Thursday, 21 December 2017

#SocMedHE17 Social media for Learning in Higher Education Conference.

The third Social Media for Learning Conference took place once again at Sheffield Hallam. I was thrilled to have five of my students contribute to the event, their work on SMASH - Social Media for Academic Studies at Hallam.

The morning of the conference was designed as a Build Your Own Conference approach whereby delegates suggested and voted up activities. These ranged from conversations, feedback on research to full hands on workshops. It was a brilliant start to the event. In the afternoon there was a collection of workshops, short papers and poster presentations in parallel sessions. 

I can hand on heart say this is one of my favourite events, bringing together old friends too many of you to mention all by name but you know who you are) and an opportunity to meet new people sharing the same interest of using social media to enhance learning and teaching. It was great to see Jenny and Scott who have been part of the LTHEchat organising team over the last few months as this was the first time we'd met face to face! 


The student founders and new members of SMASH led a session in the morning and used the opportunity to get feedback on their 7 ways to use [social media tool] cards. These were Corran Wood, Jess Paddon, Abby Butler, Callum Rooney and virtually Matty Trueman (who was recovering from appendicitis so couldn't be with us in person) They received some great feedback both in the session and through Twitter. In the new year they will develop these resources further and plan to run workshops with staff and students at Sheffield Hallam to demonstrate the different ways social media can enhance learning and teaching. The resources will be given a Creative Commons licence and then shared through a new blog and Twitter account. 


I attended a great session led by Suzanne Faulkner, which as it happens so did my students. I've been a bit of skeptical about using Snapchat but now encouraged by Jess, I will definitely look into this in the new year!

Lego Serious Play

Together with Suzanne Faulkner we ran a fun workshop using Lego to get participants discussing their online identity. I wish now we'd been able to record this as there were some great discussions, and volunteers who described their models. 

Short paper 1 

Corran Wood and Jess Paddon, two of the four founder members of SMASH led a presentation on how the group started and what they had gained from the experience.

Short paper 2

I co-presented a paper with Simon Horrocks on Social Media and Higher Education Digital Leadership. Whilst our research is work in progress, it gave us an opportunity to seek valuable feedback from the attendees and gauge interest in the work we are doing. Watch this space for how this research develops.


The final session of the day gave me the opportunity to attend Neil Withnell and Emma Gillaspy's excellent workshop 'Cracking the TEF crystal maze – technology edition'. This was a series of activities or challenges that we had to solve in small groups. Each gave us the opportunity to test out different platforms whilst trying to crack the clues. It's certainly inspired me to try something similar with my own students. 

It was a non stop day but a very enjoyable one. As you might imagine there was much to tweet about. So many engaged with the event that were not actually physically present which was great. 

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