The growth of the Internet is unprecedented. Never before have we seen such an uptake of a new technology and the Internet in real-time and how quickly data is generated is phenomenal. The way we communicate and connect has changed. There are now a multiplexity of ways this can be done, building upon strong ties and creating new opportunities to develop weak ties. In his TEDxKC talkMichael Wesch stated that:
There is a shift from being knowledgeable to Knowledge-Able (Michael Wesch 2010)
Digital technologies and social media have enabled personal learning networks unconstrained by time and place. However these require new literacies for networked people. Rainie and Wellman (2012:272-274) refer to:
Graphic literacy i.e. infographics
Navigation literacy i.e. internet geography
Context and connections literacy i.e. PLNs (personal learning networks)
Focus literacy i.e. time for solitude switch
Multitasking literacy i.e.. appliances, people
Scepticism literacy i.e. ‘crap detection’
Ethical literacy i.e. trust
To develop these literacies it is therefore important that we consider how we can provide opportunities within learning and teaching. There is still a tension however and some may still argue that social media is for socialising and not for academic and scholarly work. There are also many counter arguments and exemplars of how social media is being used effectively. To frame this in academic practice it was felt that a set of principles was needed and this work in progress is currently being shared openly with an invite for readers to contribute and critique.
Developing a Social Media for Learning Framework
The following key principles offer a framework upon which the effective use of social media for teaching and learning can be plotted. The ideas in the framework work in combination or independently of each other. Each principle is informed by established ideas for effective teaching and learning and therefore able to help to clarify and legitimise the use of social media, in its various forms, in good academic practice. (Middleton and Beckingham 2014)
The seven principles proposed are:
Lifewide and lifelong
Open and accessible
Supporting and validating learning through mutually beneficial, jointly enterprising and communally constructive communities of practice; fostering a sense of belonging, being and becoming; promoting collegiality, feeling connected, social glue.
Lifewide and Lifelong
Connecting formal, non-formal and informal learning progression; developing online presence; developing digital literacies for experiential, problem solving, creative and critical learning approaches.
Learning across and through rich multiple media; providing opportunities for choices and self expression.
Promoting self-regulation, creative self-expression, building self-efficacy and confidence; accommodating niche interests and activities, the ‘long tail’ of education.
Promotes working together productively and critically as peers (co-creation) in self-organising, robust networks that are scalable, loosely structured, self-validating, and both knowledge-forming and knowledge-sharing.
Open and Accessible
Supporting spacial, temporal and social openness; promoting open engagement in terms of access being geographically extended, inclusive, controlled by the learner, gratis, open market, unconstrained freedom, access to content.
Making connections across learning, social and professional networks; being scholarly and establishing a considered professional online presence and digital identity
The framework and principles are intended to:
Promote discussion informing curriculum design and staff development;
Validate and refine existing practice;
Help identify how social media can be further embedded in practice to enhance and transform it.
It is work in progress - Your contributions and feedback will help to develop this framework.
Talking through the Social Media for Learning Framework with Andrew Middleton.