Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Activity 7 - Social media in learning and teaching and professional development.

Social media use in learning and teaching and in professional development.

The Google definition for Social Media is websites and applications that enable user to create and share content or to participate in social networking.

An online platform brings together people in some kind of organised way, that may involve or combine:

  • Sharing content (social media) or,
  • Interaction between people (social networking).
(FacDev, 2012)

How do/would you use social media to enhance your professional development?
I use social media all the time.  There is a huge amount of current, easily accessible information on almost any topic.  Using tools that support collaboration, teachers can work together to solve problems and learn from each other.  The direct access to authoritative knowledge enhances my programme.  I am learning all the time from teachers with different experiences.  

What are the key features of social media that you have identified as benefits for teaching and learning?
The key features of social media that is beneficial to my teaching and learning is being able to connect with other teachers and students.  This opens up a whole new world of learning and making connections with other teachers and students.  As I stated in Task 6, though before this can happen in my class, safeguards need to be established as routine.

What are the potential challenges that teachers need to be aware of when integrating social networking platforms into teaching activities?
I think that the vast amount of potential challenges is what turns many teachers away from using social media in class.  One of the most discussed challenged is the lack of control over what students can post online.  This can lead to cyber bullying.  Schools need to develop a cyber safety policy around bullying.  Students need to be shown what to do if there is any kind of negativity aimed at them through social media.  
To overcome this challenge teachers and students alike need to be shown and taught about the grey lines of cyber bullying and that it is NOT ok for this to happen.

What social media platform do you feel best supports engagement with your professional development?  Why?
I find the social media sites that are based in New Zealand most relevant.  I often use educational groups on Facebook (NZ Teachers ( Primary))  as my first port of call.  This group has over 15,000 teachers based here in New Zealand.  The feedback that I get in response to an issue I have, is New Zealand curriculum based.  Not only that but the feedback is of similar social and cultural context that I experience.

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