to evaluate their projects (see Figure 4).
WordPress provides a bunch of ways for students to embed or attach their artifacts (e.g., youtube video, audio, pdf, etc). However, it may take a while for students to get familiar with the authoring and navigation environment in WordPress. Particularly, one session was offered in summer (a.k.a. one month). So students may be initially overwhelmed by the authoring tools in WorkPress and need to look for help or tutorials.