Media Sharing and Learning


February 11, 2015

​Social media has shown us that people are self-motivated to share information with huge audiences when they are presented with casual, informal spaces to share their ideas and opinions. Media, such as podcasts, videos, and photo collections, bring that sense of casualness and informality into the classroom. Better than formal, text-based books and lectures, different media convey feelings and vulnerabilities that make a lecture feel more like a conversation. Conversations invite participation, and participation invites active learning.

  After reading his course blog, I was curious to hear how Dr. Scott McDonald integrated social media into his Disruptive Technologies course and how receptive his students were to the idea of participating “openly” online.

  Understandably, social media added a layer of complexity to his Disruptive Technologies course. In the interview, Dr. McDonald explained how he delivered the lecture while a colleague co-taught by monitoring the background chatter on Twitter. Interestingly, the instructors were surprised when Twitter not only engaged students in background questions and answers but also kept them in touch after class, so they really got to know each other. I also liked Dr. McDonald’s observation that posting opinions “openly” online for anybody to see only seemed to become clear to students when “anybody” started answering back.

  Based on Dr. McDonald’s observations, I can see myself continuing to consult feeds like #edchat and #edtech on Twitter to crowd-source answers to my own questions. Also, I look forward to when “anybody” might change the way I interact online, so I would like to continue blogging on my own. Have you ever experienced what it’s like to hear back from anybody on a blog or another Web 2.0 tool?

  Do you agree that casualness encourages conversation? It seems like that feeling has been a long time coming for online environments, but now that it is being facilitated by social media and Web 2.0 tools, more conversations like these may start to change our definitions of active learning.

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