Today I gave a brownbag talk about using social media in the classroom. I focused not on why people might use these tools for teaching, but on the how, since I think having a good understanding of the latter can help answer the former. And I have no ambitions of being a social media evangelist–there are plenty of situations in which other tools are not only available, but do the job better.
Of course, in the case of teaching in journalism, public relations, mass communication, and related fields, sometimes part of the purpose is to make students aware of what tools are out there, and give them some practice using these tools in appropriate ways. In this case, instructors sometimes find themselves working outside their comfort zone, since they may not be familiar or entirely comfortable with (or convinced of the utility of) certain forms of social media. Even though I’ve spent lots of time online in the past *cough* years (okay, fine, let’s just say more than a decade), I still don’t know everything that’s out there, and I have my personal preferences.
My presentations don’t lend themselves well to Slideshare, since I use very little text and prefer to fill in most of the content orally. So it’s difficult for me to share everything I discussed. However, I’m happy to post the contents of the handout I gave, which has some sites and resources about social media in general, a few specific to journalism or public relations, and a couple specific to educators. Hopefully there’s something useful in here, anyway. I’ve also tossed in a few sites I mentioned or showed in the presentation but didn’t include in the handout.
Note: I do talk a little about directionality as one of the criteria for assessing a social media tool, and deciding whether and how to use it. The terms I use are familiar to most public relations scholars, but might seem strange to others. In particular, people often struggle with the difference between two-way symmetrical and two-way asymmetrical modes of communication. In brief, asymmetrical communication takes place when people can give feedback, for example in the form of comments on a photo or blog post, but it’s difficult to engage in real back-and-forth dialogue. Blogs that offer threaded comments make symmetrical communication more likely, although what really takes place depends entirely on the people involved. I think one-way and multi-way communication are pretty self-explanatory.
So, here’s the list of resources: