Module 1 Reflection

9 important technologies, https://www.flickr.com/photos/lemasney/

What are you initial reactions about joining these social networks for use in this course?

I have had plenty of experience with both Facebook and Twitter in my personal and professional life. Consequently, joining Facebook (again) and linking up my personal Twitter account was easy and very comfortable. However, I have very little past experience with Diigo. I created a personal account a few years ago but never really got into using the tool routinely. Even though I don’t know a lot about Diigo, I am certainly willing to learn. Perhaps it will even become a routine tool in my online toolbox after this course! Generally speaking, I found it exciting that the first order of business in an online course was to establish social networking accounts for the goal of communication and course work. I have often thought about having my online students use social media for our courses but have not felt comfortable enough to make it a requirement quite yet.

What is your experience in using social media for your own professional development?

My job for the past 5 years has been to create professional development for teachers either in social studies or instructional technology. My first place to look for resources is always social media. I use it to find links to great resources, blogs, and ideas that I can share or adapt for my teachers.

What is your experience in using social media as an instructional strategy in your learning environment?

As mentioned previously, I have very little experience using social media in an instructional environment. I will often leave it open as an option for students but it is not required. My geographic area and student demographics make me hesitate to require social media use in the classroom. Many of my students are older than traditional students, as is common in online courses. They often have families and work responsibilities which restrict the amount of time they have to dedicate to coursework. Every semester I have several students who have difficulties with basic things such as using PowerPoint or submitting assignments. I still have yet to figure out a way to reconcile social media assignments with all of these issues. However, this has not prevented me from experimenting with assignments.

In the spring semester, I gave my Texas History students the option to create a time travelling character and journal their progress through all of the different eras of history. We had so much fun! Several students created Facebook pages for their character and posted their journal entry weekly on these pages. They turned out so well which gives me additional hope for using social media for assignments in future courses.

What are your expectations for this course?

I have two central hopes in terms of outcomes for this course. First, I would love to have a better idea of ways that social media can be implemented as a learning tool in my own online classes. Secondly, I want to know more on the theories which underlie the success of social media as tools that promote learning and communication. I think that if I have a better grasp of these theories, it might be a bit easier to reconcile some of the problems I cannot seem to resolve in my mind with respect to struggling students and course outcomes.

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