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Social Media Tools


Using Social Media to Better Engage Students

Social Media tools can enhance both the classroom and the online experience. There are literally hundreds of tools available but we focus on just a few of the most popular here.  We encourage you to experiment and to 'Think Differently - Teach Differently!'

Facebook

What is Facebook?

Many teachers have been hesitant to use Facebook in the learning environment, given their inherent risk of exposing students to inappropriate content. Unquestionably there are inherent risks in using any internet based application, however risk must be weighed against the benefits to using a widely accepted, engaging and intuitive platform such a Facebook. Used in an appropriate manner, Facebook can prove to be an exceptionally useful and engaging resource.

Of all the social media sites, Facebook's place is at the top - rivalled only by Google. There are 900 million active users on Facebook (as of May 2012) - many of whom are our students. Those numbers translate into a recognition that most people are familiar with the platform and use it on a regular basis. Therefore, information and discussion delivered through it has a higher chance of being seen.

Click on the + / - in the title bar below to open / close

What is Facebook Best Used for?

You are probably most familiar with the personal side of Facebook. These Facebook pages, or profiles as they are known, are meant to represent a single individual. Organizations (including courses) of any type do not create profiles, rather they create Facebook Pages. These Pages are distinct presences, separate from user profiles, and are designed to communicate, distribute information/content, and engage users. Facebook Pages are designed to be media rich and content rich resulting in a strong relationship with the user (student).

Getting Started

The process to set up a course page is quite simple. Once you have the page setup you need to invite your students to join it. Once they join, every update and addition that you make to the course page, be it text, pictures or links, will appear on their personal Facebook feed.

View a Step-by-Step guide to setting up a course Facebook page.


YouTube

What is YouTube?

YouTube is a website that allows you to do two things:

  1. Find appropriate video content and share it with your class, and
  2. upload video content for distribution over the internet.

Static, text and paper-based marketing has now evolved into the world of video. You have the capability through your own YouTube channel to present the content you create. Recent additions to YouTube has made it even more appealing. High definition video, text from speech processing of your video, and YouTube Live which allows real time broadcasting of live classes or events provide lots of exciting possibilities.

Click on the + / - in the title bar below to open / close

What is YouTube Best Used for?

Videos on just about any topic can be found on YouTube. Incorporating videos in your classroom or your online course is a great way to make the material more engaging for your students.  Use it to show demonstrations of how things work or as a tool to complete an assignment. You can also use it to teach video production and editing skills through the completion of projects. Completed projects can then be uploaded to your course YouTube channel.  

Getting Started

When you search YouTube, you see the number of videos available on any given topic, and you also very quickly see the many ways that YouTube can be of benefit to your course. Whether you’re an instructor or a student, YouTube can prove useful.
Incorporating material is easy to do but permission to use must be sought out and proper credit must be attributed.

How to Set up an Account and Start Using YouTube


youtube


Blogger

What is Blogger?

A blog is a web based diary that allows a "blogger" to publish text, links, pictures, and video to the web in a discrete entry called a Blog Post. Once published, readers can provide feedback to the blog post. Blog entries are recorded and displayed in reverse chronological order and can be edited by the author. Blogger (owned by Google) is a popular blogging site that is no more difficult to use than a conventional word processing software.

Blogging software such as Blogger is free. The main investment, and this should not be overlooked, is the time taken to create and read the content. Blogs humanise your course. It allows the opinions and personalities of both instructors and students to shine through.

What is a Blog Best Used for?

Blogs are great tools for instructors who want to add additional context to their courses. They also work particularly well as a reflective learning tool for your students. Writing a blog post allows them to reflect on what they have learned and relate it to something familiar.

Blogs work particularly well for students because they can be worked on any time, in any place with an Internet-enabled computer. Hence, they can be used by instructor to create an online classroom environment that extends beyond the boundaries of the course.

In addition to providing instructors with an excellent tool for communicating with students, there are specific educational benefits of blogs. Blogs are:

    A blog is a web based diary that allows a "blogger" to publish text, links, pictures, and video to the web in a discrete entry called a Blog Post. Once published, readers can provide feedback to the blog post. Blog entries are recorded and displayed in reverse chronological order and can be edited by the author. Blogger (owned by Google) is a popular blogging site that is no more difficult to use than a conventional word processing software.

    Blogging software such as Blogger is free. The main investment, and this should not be overlooked, is the time taken to create and read the content. Blogs humanise your course. It allows the opinions and personalities of both instructors and students to shine through.

  • Highly motivating to students, especially those who otherwise might not become participants in classrooms.
  • Excellent opportunities for students to read and write.
  • Effective forums for collaboration and discussion.
  • Powerful tools to enable scaffolded learning or mentoring to occur.

Getting Started

Blogger is just one of the many free blogging tools available. For simplicity, we will focus on this one, however, you do have many options and the operation of each blogger platform is similar.

Go to www.blogger.com
Provide the necessary information requested. (username, password)
Create a relevant title for your blog.
Accept terms and select a template.
Publish!

The following video from YouTube entitled How to Create a Blog with Blogger gives an excellent overview of how to get started.


 


You twitter logo

What is Twitter?


