FURNITURE ASSEMBLY kept me away from another lively #edchatie session but I think I caught the essence of the hour-long pullulating discussion in the 50-word tagcloud that leads off this blog post. I'm going to use the rest of the post to answer 10 questions that arose during the Twitter chat session. I'm also listing several links that educators posted in the free-flowing discussion.
Has social media proved itself in schools?
I don't think it has and that's the biggest reason why the topic of "social media in education" keeps appearing in conferences, mailing lists and discussion groups. We started using Twitter in third level assessments in 2007 but it took another three years for students and employers to agree it was worthwhile.
Does social media help independent learning?
Yes. Social media facilitates independent learning. At Tipperary Institute, we are creating mandatory "Learning to Learn" modules for students in the Technology, Science and Media department and part of those modules is designed to show students how to learn via shareable collaboration.
If you set up a hashtag for a classgroup to use, might they be more involved?
Hashtags are easy to explain and easy to use. I hash all my modules each semester and award continuous assessment credit for revision-quality use of the hashtags.
Couldn't we turn the smartphone to our advantage?
Managers need to know that smartphones are more powerful than the computers they might have used in college. I create weekly summaries of lesson material and optimise the material for display on mobile phone screens. If students get into the habit of toggling into the mobile-friendly lesson material, they effectively open up another learning portal.
My school bans phones, but should it? Isn't use of a phone another skill they should learn?
This is a big problem, one reminiscent of my high school restricting use of blue ball point pens in favour of b lack and my university prohibiting electronic calculators during exams. A phone can be a distraction but in a world where the number of landlines is decreasing, knowing how to leverage a mobile phone is an essential life skill.
Can social media be trusted?
There are hazards to everything a pupil will encounter and that means there are pitfalls in using social media for education purposes. But there are immense opportunity costs that deserve equal weighting when looking at the value of structured social media experiences while in second level education.
Should we teach RSS?
Absolutely. Most of my deepest forays into social media happen via newsfeeds. Active citizens need to know how to manage the firehose of information through clever management of RSS feeds.
What if a borough blocks social networks like mine does?
If it's not illegal, I recommend bringing my your own technology. I have a time-tested Huawei Mifi dongle that works well for this purpose.
Has anyone used Skype in the classroom?
I have and I record Skype calls. In lecture halls, I prefer Online Meeting Rooms because of its greater flexibility.
How many schools have a YouTube channel?
YouTube will outlast Facebook. I've a minor presence on YouTube, with fewer than 50,000 views of nearly 100 clips. Portmarnock Community School has a nice YouTube channel that was cited in tonight's #edchat session.
Links that appeared in the #edchatie Twitterstream follow.
Ted Talks -- Arthur Benjamin's formula for changing math education