Journal Entries

Journal Entry #1 – Clay Shirky – How Social Media Can Make History
Objective:
Clay Shirky speaks about how we are experiencing a media revolution. There have been only four other media revolutions in history: the invention of the printing press, telephone, film, radio and television. Social media and the commonplace use of its tools is the fifth. He mentions that social media is the largest increase in expressive capability in history. It is transforming the media landscape forever. Shirky notes that the media of professionals broadcasting news to amateurs is no longer the main stay and is slipping away. It is the amateur user that has now become a powerful producer, often distributing news as it happens faster than the professionals. The audience is becoming more and more full participants in the creation and delivery of information. He leaves us with the thought of how we can best make use of this new media intelligently and maturely.
Reflective:
I found Clay Shirky’s lecture to be enlightening. It ignited within me a sense of impending doom; that if I don’t start learning more about social media soon, I will pay a price. I am not sure what price, perhaps I will have less friends; perhaps I will lose business as a result of my apathy. I am somewhat fascinated and overwhelmed by the social media revolution. I am also slow to embrace it. I have a cell phone and an Ipad that I rarely use. However, I do need to learn more about it, since it is becoming more and more part of my job. So, I am repeating my affirmation on a daily basis “Social media is a good thing, embrace it”.
Interpretive:
What Shirky did not address in his speech, was how social media is finding its way into the classroom. Since I am an educator, I am particularly interested in learning more about its use in the classroom. According to Jukes, I, McCain T, Crockett L. (2010), an important role of the educator as it relates to social media is that of a user and advocate. They claim that audiovisual communication through a variety of media has become the norm with students, who are already active learners assimilating great amounts of information, outside the classroom, through multimedia devices and services such as iPhones and the internet. In agreement with Shirky’s comment they add, students are not only consumers of information in the modern world, but also producers and publishers of information. In order for students to benefit from the educational system of today, educators must first learn to embrace the latest technology and become enthusiastic users; and then become advocates for getting this current technology into their classrooms. My motivation to learn more about social media is increasing.
Decisional:
Although I have not learned much about social media, the faculty of my school have, in fact, started to use both multimedia devices such as iPad, iPhone and social media such as Facebook and YouTube, both in and out of the classroom, to facilitate learning. As their educational leader (I am the senior education administrator and owner of the school) it is clear that I must become familiar with these technologies to keep up with what my students are already using, and then find ways to include these in my instruction. My role will have to evolve to become: (1) a technological advisor who can tell his students how best to use this technology while learning; (2) an advocate, inventing new ways to use the technology in lecturing or in student assignments; (3) a reference librarian, familiar with online sources of information to advise students in their research; and (4) a creator of online resource material. In thinking about these new roles, I have realized that the last of these is especially important in an entrepreneurial environment such as mine, because it has the potential to distinguish me clearly from my competitors.
Reference:
Jukes, I, McCain T, Crockett L. (2010). Education and the Role of the Educator in the Future Phi Delta Kappan December 2010/January 2011 92 (4): 15-21. accessed online http://www.kappanmagazine.org/content/92/4/15.abstract

Journal Entry #2 – Building on the Social Layer

Objective
In this TED lecture, speaker Seth Priebatsch explains how the last decade was the era when the social media network was built and focused on connecting people easily and in a friendly manner. He goes on to explain that this next decade will build on the social layer by focusing on the development and implementation of game dynamics designed to influence behaviour, hopefully for good. Unlike the last decade, which created a network that is now closed and controlled by Facebook and Twitter, Seth puts forth the notion that we can build this new game framework so that it remains open for all to use. He adds, “we should seek to develop this next layer consciously, keeping it open and available”. Seth proposes that there are seven game dynamics, that when employed, can get anyone, anywhere to act as desired. Seth only speaks on four of the seven.

The first game dynamic is the Appointment Dynamic, which states, in order to succeed one must return to a predefined time to take a predetermined action at a predefined location. Seth the larger picture sites three examples of this dynamic, the most well known being Happy Hour – it gets people returning to a bar at a specific time to win 50% off drinks.

The second game dynamic is Influence Status. It suggests that one player can influence the behaviour of a second player through social pressure. Examples of this dynamic are (a) a credit card company that offers different status levels of a credit or (b) schools that offer a hierarchy of grades on a report card.

The third dynamic is the Progression Dynamic in which success is measured through the completion of itemized tasks. A video game that has simple to more challenging levels is an example of this dynamic.

The fourth dynamic is Communal Discovery which says that people must work together in order to succeed. A fund raiser is an example of such a game.

Reflective
I found the talk to be intriguing, yet somewhat elusive. I understand his four game dynamics and the examples he sited, but I am having difficulty seeing how this is any different than what already exists. But, after a little thought, I started to understand some of the implications of building a Game Layer on top of the Social Layer.

Interpretive
Marketing professionals have been using these game dynamics to influence human behaviour for many years through all forms of conventional advertising methods. North Americans have been exposed to “brainwashing propaganda” for most of their lives, the Game Layer is simply a technological refinement of older methodologies of human behaviour influence.

Now that the Social Layer has been established, businesses can influence the public’s purchasing power quickly and effectively through the process of “friends sharing with friends” on Facebook and Twitter. That is, the internet social network is making it possible for advertisers to reach more people sooner than ever before. The development and refining of the Game Layer of Influence will also facilitate the efforts of charities, fund raisers and other communal projects to move people to act in a positive manner. That said, I see how the Game Layer can also be used in a destructive manner by those individuals in politics wishing to gain an advantage or worse a dictatorship. I choose to believe that “good” will prevail, well, that is my hope.

