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The social media theme began with Enhancing Participatory Culture: How to Design International Collaboration with Social and Mobile Media? Ilona Buchem along with three of her students demonstrated their work as part of the ‘Icollaborate project’ in which they used Mahara, a social media platform, to aggregate the produced content, document their findings, blog their opinions and importantly receive peer feedback from other students all over the world.

popular social websites, thus it was easy for students to assimilate themselves into documenting and sharing their pr

Providing a valuable presentation of ‘lessons learned’ Colin Gray of Edinburgh University explained how instead of using an existing social network such as Facebook, a social network called ‘Napier Exchange’ was built, so students and teachers could collaborate and share. While similar to Facebook it allowed teacher and students also to blog, create wiki’s, share documents and have discussion groups. Napier Exchange has had unprecedented success, in particular with the rich student-teacher discussions.

On the trail of Napier exchange’s success, Nick Kearney explained how using an existing platform, Facebook, was not successful. This was explained by the social media website’s association with leisure time and fun; students were very talkative but never produced any materials. Kearney explains that “Facebook is a social space, and not a work space… it is not good for structure, but very good for communication.”

The final social media specific session was Social Media: A Teaching and Learning Experience with Facebook, one of several ‘learning cafes’ that were popular at ONLINE EDUCA BERLIN.  The session was aimed towards educators and with a tagline as bold as ‘how to implement Social Media into your teaching without increasing your own workload’ it had a popular turnout.

This was more than a simple session where the speakers present their latest findings. Participants were encouraged to discuss the topics in groups with the presenter acting as a guide and mediator between groups. This workshop was of particular importance as it countered the previous session’s argument that Facebook was a poor platform for education because of its close link with ‘social time’. Wim Oostindier explained his success using Facebook and Twitter with his language-learning students, by utilising the websites as continual reservoirs of knowledge and information – even after the course was finished.

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