Social Media Perceptions

August 31, 2013 – EdTech 543, titled Social Network Learning, explores the use of social media in the learning environment. In setting up social media accounts for the course, I’ve tapped into my existing accounts on FacebookTwitter, and WordPress, and created new accounts on Diigo and Flickr. Following are my responses to questions posed in the course’s first module:

What are your initial reactions about joining these social networks for use in this course?
This was my reason for enrolling in this course: to learn how to more effectively use social networks in my professional endeavors. I already have several social media accounts and I use them regularly. Prior to starting this course, I had not yet signed up for Diigo, but considering how unhappy I was to learn about the loss of tags on Delicious (that was the status when I last logged in), I’m ready to try a new online bookmarking service. If anything, my reaction to joining these networks was excitement and a desire to get to work.

What is your experience in using social media for your own professional development?
I have used social media consistently since I completed a course on blogging last summer and was subsequently assigned tech responsibilities at work earlier this year.  I am not an avid personal user of social media. In fact, the only social media that I use for personal reasons are Facebook and WordPress, the latter primarily functioning as an online repository for media and other resources. Professionally, most of my experience with social media has been limited to extending exposure to our council’s website. Facebook and Twitter are my primary tools in my ongoing efforts to drive our people to our council’s website. If Google Drive can be considered social media, I use this cloud-based tool heavily as a means of communicating with and training the teams that I work with in the BSA. I have only begun to use services such as LinkedIn to network and promote my personal skills.

What is your experience in using social media as an instructional strategy in your learning environment?
This is where I feel weak. As I mentioned above, I have primarily used social media as a means of extending exposure and driving online traffic to a specific location. Before starting module 1, I did not realize the difference between a Facebook group and a Facebook page. In fact, I didn’t realize that Facebook groups even existed, but they appear to be similar in nature to Google Drive and seem to have great potential for disseminating information to our teams of volunteers and professional Scouters. I wish I could say that social media was a more integral part of our strategy, but I also wish I could say that we had a well-defined instructional strategy with which to begin.

What are your expectations for this course?
I expect that this course will help me find gaps in my ability to maximize the potential of social networks (such as the one mentioned above). I expect that the utility of this course will extend beyond my responsibilities for training to other duties such as council promotion and membership recruitment. I expect many of the basics of the course to be familiar and easy to understand, but I expect the discussion to go beyond surface, or beginning usage to an exploration of effective usage (based on learning theory and pedagogy). I also expect to develop a more advanced skill set when it comes to leveraging the power of social networks in any work environment.

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