One Learner’s Journey

MaryH’s blog for reflecting on the EVO08 SMiELT session

Getting acquainted with social media January 21, 2008

Filed under: Social Media — MaryH @ 2:29 pm
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As an educator, to me, social media is a way to connect our students with others outside the classroom.   When we open the doors of the classroom to others, wonderful things can happen.  During the past academic year, I started a blog with my students, and we were able to use it to connect with students in Argentina to share movie reviews; we listened to voice recordings of people in various countries talking about their favorite sweets, and we interacted with experts in the fields of graphic design and wedding cake design.  Through this session, I hope to learn how to encourage the same kind of positive interaction through other social media tools, such as feedreaders, social bookmarking tools, and photo sharing tools.  Constantly pushing the edge of the classroom further and further…

For my class, I could have chosen to use a different environment, such as an LMS, and consequently the edge of the classroom would not have extended so far into the world.  The social tools we are working with in this session are different from an LMS because they are open. Blackboard, Moodle, and other LMS are only open to those enrolled, primarily the students in a course, the material shared on social tools is potentially available to anyone, depending on the privacy settings the user chooses.  During the 2007 Blogging for Beginners workshop, I had the pleasure of attending an online session given by Bee where she introduced this concept; after the session finished, I blogged  “Week Four Summary” about what I learned from the presentation, how social media tools and LMS differ, and how the choice of tools may impact the students’ learning experience.

My main feeling about social media is that just like anything else, the more you put into it, the more you’re going to get out of it.  One common thread among the social media tools being used in this session is the ability to share content with others.  In the Webhead community, openly sharing seems to be favored; then, everyone can learn and benefit.  However, in some circumstances publicity may not be desired, and most social media tools have the option of being set to private, or varying degrees of privacy.  When working with students, we have to take many factors in to account when working online, such as safety concerns.  However, what about shy students who don’t feel comfortable sharing their work?  Even though I tend to be reserved, I have found that sharing my work online has been an incredibly empowering experience and it has helped me to gain a professional voice.  Although I hope students see the value of sharing, the best way to know how university students feel about using social media in the classroom would probably be to engage in an informed dialog about the subject.

 

Hello world! January 19, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — MaryH @ 1:40 pm
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The first blog I opened is on Blogger and it is called One Teacher’s Journey. Now, here I am opening a new blog, using a new blog host, and taking part in another journey. This time I thought it would be more appropriate to name my new blog One Learner’s Journey, for I am always learning, and this blog begins with the hope that I will chronicle my learning journey during the SMiELT EVO session. SMiELT stands for Social Media in ELT, although every time I see the abbreviation I read it as SMILE. Because when I am in the company of friends and learning new things with them, I am always smiling; after all, SMILE could stand for Social Media in Language Education. Another journey begins!