Friday, May 26, 2017

Week 30 - Professional Online Social Networks

How social media is used in teaching?
The digital era has seen social media popularity expand across sectors and at different levels. In education, social media has been increasingly adopted to enrich learning environment. Pearson’s survey (Seaman & Tinti-Kane 2013) shows that there has been an increase of 21.3% from 2012 to 2013 in social media use in teaching. A study investigating social media use in teaching (Silius et al. 2010) reveals that student motivation for social media can enhance study. While this study was conducted with university students, its implications can be applied to other contexts as learners of any age have substantial access to social media networks. Promising as it seems, social media is not without its critics. 56% of respondents of the Pearson’s survey (Seaman & Tinti-Kane, 2013) believed social media to be more distracting than helpful to students. Further, effective learning will vary from student to student according to their knowledge and competence of these platforms.
An example of using social media in classroom is featured in a video in which Kathy Cassidy, a primary teacher, presented her rationale behind the decision she made to use different social online platforms in her classroom and the benefits she believed it brought to the students.
Other examples can be found in p.12-14 of the Innovative Pedagogy report of Open University (Sharples et al, 2016). Thee group of authors demonstrated how effective use of social media can lead to an engaging learning experience that can reach a wider scale of learners.
And the Establishing safeguards video on social media networking from New Zealand Teachers Council discusses the importance of establishing a clear purpose of social media use in one’s practice.
View the two above mentioned videos and use these questions to guide your thoughts?
What are some key features of social media that are beneficial for teaching and learning? Why?
What are potential challenges that teachers need to be aware of when integrating social networking platforms into teaching activities? Why?
How should the challenges be addressed? What are the resources that could provide you with helpful information?
and in professional development?
Technology accessibility and the pace of advancement to all communities both locally and internationally has resulted in changes to aspects of the general education system, including the professional learning medium for educators (Melhuish 2013). Social media platforms have been able to provide personalised learning which is need-based and flexible in time and location. Teachers can use online social network to seek information, share ideas and even contribute to the development of deeper knowledge.

THIS WEEK’S ASSESSMENT ACTIVITYActivity 6: Using social online networks in teaching or professional development
Create a blog post where you critically discuss the use of social media in YOUR teaching or professional development.
Following these steps might help:
Think about your own practice. Some of you may already be an active social media user either in personal or professional purpose while others may prefer to be more precautious towards the potential exposure the social network tools can entail.
Either way, using these questions to guide your thoughts:
How much have you utilised the social media in your teaching practice? In what way?
What would be the benefit of adding a social media component to the existing practice?
What would be the potential challenges?
How could you use social media to support your engagement with the professional development?

Education Council.(2012). Establishing safeguards.[video file]. Retrieved from

p. 36-44 in Chapter 3 of Melhuish, K.(2013). Online social networking and its impact on New Zealand educators’professional learning. Master Thesis. The University of Waikato. Retrieved on 05 May, 2015 from

