Course Reflections – The role of Social Media in Education
Social media is transforming instruction in today’s classrooms. Access to resources, information sharing, group reflection and individual reflections are easier than ever because of the new tools available to instructors and students. On any given topic net-worked students use technology to; research scholarly articles, share opinions on blogs, converse critically, and utilize the expertise of peers and instructors alike. This connectivism is characterized by four criteria; openness, autonomy, diversity and interactiveness. In the past, educational and organizational models were more hierarchial, dictatorial, uniform and disconnected.
The dramatic shift in sourcing and analyzing information can seem overwhelmingly complex at times. Information is abundant. It’s important to be critical of the sources of information as many online sources are opinion based. Google scholar offers a way to access peer reviewed information as the basis for formulating informed opinion on a topic. Students and instructors must take care not to violate copyright law when accessing, using, and sharing information sourced on line.
Networked organization and learning is considered to be reliable because better decisions result from collaborative effort. Different perspectives offer greater knowledge than the sum of the individual parts. The implications of networked learning are profound. It has been argued that networked learning compared to conventional instructional models are more open and able to influence thought outwardly and inwardly, it is more autonomous; collectively individual goals and values become the principles and priorities rather than a top down vision, offer more strength through diverse thought, and produce greater knowledge as a whole. The networked view turns conventional organizational structures on their head because it draws on the strengths and interests of its members who are working toward mutually beneficial information exchange. Networked learning will change education and organizations.
Although the vast array of communication methods and overwhelming amount of information can seem daunting, I plan on continuing to develop my comfort level and knowledge of social media. I see enormous potential for technological networking to solve many great challenges we face today. Judicious use of information, properly attributed to original creators combined with reflective, critical thought offers a way to put our collective heads together and share and develop the best and brightest ideas through social media.