During my Master's course study at Drury University from 2001-2003, I wrote an essay about the influences of social media on image and self-esteem. At the time, I focused on music, movies and plays; however, there has been a huge shift in what is considered "social media". In 2010, we are faced with what was once unimaginable forms of communication and influence. Never did I think there would be internet network where I could find my friends from high school and catch up. Facebook has become a very large influence in the lives of the average high school student. I have found it very easy to reach them via facebook for important information about school activities and meetings. They check their facebook more than they check their phone messages or mailboxes. With the addition of Twitter, Skype and Blogs, students are communicating at a much different, much faster rate. Teacher's of the "old school" way of thinking and teaching are trying to FIGHT this phenomenon, but I am choosing to EMBRACE it. You cannot fight the changes of communication. I was taught, "an effective teacher must have 'withitness"--the nack of keeping their students engaged, not through what they teach but how they teach. With the evolution of communication, teachers must recognize, immerse and apply the "new school" way.

I am interested in how, even though they may be new or unknown practices, teachers are starting to incorporate these new mediums to engage their students in learning. Last semester I started a blog. I used it in one of my advanced acting class as an alternate way for students to apply material and theories learned in class. I think it worked out well, but I am still trying to figure out a way to engage ALL of my students in some type of social media response to materials.

I have a Facebook, I have a Twitter, I have a Skype account, I have a Blog... now I just have to figure out how to use them to advance my search!

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Tags: socialmedia101

Comment by Drew McAllister on March 1, 2010 at 7:14pm
It sounds like you've got a solid set of social media tools, Amie. It's that second piece, the "how", that takes experimentation and a willingness to flex to the needs of your students and curriculum.

Concerning Facebook and student patterns, I think it's interesting to me that students sometimes don't seem to look outside FB. In an odd way, it seems that they look at FB the way we see email -- the default communication channel -- and they're as reticent to leave that channel as we are to leave ours. I think it shows something of how we operate as human beings: we find our tool and we stick to it. Breaking out of that is as difficult for us as it is for kids, giving rise to fun phrases like "Twitter is for old people", mostly because it's just not the channel kids use. I love that one. :)
Comment by Roxanne Warner on March 4, 2010 at 10:39pm
I completely agree with you, Amie, that I never would have imagined the extent that technology has come to this day and age. It is amazing what you can do and who you can connect with over all of these various networks. Drew, I am an example of "we find our tool and stick to it." I joined facebook when it came out when I was in college and still to this day, I only use facebook and email. That's one reason I am interested in this class - to learn more about Twitter, blogging, and the other social networks that I am just learning about for the first time!

Also, I teach 3rd grade. I know I can't use these networks in the same way middle and high school can. I am wondering if there is a more simple, basic, way I can incorporate something into my classroom, though. I guess I will have to explore and find out!
Comment by Janice Burroughs on March 19, 2010 at 9:43pm
Amie, I agree with you. I continue to be amazed by how quickly technology is evolving and how this continuous evolution changes the way we communicate, manage our classrooms and our lives, and connect with one another. I would have loved to be able to use some of these tools myself as a young student. As it is I consider myself fortunate to be able to have so much information at my fingertips as a teacher and a graduate student. I could not do my job or complete my studies without some of these tools. However, while this opportunity is a godsend, it is not without problems and other issues. I sometimes feel that techology will continue to evolve at a rapid rate. About the time I feel comfortable with one tool, another pops up to replace it. Will I ever feel "caught up" with the technological age in which I exist?


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