If you have not read my previous blog titled “The Power of Social Media”, please consider reading it when you have some time to spare. My intention to continue blogging on the use of Social Media and Learning is to draw your attention to the potential of these technologies to transform students’ learning and faculty teaching. Anytime students’ course evaluations start appearing in the classrooms, we are reminded of the end of another semester, time for reflection and possibly course re-design opportunities based on the students’ comments. As you re-design your courses consider integrating one or more social media tools into your courses.

Jane Hart, the founder of the Center for Learning & Performance Technologies has compiled current and emerging technologies that could be useful to teaching and learning. Her list of the Top 100 Tools for Learning 2011 which includes Twitter, YouTube, Google Docs, Skype, Facebook, etc. are mostly FREE of charge.  She also provides the rankings for the past four years and how popular these tools are for learning. Please read also the comments from those who selected these tools for ideas on how you may also want to use these tools.

We are constantly being reminded that the world is changing rapidly with technology advancement. Our ways of communicating, learning, living and working have transformed within the last decades. The adage; “if it ain’t broke, why fix it?” Why do I have to change my teaching and learning strategies that have proved successful for years? The National Education Technology Plan 2010 calls for the integration of technology into learning to engage, enable, motivate, inspire and personalize learning experiences for all students.  How we need to learn should include technologies that are used in the workplace. These include the use of tools such as wikis, blogs, twitter, facebook etc. In the workplace professionals use digital content for research, gather data and analyze them with visualization and graphical tools and use 3D modeling tools for designing.  Jane Hart’s Directory of Learning Tools 2011 includes over 2,000 tools for learning and working in education and the workplace.

The majority of social media tools support the co-creation of content, connections, communication and collaboration of individuals, sharing of resources, ideas and experiences.  For example social bookmarking tools are for collecting and storing bookmarks online, tagging them with keywords so that they become shareable and searchable.  Social networking involves communities of people with a common interest and they interact through such tools as chat rooms, messaging, emails, and blogs.

Technology can be used to engage student’s interest and attention by connecting them to web-learning resources of interest. Technology can inspire imagination, intellectual curiosity and opportunities for students to express themselves by engaging in online communities and sharing content they have created with others.

As you re-design your courses over the summer, consider integrating at least one social media tool into your course. I hope you will find some time to try some of these social media tools and please share your experiences. Also if you have used any technology that would be useful to other faculty members we would be glad to learn from you.

Join the conversation.

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