- With this evolution of the social web, learners, be they students or educators, increasingly expect to access materials, resources and networks of experts and fellow-learners in ways that suit their contexts, needs and choices of technology. Recent technological advances put personalised models of learning in the driving seat. The trend of ‘anytime, anyplace’ learning is increasingly a key enabler for any institution or organisation that wishes to serve its learners who now expect to use mobile technology and 24-7 connectivity (Johnson et al., 2011)
-Future-focused reports predict that personalised, adaptive learning environments, and massive open online courses (MOOCs) will tip into the mainstream in the next two to three years, driven by changing patterns in the way people expect to able to work and learn, and by education paradigms shifting towards more blended approaches (Johnson, Adams & Cummins, 2012).
-Current developments in technologies offer an exciting way forward, providing potential solutions to professional learning questions that previously would have been too expensive, time-consuming and unmanageable to solve.
- It is now possible to bring teachers together, provide ‘just-in-time’ support, and link to experts or other educators exploring the same complex problems using social software.
-The local environment in which teachers work is beginning to support this: in New Zealand, the rollout of ultra-fast broadband, the TELA laptop scheme, and the focus on enhancing the e-capability of teachers and leaders
- If the New Zealand Ministry of Education is investing in such sites as the VLN Groups it is worth exploring how current research supports this professional learning policy.
- define such online networks as socially constructed spaces that allow members to create and collaborate in groups using semi-permanent comments.
- Members can establish public/partly-public online identities, and view and leverage a visible set of connections, which are often part of their extended network, rather than communicate with strangers
-It is also important to clarify the difference between ’network’ and ‘community’. A key difference between a community and a social network is that, in a community, one’s relationship and commitment to the group is to the fore, and often the relationships are richer for it. Whereas, in a social network site, the individual user is at the heart of the structure and everyone experiences the network through a profile and set of connections that revolve entirely around them
-The goal of ‘professional learning’ is widely used to describe the intended outcome of online teacher professional development spaces. Arguably such broad phrasing leads to fuzzy outcomes and a lack of strategic planning for a social network site focused on experiences that should ultimately enhance student achievement. As such, understanding how the purported learning theory underpins the design of a social network site is essential (Breit, Dede, Ketelhut, Whitehouse, & McCloskey, 2009)
- effective professional learning experiences are dependent on wider social contexts, the content, activities and processes in which groups of educators engage, and the impact on those educators and on their students.
- It is the way that social network sites afford participation and usergenerated knowledge creation (rather than the tools per se) that offers educational opportunity. Learning can be mediated through our own cultural and social context. The social network site provides a space that is shaped and re-shaped according to our own cultural perspectives to allow learning to be positioned within authentic contexts
-Social network sites afford members freedom and autonomy to construct and develop their own understanding in collaboration with others
- A social network site can afford members the opportunity to create, share and curate the knowledge in a shared space, and members’ thinking is mediated and developed by the thinking of others.
-Social network sites might lack critical voices creating an echo chamber effect. The conversation may be too superficial in content knowledge or process to impact on ingrained practice and tacit capabilities. Access to information does not automatically create knowledge or understanding. It can be observed in some social network sites that “the forms of communication available are for the most part one-dimensional, based in collective circulation of artefacts and individual meaning-making, rather than the co-construction of meaning”
- Social network sites may be enthusiastically embraced as the newest innovation, but educators may then proceed in ways that fail to embrace the deeper learning or may drop the innovation once something new comes along (Fullan, 2006).

Joosten, T.( 2013. October 22). Pearson: Social Media for Teaching and Learning. Retrieved from

Sharples, M., de Roock , R., Ferguson, R., Gaved, M., Herodotou, C., Koh, E., Kukulska-Hulme, A., Looi,C-K, McAndrew, P., Rienties, B., Weller, M., Wong, L. H. (2016). Innovating Pedagogy 2016: Open University Innovation Report 5. Milton Keynes: The Open University. Retrieved from
-social media can bring learning to life by summoning up different times, spaces, characters and possibilities. They can support creativity, collaboration, communication and sharing of resources. These media support exploration of the past and outer space in real time, engaging learners in new ways. They can be used to develop extended projects for learning on a grand scale.
-social media can bring learning to life by summoning up different times, spaces, characters and possibilities. They can support creativity, collaboration, communication and sharing of resources. These media support exploration of the past and outer space in real time, engaging learners in new ways. They can be used to develop extended projects for learning on a grand scale.
-. Where the pedagogy is unsuccessful, sites may present learners with inaccurate information, biased comments and hostile responses.
- Educators on social media sites designed to offer learning opportunities therefore have multiple roles that differ from a teacher in more formal settings. A facilitator is needed to initiate the project and to take on the tasks of filtering resources and engaging people.
-Social media support learning about distant times. They can also help us to learn about different spaces. In the USA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) uses a range of social media to share its work. Each NASA spacecraft has its own Twitter account and personality. Engaging with these spacecraft produces a variety of learning opportunities. A well-known example is NASA’s Mars Phoenix lander, which attracted 300,000 followers on Twitter. All of them were able to receive regular updates on the lander’s activity.

Office of Ed Tech. (2013, Sep 18). Connected Educators. [video file]. Retrieved from

Tvoparents. (2013, May 21). Using Social Media in the Classroom.[video file]. Retrieved from

SocialMediaForKids (2014, Aug 15) Social Media For Kids® The Social Media Education Experts.[video file]. Retrieved from

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