Twitter is a micro-blogging program that allows the user the opportunity to communicate real time information via short (140 characters or less) headline-type posts. Twitter is very similar to email in that messages, called Tweets, come to you - via your Twitter feed. Users can choose to "follow" other Twitter users, and the Tweets of these other users collectively contribute to one's personal Twitter feed.

Although Tweet messages are short and succinct, they can contain links to other internet sites, relevant articles or pictures.

Tweet messages often contain hashtags (#hashtag). These tags allow a user to "Tag" their message so that other users can search on that tag. A user tweeting about a first year marketing course (Marketing I) may use the hashtag #MR1100 in his/her message. This hash tag will allow other users, who may not be followers of the tweeter to easily search for all tweets on that particular topic.

What is Twitter Best Used for?

Not only can students follow each other and their instructor, they can also follow people and organizations in the field of their study. Hash tags also enable searching of given topics. Twitter is a rising star in the Social Media world, especially among users of mobile devices such as smart phones. It's an easy-to-use messaging tool designed for quick communication with an individual or with a group.

Getting Started

View a Step-by-Step guide to Join Twitter.

Tweeting

When a person posts an update to their Twitter account, that update is then known as a "tweet" and the user is said to have "tweeted". Tweet can be used as a noun, referring to the actual written update, or a verb, referring to the action of publishing an update.

Following

In Twitter, if you follow someone or something, it means that you will automatically receive that person's/organization's Twitter updates. Each time that person posts an update on Twitter, it instantly appears on your Twitter home page. Updates for all the people you sign up to follow appear in reverse chronological order with the most recent update on top of the page. Likewise, people can sign up to follow you.
You can easily find people on Twitter by typing in their username or their real name and searching for them in the search box. Once you have located them in the list, simply click on the Follow button.

@reply (Public

@reply precedes public messages sent from one person to another. Public tweets can be seen by anyone. These messages appear on Twitter updates as @username (eg: @johnsmith).

Direct Messages (Private)

A direct message is a private message from one Twitter user to another. You can only view your direct messages in your direct message Inbox after you log into your Twitter account. You can only send a direct message to Twitter users that you are already following.

Using Hastags (#)

A hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages. To add a hashtag simply place a # before the tagword (no spaces).
Clicking on a hashtagged word in any message shows you all other Tweets in that category. Hashtags can occur anywhere in the Tweet - at the beginning, middle, or end. Hashtagged words that become very popular are often Trending Topics.

Adding Links
To add a link to you tweet simply copy the web address to the link and paste it in your tweet.


The following video from Howcast entitled How to Use Twitter provides an excellent overview of how to get started.


 


Wikispaces

What is a Wiki?

A wiki is a collection of web pages and resources easily created and hosted via a web browser. Using a wiki, users can share work and ideas, pictures and links, videos and media — and just about anything else!

The following video illustrates the concept and benefits of wikis: Wikis in Plain English

What is Wikispaces?

Wikispaces is an easy to use, free, educationally focused wiki that allows the user to develop a web space for students and their instructors. Wikispaces gives you a visual editor and development tools to make sharing content as easy for students as it is for their instructors.

What is Wikispaces Best Used for?

Wikis can be used to manage resources, improve outcomes and to engage students.

For a further explanation of the range of things Wikispaces Classroom can be used for, visit Social Writing for Education

Getting Started

The following video entitled Collaborative Technology: Wikis developed by Mark Bailey, David Buhler, and Lathan Lawson explains how wikis can help increase performance in business.

 


googledocs

What is Google Docs?

Google Docs is a free, web-based office suite (Word Processing, Spreadsheet and Presentation Software) and data storage service. Because it’s web based, it allows users to create, collaborate and edit documents online, in real-time, in collaboration with other users.

In the spring of 2012, Google updated the Google Docs platform and added more features. The revised platform is now known as Google Drive.

Read an Overview of Google Drive

What is Google Docs/Drive Best Used for?

In the educational environment, Google Docs facilitates group projects. No matter where students are they can contribute to a paper and share and save their contributions with each other online (known as Cloud Computing). Google Drive provides 5GB of free storage.

Getting Started

Google software closely resembles Word, (Google Docs), Excel (Google Sheets) and PowerPoint (Google Slides) so students and instructors alike can access and use the application with relative ease. Google is also fully compatible with Microsoft Office file formats.

Access Google Drive


SurveyMonkey

What is Survey Monkey?

Survey Monkey is an online survey tool that offers an easy-to-use interface for making, distributing and interpreting surveys - for free (with some conditions).

What is Survey Monkey Best Used for?

Survey Monkey lets you or your students easily create surveys that can be distributed electronically through email or social media. The site then takes the data and performs basic statistical analysis on it.
The free account lets you create surveys containing up to ten questions. The question formats and layouts are customizable and there many templates from which to choose.  After the user develops and enters the survey questions, Survey Monkey will create a web link pointing to it. Users can log back into Survey Monkey to see the answers that people gave presented in a graphical format.

Getting Started

Survey Monkey is a valuable tool for students particularly those engaged in market research where there may be a need to collect and interpret statistical primary and secondary data. Online surveys give students a real-world connection to these abstract concepts. Using Survey Monkey students can create their own online surveys. Survey results can also be easily incorporated into word processor and spreadsheets documents

Using Survey Monkey