Decisional
After studying this TED lecture, I am inclined to learn more about the Game Layer of Influence. Of most interest to me, is how I can develop a marketing strategy for my school (I operate a school that certifies personal trainers) that builds on the social media infrastructure. I see how I can use the Influence Status dynamic to drive students into becoming “elite” personal trainers as opposed to the regular type. I might be able to also use the Progression Dynamic to motivate students to higher levels of continued education, specifically in the area of Injury Rehabilitation.

Journal Entry #3 – The growing use of Twitter by today’s educators

Objective
As of 2010, 35% of 1,372 higher education educators have used Twitter, yet only half of them have used it in the classroom. Of those that tried it, 16.9% no longer use it.
The two main reasons educators are using Twitter are to share information with peers and as a real time news source; the majority of them are not using it in the classroom for educational purposes.
There is a great Twitter post called “100 ways to teach with Twitter” that offers creative ideas as to how to use Twitter in the classroom; interestingly, it is one of the most popular educational posts on Twitter.
Twitter can be seen as a resource wealth of quotes and prompts strong dialogue between the proponents and opponents of the use of Twitter within the educational realm.
Twitter is a tool, “it is not education in and of itself”. Social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook are mechanisms that are available to educators should they choose to use them.

Reflective
I was surprised to learn how few educators have tried to use Twitter in the classroom. So many students seem to be Tweeting and I would have thought by now more educators would have experimented with it.

Interpretive
According to http://www.emergingedtech.com Twitter is gaining in popularity among educators. Although this may be true when comparing 2010 to 2009 statistics, I think that educators are slow to “jump on the Twitter bandwagon” and start using Twitter in the classroom. Let’s do some math using the numbers quoted by Emerging Edtech. Thirty-five percent of 1,372 higher education teachers polled is 480 and half of these (240) were reported as actually using Twitter in the classroom. This works out to 17% of teachers polled having tried Twitter in the classroom. This seems like a small percentage, given the length of time Twitter has now be in existence (6-years) and has over 500 million followers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twitter)
Interestingly, 16.9% of these educators have stopped using it. So, from my perspective, the use of Twitter for educational purposes is not growing as fast as this article presents. I agree that Twitter is gaining popularity among educators, however, I think this popularity is more profound with the younger generation of new educators than the older (post 40yrs) ones. This younger set of teachers, grew up on social media, are far more experienced in its use and understand its value, more so, than older educators.

Decisional
So, at the age of 50, this older educator will force himself to learn a new trick. I hunted down the Twitter post “100 ways to teach with Twitter” http://www.emergingedtech.com/2010/02/100-ways-to-teach-with-twitter and I will review it in detail to see if I can use some of the suggestions in my school.

Journal Entry #4 – Reflect on the role of Social Media on Education

 Objective:

The advent of social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube have created a new frontier of educational possibilities for instructors and curriculum designers.  LeNoue, Hall and Eighmy (2011) suggest these tools now offer educators and students the opportunity to engage in cooperative and collaborative learning despite being separated in space and time.  They also claim social media offers educators more ways of engaging students than any preceding technology.  They believe that social media fosters greater student-to-student and student-to-instructor interactivity, a deeper sense of community and a stronger group motivation.  Reynard (2007) proposes social software tools create the potential for customization of the learning process to the needs of each student.   According to these experts, the role of social media in education is powerful and promising.

Reflective

Prior to taking this 3240 course, everything I had read related to the incorporation of social media within the  educational system was positive and left me eager to learning more about it and its uses.  However, having the opportunity, through this 3240 course, to use social media tools, I am now torn between two emotions: faith and fear.  On the one hand, I have faith that if I spend the time and energy to master the use of these tools, my students will ultimately benefit more so than without them.  On the other hand, I have a fear of becoming overwhelmed trying to keep up with all the work and time commitment to maintain my blog, wiki, tweets and Facebook posts.

Interpretive

I see two roles for social media in education. The ultimate role is to provide students with a profound learning experience in a forum that they are already quite comfortable with using.  The second is the role of providing a superior platform for professional creativity and networking: educators and administrators collaborating, sharing, debating and expanding the present boundaries of traditional education. In each case, I can see both an elevation of quality and a levelling of resources. More resources are suddenly becoming accessible to more people regardless of boarders.  Although the demands of managing the various social software tools appear, to me, daunting, I believe that students and educators will ultimately benefit from the yet to be dreamed possibilities of this new frontier.

Decisional

Feel the fear and do it anyway.  Despite my fear of becoming totally overwhelmed trying to create, grow and manage an educational social media platform, I have decided to go ahead with the project.  To reduce my fear, I have hired a social media specialist to help me establish the program.  Here is what we have decided to do so far:

  • Create and integrate a health, fitness and nutrition blog into my school’s website by November 15, 2012.
  • Create an INFOFIT Student Facebook Resource where our students can receive on-line help and communicate with other INFOFIT students – start date January 2013.
  • Establish a Twitter account to be used to inform students of school programs, events and news – start date November 12, 2012.

The plan is for me and my social media specialist to work as a team for the next 6-months establishing the school’s social media platform then review and revise accordingly.

References

LeNoue, M., Hall, T., & Eighmy M.A. (2011). Adult education and the social media revolution. Adult Learning, (22) 2, 4-12.

Reynard, R. (2007). Hybrid learning: Challenges for teachers. The Journal. Retrieved December 9, 2010, from http://thejournal.com

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