Higher Education, Social Media, StudentAffairs

Reflecting on Values & Identity from #Dalton13

Over the past few days at the 2013 Dalton Institute, I have been encouraged to think about the cross-section of how our cultural norms, use of technology, and institutional practices intersect to support students. Educational reform for higher education is not new; however it was refreshing to have a group of graduate students, faculty, scholars, and practitioners to be part of a thoughtful collective to think deeper about these challenges.

Although the institute’s focus was self-promotion, social media, and student development, it was great to hear a number of conversations emerge about the disruptive forces and potential opportunities to embrace change in Student Affairs. The philosophical narratives and analysis of technology’s impact on identity was enriched by listening to personal perspectives and such varied experiences.

Dare to Jump

Photo c/o @DaltonInstitute {Thanks @vanessaballer!}

As the final keynote of the institute, I gave my “triple threat” perspective as a student, instructor, and professional in higher education. My goal was to share ideas and practices to develop a richer learning experiences; specifically ones that I have valued as an active scholar. So, doing my best to follow the amazing #dalton13 featured speakers – I shared my own narrative, critiques, and insights on how emerging technology can support and challenge student development. I gave some tangible examples and ideas of how to move beyond the gadget, application, or “next big tech thing” by considering ways educators can be actively pushing their learners. I talked about everything from exploration to collaboration, specifically by empowering students to be part of the solution to our institutional challenges.

My #Dalton13 Keynote – Notes & Then Some! (thanks for the photos & tweets #dalton13 backchannel!)

I appreciated the conversations (although some were far too brief!) around identity and student values that  I had with a number of #Dalton13 attendees, especially the FSU HESA graduate students. Although a number of ideas were shared at the institute, I am still left thinking and reflecting about these key questions:

  • How are student values demonstrated in a digital environment?
  • Can educators have an impact on the character development of learners?
  • Is student development really impacted by technology? How so?
  • Does there need to be a shift in how we support our student population on campus?
  • How can our graduate programs do a better job of challenging and supporting scholar-practitioners with “self-promotion” questions?
  • Will higher education cultural norms and institutional practices be changed, or will we be left behind?
#AcWri, #phdchat, Book Review, LPQ, Social Media

Book Review: Social Media for Educators #summerreading

After reading, Social Media for Educators by Tanya Joosten (a.k.a. @tjoosten), I decided to complete an #AcWri book review in the Learning and Performance Quarterly 1(2). Since this journal is online and open access, I thought I would blog a few key ideas and highlights from this #summerreading book. Book Review: Social Media for Educators [PDF]

Abstract: Social Media for Educators is an excellent book that interweaves theory, applications, and current pedagogical experiences for learning environments. For those in the learning and performance industry, this book provides insights and ideas to help guide social media use for both educators and learners. Joosten provides current examples, benefits, and considerations throughout each chapter. Whether educators are beginning to design their learning curriculum or learners are considering social media for organizational development, this book presents helpful insights and experiences that will potentially influence and shape effective engagement and learning with social media.

Keywords: Social Media, Education, Strategies, Practices Although I have previously blogged about strategies for developing social media guidelines — I thought I’d share a few other suggestions for social media engagement from the book. Here are a few ideas, but really I would just recommend reading the book if you’re interested in social media for learning, training or development.

Part One: Background I appreciate how Tanya Joosten lays out the history and evolution of what we now know as social media. Social media is defined by a number of educators and summarized as “A virtual place where people share; everybody and anybody can share anything anywhere anytime” (Joosten, 2012, p. 6). Social media encompasses Web 2.0 tools, social networking sites, and user-generated content where individuals engage and contribute to these digital spaces. This section introduces readers to how social media is being used to build a network, establish support systems, and grow relationships among peers. There are a number of examples where professionals can “get their feet wet” for using social media for professional/personal use. Finally, this section wraps up with implementation considerations and identifying the following pedagogical needs (Joosten, 2012, p. 30):

  1. Increasing communication and contact
  2. Engaging students through rich, current media
  3. Gathering and providing feedback
  4. Creating cooperative and collaborative learning opportunities
  5. Providing experiential learning opportunities

Part Two: Social Media: What to Do With It? I enjoyed how this section of the book presented practical case studies and useful ideas for social media communication and instructional design. The examples and “how to” guides for using social media are very helpful when considering how to enhance the learning environment. Many of these examples are excellent models for various types of learning experiences (in class, online, blended, etc.) and training opportunities (professional associations, affiliations, etc.). As an instructor/student, I agree with Joosten’s thoughts on how social media helps facilitate peer instruction and greater interactions. I also agree that social media features and characteristics often provide a richer learning experience (Joosten, 2012, p. 54), including:

  1. Provides a virtual space for storing, archiving, and retrieving
  2. Facilitates rich and current information
  3. Increases the ability to aggregate resources to share
  4. Offers immediate access to information through mobile apps or through RSS feeds

Part Three: Other Considerations in Implementation The last section of this book deals issues that often accompany social media in education, including policy, administrative and IT support, cost, user-generated media, support for educators, training needs, effective evaluation practices, and challenges for implementation and use. The last few chapters guides educators on how to go forth and create their own social media instructional plan at their home institution. Dr. Joosten provides evaluation instruments, suggestions for establishing learning outcomes, and assessment ideas for using social media in education.

References

Joosten, T. (2012). Social media for educators. San Francisco, CA: Wiley/Jossey-Bass.

Pasquini, L. A. (2012). Book review: Social media for educators. Learning and Performance Quarterly, 1(2); 83-84.

EC&I831, Learning Community, Social Media

What Are Your “Top Sites”?

Learning is social. Learning is connected. Learning is often informal.

The speaker this week in EC&I 831, Dr. Richard Schwier, discussed learning environments and encouraged us to reflect how we learn. He shared, with the class, how he consumes online content, and reflected that most of his online activity was social. In reviewing my own “Top Sites” in Safari I discovered that I too like to be social and connected online:

Top Sites

Here’s my quick list:

There is a lot of learning in my online life, and I definitely rely on my social connections and tools for support. While organization and structure help construct “formal” education, there is great value in spontaneous, chaos for informal learning. The key for learning is to engage and connect your students in the educational process.

A quote that resonated with me both as a learner and educator:

“We as educators need to reconsider our roles in students’ lives, to think of ourselves as connectors first and content experts second.” William Richardson