Whenever I do a workshop, I usually start by saying “I know that usually in a situation like this, the workshop leader asks you to turn off your cel phones. But I want to encourage to you leave them on and tweet throughout the presentation, if you like.”
Not very traditional. Learning theory says that the more students are distracted, the less they will learn, and social media is certainly distracting. It’s hard to imagine that students will be able to take information in and retain it when they are constantly checking on what their friends are up to on Facebook.
However, integrating social media into the classroom can also have positive effects.
At any and all of the conferences I’ve attended over the last few years, Tweeting has added to my experience. It has allowed me, for example, to share the knowledge that I was getting from the session with my Twitter followers. I have also been in the opposite situation, where I’ve been unable to attend an event, and have been able to “play along at home” via Twitter and a hashtag.
At a recent conference I was at, there were two sessions running concurrently, and I was able to, in essence, be in two places at once by attending one session and following along with the Tweets coming out of the other session.
In a recent Georgia Straight article, instructors and professors at post-secondary institutions shared how they are using social media in the classroom.
Dr. Raul Pacheco-Vega is a professor at UBC, and a friend of mine. He uses blogs, Twitter, and Facebook both to communicate with his students, and push their learning beyond the classroom walls. “In general,” says Raul, “I make extensive use of social media in the classroom, because I think it makes me way more reachable to my students.” Dr. Pacheco-Vega will be presenting on this topic at the upcoming Social Media Camp Victoria in June. You can also read this article about him in the Ubussey.
So. Social Media: a distraction or an enhancement in the classroom? Tune in on Friday for a really interesting infographic that looks at both sides.