What is Social Media?


Today’s web users are prolific creators of content, and they upload photographs, audio, and video to the cloud by the billions. Producing, commenting, and classifying these media have become just as important as the more passive tasks of searching, reading, watching, and listening. Sites such as Flickr, Picassa, YouTube, Google Video, Vimeo, and others make it easy to find images, videos, and audio clips, but the real value of these sites lies in the way that users can share, tag, comment upon, and add to the content that is there. Over the past few years, the ways we produce, use, and think about our media have undergone a profound transformation. Billions of videos, podcasts, and other forms of social media are just a click away for any Internet-connected user. As the numbers and quality of user-produced clips have increased, our notions of what constitutes useful or engaging media have been redefined. Tertiary institutions need to understand and develop strategic plans for leveraging social media and providing internally generated resources — images, audio, and multimedia — to make the process a rich, engaging, two-way dialog between audience and institution.

INSTRUCTIONS: Enter your responses to the questions below. This is most easily done by moving your cursor to the end of the last item and pressing RETURN to create a new bullet point. Please include URLs whenever you can (full URLs will automatically be turned into hyperlinks; please type them out rather than using the linking tools in the toolbar).

Please "sign" your contributions by marking with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples- this produces a signature when the page is updated, like this: - Larry Larry Feb 7, 2012

(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • As social media continue to gain popularity among youngsters, the need of promoting new media literacies and cyberwellness specifically for prosumers is becoming more crucial than ever. Teachers need to pick up the right instructional epistemology and know-how of incorporating social media into formal lessons, while at the same time retaining the informal learning flavor of social media in order to bridge the young students' out-of-lesson enthusiasm in social media with their ongoing, autonomous learning endeavors. - Lung-Hsiang.Wong Lung-Hsiang.Wong Aug 18, 2012
  • It seems to me that social media are the sort-of-perfect instrument to build a Personal Learning Network (PLN) on the one hand and to participate in the social and collective building of knowledge on the other. In building one's PLN, social media connect artifacts, human beings and places (geolocation) in ways that have been appropriated by students --and thus are extremely valuable pedagogically. When studying a subject, for instance, it is easy to establish a connection with researchers, subject experts etc. to enhance one's learning. I find it exciting to know that I can befriend somebody through Twitter when I am studying her theories and work!! Also, social media allow for a social construction of knowledge in all disciplines and have been convincing students and faculty alike to participate in the process. With social media students can be "heard" better by faculty: it is easier to understand their possible mistakes or misconceptions.- antonio.vantaggiato antonio.vantaggiato Aug 18, 2012 Agree - Zeinab.El.Maadawi Zeinab.El.Maadawi Aug 20, 2012
  • Lung-Hsiang correctly identifies the core issue to use of social media in education: research into appropriate pedagogical use and social media time lining of lessons is critical to reaching students in this environments. Social media environments are just that - social. They are not formal learning environments and early research shows that students (and especially women) feel quite violated when instructors attempt to inject academic content into their social media space. - Russ.Meier Russ.Meier Aug 19, 2012

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • Formal research into acceptance of students on the injection of academic content into social media spaces. - Russ.Meier Russ.Meier Aug 19, 2012
  • Detailed comparisons of male versus female student reaction to instructor intrusion into social media. - Russ.Meier Russ.Meier Aug 19, 2012 Agree & also the comparison would include the gender perceptive from instructional point of view - Zeinab.El.Maadawi Zeinab.El.Maadawi Aug 20, 2012
  • Appropriate research into lesson planning and social media time lining for academic presentation. - Russ.Meier Russ.Meier Aug 19, 2012

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on STEM+ education?

  • Students spend significant time on social media. In fact, some studies show U.S. students spending between two to four hours per day on social media sites. In past generations, these hours might have been used reading and studying. (Of course, we can't say "for sure" as maybe they played basketball or went to the movies in those hours in the past). But, with that level of time spent immersed in social media, the technology certainly provides a medium to interact with students in educational ways. - Russ.Meier Russ.Meier Aug 19, 2012
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(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

  • A number of research projects into the use of Twitter and Facebook have been reported in the engineering education literature. Similarly, one other area with high interest in the use of these technologies is, interestingly, medicine and pharmacy training. - Russ.Meier Russ.Meier Aug 19, 2012
  • I have been investigating the use of Twitter streams to reinforce lecture content with just-in-time tweets of key topics, thought exercises, and brainstorms. My focus has been on time lining the presentation of the material over the course of a four to eight week learning module. - Russ.Meier Russ.Meier Aug 19, 2012

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