What is Social Media?


No longer satisfied to be consumers of content, today’s audience creates content as well, and is uploading photographs, audio, and video to the cloud by the billions. Producing, commenting, and classifying these media have become just as important as the more passive tasks of searching, reading, watching, and listening. Sites like Flickr, Odeo, YouTube, Google Video, and Ourmedia make it easy to find images, videos, and audio clips, but the real value of these sites lies in the way that users can classify, evaluate, comment upon, and add to the content that is there. Using simple interfaces, visitors can build shared collections of resources, whether they be links, photos, videos, documents, or almost any other kind of media. They can find and comment on items in other people’s lists, sharing not only the resources themselves but information and descriptive details about them. As a result, over the past few years, the ways we produce, use and even think about our media have undergone a profound transformation. Literally billions of videos, podcasts, and other forms of social media are just a click away for any Internet-connected user. As the numbers and quality of user-produced clips have increased, our notions of what constitutes useful or engaging media have been redefined — and more and more, it is a two- to three-minute piece designed for viewing inside a browser or on a mobile phone. That same phone is often the device used to create the media in the first place, with surprisingly high quality when viewed on a small screen. Tools for assembling and editing clips are free or extremely low cost and make it easy for amateurs to get good results without investing in expensive equipment, software, or training.

INSTRUCTIONS: Enter your responses to the questions below. This is most easily done by moving your cursor to the end of the last item and pressing RETURN to create a new bullet point. Please include URLs whenever you can (full URLs will automatically be turned into hyperlinks; please type them out rather than using the linking tools in the toolbar).

Please "sign" your contributions by marking with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples- this produces a signature when the page is updated, like this: - alan alan Jan 27, 2010

(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • Social media tools are easy to use and also portable -- almost to the point of being ubiquitous. One of the interesting ways social media can help people learn is by helping us find things that are of interest to people we respect. If I know what my peers and colleagues are reading -- and I do, because they are tagging and tweeting and blogging about it -- I can stumble onto resources that I might never have found otherwise. - ninmah ninmah Aug 24, 2010
  • Looser organizing schemes (like hashtags for Twitter) are also an interesting, evolving way to keep track of dispersed conversations. - ninmah ninmah Aug 24, 2010
  • Social Media has potential in the classroom as tool/medium for discussion whether these are in a traditional Teacher to student mode or in the student as mentor and teacher mode. There does need to be a seperation between the Social uses and educational uses. The teachers who use facebook are potentially putting themselves at risk because of the blurring of the boundaries between students personal activities and duty of care from the teacher. Using social media has an inherent level of buy in from the students who are actively engaged in using social media for their personal goals - they have the familarity and competence. The issues with Ning charging for access has impacted on this in the classroom as casual, short term Nings are no longer as easily available and accessable. - andrew.churches andrew.churches Sep 1, 2010

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • Perhaps it is its own topic, but the meta-level tools that help to monitor social media streams (from Twitter clients to Flipboard to specialized feed readers) are also an important aspect of how we use social media. - ninmah ninmah Aug 24, 2010
  • I suspect User-generated Content needs a place in here. Since currently technologies for making and sharing are still discrete but merging more and more. Making that seamless will allow faster 'conversations'. - paul.mckey paul.mckey Aug 29, 2010
  • The students development of their own PLN using social media is missing - this is rearded as the domain of teachers, but students are going to make more use of this. - andrew.churches andrew.churches Sep 1, 2010
  • The content management aspect of this is very important, including the diverse distribution of content, e.g. videos on youtube, vimeo, etc, and how it all spreads out. Metadata is certainly part of this, as is indexing, online identity management, licensing, and more. - ralf.muhlberger ralf.muhlberger Sep 1, 2010

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative expression?

  • Right now, social media's impact is that it connects people and leads us to discover interesting articles, projects, events, and so on. It can also extend conversations beyond the classroom walls, in terms of time, place, and audience. That is, discussions can continue after class is over, no matter where the students and teachers are, and others can join in through the participants' extended networks. - ninmah ninmah Aug 24, 2010
  • The potential for synchronous and asynchronous discussions beyond the classrooms, It is an enabler for group work and projected based learning. It allows teachers ansd students around the globe to intereact and engage in meaningful conversation.
  • Greater ability for students to share creative content with each other and get peer feedback, if managed well. More difficult to give feedback if not... - ralf.muhlberger ralf.muhlberger Sep 1, 2010

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?


Flatclassroom Projects - Julie Lindsay and Vicki davis - http://www.flatclassroomproject.net/ - andrew.churches andrew.churches Sep 1, 2010
ITGSopedia - http://itgsopedia.wikispaces.com/ A collaborative wiki for the IB ITGS course - andrew.churches andrew.churches Sep 1, 2010

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