Social Media to supercharge your professional development

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Social media is a fantastic way to super charge professional development. I’ve been on a 5 month extended work (and professional development) break. Two weeks before starting my first assignment I decided to super charge my learning through Social Media.

Switching on and tuning in

By spending at least 30 minutes a day on social media both consuming information and interacting with others on social media, I was able to dust off the cobwebs and switch my mind back into work mode. Being a new mum I have little time to read professional development books. I also work remotely from home and therefore don’t often see colleagues in the same learning and development space. Social media is the perfect solution for me as I can get overviews from thought leaders fast through their blogs and posts and I can also bounce ideas of others without the logistics of meeting in person. It helps me stay connected and relevant.

Keeping up to date

Social Media is essential for keeping up to date with the latest news, developments and trends in learning and development. For example, this week just happened to be international Working Out Loud week #WOLweek and there were heaps of gems being shared about this. This week Articulate also released their new version of Storyline 360 and very soon after the announcement tweets and blogs were out on social media sharing what the new tools can do.

Professional development plans

This year I plan to be more active on Social Media as I’ve found it so valuable to get back up to speed. It would be useful to refresh after Christmas break too. As part of my professional development I plan to spend time each day on social media (15-30 minutes) with both consuming information and also to interact and comment on at least one post/conversation per day. I also plan to get more active with blogging again with at least one post per month.

What are your plans with social media? Do you consider it necessary for your professional development? If you’re reading this post I’d love to hear from you and your thoughts.

A few gems

And here are some social media gems I found this week:

 

How to use Twitter as a learning tool

Ostersund, Sweden - April 13, 2014: Twitter website under a magn

Using Twitter as a learning tool – part 2

First it’s important to mention Twitter is easy to incorporate as a learning tool. In fact the hardest part was going through and getting faculty approval. Actually incorporating it into the course design as one of the learning tools was easy, low effort, no cost, and intuitive (Using Twitter as a learning tool – part 1).

Here are three steps to complete before designing Twitter activities in a course:

1. Get familiar with Twitter yourself

If you aren’t a regular user of Twitter do some background research to understand how the tool works. Here I’ve tweeted a website that I found particularly useful:

2. Inform students you’re using Twitter

Tell students that Twitter will be used to complete some of the learning activities. You do not need to teach students how to use Twitter just source some beginning starter videos and website links so they can get themselves familiar with it. There are lots of videos about Twitter on Youtube, here’s an example of one:

 

3. Explain the Twitter conditions specific to the course

There are two important conditions students needed to know to participate in Twitter activities successfully.

  1. The first was how to identify the course teacher’s tweets and receive current news and examples from the teacher. To meet this first condition we opened a Twitter account for faculty to use specifically for this course. We chose a relevant username/twitter handle so the teacher could be easily identified. For example, “@universitycoursename” – not a teacher’s personal name. By not having the teacher’s name it also meant that other faculty members could tweet under the same twitter handle in the future if desired. The students were advised to follow the teacher’s twitter handle to receive course updates and current examples related to course content.
  2. The second condition was how the students could allow the teacher and other students to find their tweets. For this condition we asked students to include a course and cohort specific hashtag in each of their tweets, for example, “#unicourse2014”. This meant that their tweets could be searched by either course lecturers or their peers. In each Twitter activity students were reminded to use the course specific hashtag.

Once you have completed these three steps then it’s time to start looking at how Twitter activities can be regularly incorporated within the course content. My next post in this series will describe how I incorporated Twitter into the course activities and other possibilities for using Twitter in activities. You can read my previous Twitter post here or follow me on Madelearningdesigns.com to get notified when new posts are available (approximately 2/3 times per month).

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Secondhand shopping for elearning

Using Twitter as a learning tool

Brussels - March 03: Twitter Hit By Hackers.

Twitter is a powerful social media tool used for micro-blogging and social networking. Google the stats of Twitter use and you will see numbers in the millions and billions. Twitter is hugely successful as it enables users to disseminate information quickly and easily through Tweets. It also makes searching for content easy through user generated #hashtags.

Twitter is easy to access, simple to use and it is a powerful tool to include in your elearning toolkit. In fact it may come as no surprise that Twitter has been voted the top learning tool for 5 years running by Jane Hart’s Top 100 Tools for learning.

So why might you want to use Twitter as a learning tool?

Let me share 5 reasons why I chose to implement Twitter in a distance university course I was recently involved in:

1. Relevance to the content

The course I was tasked with designing included the impacts of social media as one of it’s key topic areas. Therefore it made sense to actually utilise Social Media within the instructional design of the course – walking the talk.

2. Bring current events into the content 

The subject matter of this particular course was rapidly developing where reference to current events and new technology developments were important. Twitter research activities provided an avenue in which I could pull very current events and technology developments into the course content without having to constantly rewrite the content each year or two.

Twitter is great for linking to current events or examples within a subject.

3. Access and mobility

Twitter phone

Twitter is extremely mobile meaning that students can utilise Twitter on their smartphones and complete activities while on the go. This meant the Twitter learning activities could go to where the students are – mobile learning – rather than forcing them to access the learning through a static computer.

4. Bite sized efforts

All Twitter activities were designed to be completed rapidly within 5 – 10 minutes max. This meant that these activities could be completed in small bite sized efforts and provided an interesting alternative to posting in a forum or other activities. It also invited students to engage with content in a different manner.

5. Curation of content

By using a unique #hashtag for each student cohort, students could potentially search tweets by other previous student cohorts and share information, resources and references. This increased the possibility of a community of learning being built over time that goes beyond the course timeframes and boundaries.

Students could also use Twitter to ‘favourite’ and curate their own content to use within their assignments and assessments.

The lecturer could also curate Tweets and use Tweets over the course to share student generated content – social learning.

In summary, here I’ve given 5 reasons why I used Twitter in a particular university course. Twitter can also be used in other environments for different types of learning experiences. There are many reasons why you might consider using Twitter as part of your learning toolkit, some may or may not be the same as mine.

Have you used Twitter as a learning tool? Please share your reasons for using Twitter in the comments below, or you can Tweet them to me @LoMinister. If you are interested in different elearning methods or want to read more about how I’ve used Twitter in activities you can also follow me on my blog – www.madelearningdesigns.com.

Below are some other posts you might find interesting

Secondhand shopping for elearning

Why story telling should be part of your elearning toolkit