Unfortunately, Social Network Learning is coming to an end. I am always sad when a course comes to an end. I get very wrapped up in them and make new friends that I likely won’t work with again. 543 was a great course for several reasons. First, It was very social. I got to work with and learn from others. I learned more than I thought I would. Third, the course schedule was great for learning. Being given 2 weeks for each assignment allows you to really indulge in the material and not just rush to get assignments done. Fourth, the course was designed to use the material we were learning about. Dr. Gerstein practiced what she preached and writes about the development of this course here. Finally, I got to use new tools I wouldn’t have and learned some new skills (more on that below).
The infographic below covers the highlights of what I learned. I will go into more detail below it.
What did I learn?
I learned a lot. I’ll list the main things here:
- Facebook is more useful for education than I thought. We used a Facebook group for our class to share content and to give feedback to each other.
- I learned the theory behind communities of practice. COPs are “groups of people who share a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.” They have 3 key components: the domain, the community, the practice.
- Learned how PLEs and PLNs are different but related.
- Explored my digital footprint and learned how to manage it.
- Learned how to maintain a positive online reputation.
- Curation differs from collecting. Curation adds value and context to resources. It tells a story.
- Developed better understanding of the roles my devices, services, and tools play in my PLE.
- Learned how to develop and evaluate social media policies.
- Most importantly, I learned how to effectively incorporate social media into an educational module.
I also got to use some new tools:
- Twitter tools:Tweetdeck, #hashtags, chats
- Curation tools: ScoopIt, Livebinders
- Facebook groups
How will I apply what I learned?
I will be using the skills I learned in this class. The final course project, a mini curricular unit, will be used this upcoming semester in a course I teach. The mini curricular unit incorporated all we learned in this course. In the future, social media (in some fashion) will be incorporated into all the courses I develop. I will be the first educator at my medical school to use social media in a course. I hope to change the mindset of the students, faculty, and administration so that others incorporate it into their teaching. Finally, I will be studying the effect of Twitter as a spaced repetition tool in a course that I teach.
Finally, part of this assignment is to grade my own blog post (75 pts max). I went back through each module to reflect on what I learned. I covered what was expected in the reflection. Thus, I give myself 75 points.
This week I start a new and near-final chapter in my MET program. EDTECH 543 (Social Network Learning) should nicely complement my recently completed course on openness (EDTECH 597). This is blog post is a reflection on my current use of social media for professional development and teaching.
What are your initial reactions about joining these social networks for use in this course? I assumed we would use social media in this class. I have accounts for all the tools mentioned this week. I use Twitter and Diigo daily. I don’t use Facebook other than to occasionally (once a week or less) check on what my friends have been up to.
What is your experience in using social media for your own professional development? I have been using Twitter and Diigo daily for professional development for several years. They have been very valuable tools to find and share resources. They are also very valuable for finding thought leaders in education and educational technology. I am a physician and didn’t know the names of education leaders outside of medicine. Twitter (and blogs) has allowed me to expand my personal learning network outside of medicine. I use Google+ some for PD. In the areas that I follow it’s not as risk of a resource as Twitter. I don’t use Facebook for PD (or much of anything). I’m just not a fan of its organization. I think you have to have a couple of resources that you can keep up with regularly and understand how to use and try not to engage with too many social media. A lot of time can be wasted.
What is your experience in using social media as an instructional strategy in your learning environment? It’s limited as I teach in the medical field which is way behind in using online and social media for education. This year I started a Diigo group for a weekly noon conference where I post I important article or resource related to the topic of the conference. We have about 120 residents and 30 faculty who have been invited to join the group and only 24 have in the last month. No one, other than me, has posted anything. I have used Google+ in the past to run a course because our in-house designed LMS has no discussion board feature and I needed a discussion board for a class. I am going to study Twitter this spring in one of my classes to see if tweets of hard to understand topics improve knowledge. I use YouTube and SlideShare regularly to teach. I use WordPress blogs as class sites 2 two things that I teach.
What are your expectations for this course? I feel comfortable using social media for my own learning but want to get exposed to more ways to use it in teaching. I also want to get exposed to some of the theory and research data about its use (though I’m not sure we are scheduled to cover this or not). I’m a theory geek and like a deeper understanding of things. I also hope we have freedom to use social media we want to and not be forced to use certain platforms at all times. I am worried about so much use of Facebook as I just don’t like Facebook.
I look forward to expanding my knowledge and facility of using social media tools. I also look forward to seeing how teachers outside of my profession use social media.
Now that EDTECH 522 Online Teaching for Adult Learners is almost over students were asked to update their concept map of what online teaching is. Below is my updated concept map. It looks very different than my original concept map (available here). This map is simpler but contains what I think are more important concepts of teaching adult learners online. My original map was more about Knowles’ adult learning theory and online learning environments. I didn’t consider applying the community of inquiry model to online teaching. This is important because the instructor’s approach to course development will vary greatly depending on how they plan to develop cognitive, social, and teacher presence. I also didn’t consider that learners at different stages of self-directed learning require different approaches from online teachers and different types of scaffolding. I think I have captured those important elements in my updated concept map.
An online version of this image without grid lines is available here.
This course will have several impacts on my online teaching. I learned a lot about mechanisms/approaches to incorporate the community of inquiry model into online teaching. The Stavredes text contains excellent chapters on scaffolding strategies and ways to establish cognitive, teacher, and social presence. I will refer to these often in the future as I develop and modify my current online courses. Grow’s stages of self directed learning will also impact my future teaching. It is important to assess where your students are on this continuum as the teacher’s role changes based on stage. I really enjoyed developing the online module for this course. I wish I could use it in its current format in my current teaching but my institution doesn’t use Moodle. I will be able to use parts of it in what I teach. Finally, I enjoyed the discussion forums in this course. Students underestimate the value of discussion forums. Sharing and critiquing ideas is a powerful way to learn. My current online students don’t like to utilize discussion forums. They view it as busy work. I have tried to design the questions to be useful and based on application of knowledge not just regurgitation of knowledge; but to no avail. I think it takes a more meta-cognitively advanced student to understand the value of discussion forums.