“ In New Zealand and internationally there is widespread interest in the use of technologies to enhance learning in schools and the debate has extended to include the way educators also use technologies to support their own professional learning. (Melhuish 2013)”
Some key features of social media that are beneficial for teaching and learning:
This week I attended the Christchurch Primary Principal’s Association conference. It was on the theme of Design Thinking. I found it thought provoking; at times challenging and other times, affirming. Most of the keynote speakers and workshop facilitators spoke about the use of technology in schools. One such keynote speaker that had me thinking was Chris Betcher. (Director of Professional development for EDTech team in Sydney). He asked us to consider and discuss how we use social media and to what extent it in“ In New Zealand and internationally there is widespread interest in the use of technologies to enhance learning in schools and the debate has extended to include the way educators also use technologies to support their own professional learning. (Melhuish 2013)”
fluences our professional development He also had us discussing the use of social media in the class. Most of the people in the room indicated that they use twitter, facebook, and blogs as a means of gaining information on current educational thinking. Most people present also use social media personally to stay in touch with people (twitter and facebook) that they have made connections with in a face to face capacity. (Such as meeting at conferences, courses etc). Most people in the room now use social media in some way in their everyday lives. Almost everyone uses YouTube as as a professional development resource, (especially Ted Talks) and many teachers now use YouTube as an instructional video in the class.
An interesting point made separately by both Chris Betcher and Derek Wenmoth (CORE) in their presentations is that technology has been around a long time, however, it is our use of it that has had to undergo a transformation. It is our global connectedness that has enabled us to use technology in a more transformational way. This resonated with me. If technology is being used as an alternative to pen and paper and books, then it is not being used to enable and enhance learning. It is merely swapping out a text - book for an IPAD. No wonder that in schools where this is the case, studies are showing that technology is having little or no impact on student achievement. The connection between technology and pedagogy needs to be made and it needs to be reflected in our school vision. We need to be using technology for things that we couldn’t do any other way. Such as connecting with people and working collaboratively, globally. If we want our students to be developing the fundamental skills of collaboration, connectedness, creativity, critical thinking and communication then we need to be thinking about the use of technology and asking; “what is the learning? how does it connect with developing fundamental skills?.” (Derek Wenmoth, CPPA conference 2016). Technology needs to be the vehicle for causing learning, not the reason for the learning. As Chris Betcher said in his keynote, “ Using the technology can be easy, it’s the rest that requires wisdom … bringing students to excellence has little to do with the technology”. The example he gave was how easy it is to learn how to create an imovie. That takes five minutes. The skill is in the crafting of the script, the acting, the direction, the effects, the collaboration and cohesiveness of the participants. That is not about the technology. The technology removes the friction. It makes the end product easier to access and achieve. (Paraphrased from keynote presentation Chris Betcher CPPA conference 2016)
Using Social media to enhance my professional development:
In the past 18 months, I have increasingly used Twitter as a platform for my own professional development. I engaged in a facilitated Twitter challenge at the beginning of last year and this helped me to gain confidence with using twitter as a way to engage with other educators globally. I am now able to research educational topics on a grand and accessible scale. Participating in twitter chats makes me feel connected to educators around the world. Through Twitter I am able to access links to research and blogs and discussions that are shared by inspirational people. I am emerging out of the ‘lurker’ world and I am tentatively participating. It is an exciting place to be.
Melhuish, K. (2013) Online Social networking and its impact on NewZealand educator’s professional learning.
Quotes and paraphrases from presentation by Chris Betcher, CPPA conference Christchurch 2016.
Quotes and paraphrases from presentation by Derek Wenmoth, CPPA conference Christchurch 2106.