Using social in the classroom

My class (best known as #jenclass) has evolved from teaching Dreamweaver and Flash to teaching my students how to think outside the box and deliver information with the help of technology. It can be mobile technology or social media... It depends on their personal goals. A couple of months ago, I had a chance to present to my fellow faculty and staff at the Missouri School of Journalism to talk about how I use social media inside and outside the classroom. Here's a look at my slides:

I've found great success in using my classroom as a social experimental space. I also use it as a way to stay in contact with my current and former students. In the classroom, I encourage tweeting with the #jenclass hashtag. It gives my students a chance to share live notes with each other. Yes, there are times where the note taking turns into a completely off topic side conversation, but I follow the hashtag and can call the students out if they lose focus. I also use CoverItLive sometimes to let students practice the skill of live blogging. It's a skill that is only done well if you practice. It's tough to practice if you don't have reasons to live blog!

I also make it clear to my students that it's easier to reach me via social networks than leaving a voicemail. My class hashtag extends beyond class discussion. Current and former students share links and ideas throughout each week. (Right now the stream is quiet since I'm not teaching a class, just managing the newsroom at KOMU.)

I recommended experimenting with your comfort zone to the faculty and staff who attended my session. One person commented how I'm much braver than he is as a teacher. I said I'm lucky to have flexible students who are hungry to learn in this space. Each semester is different for me. I never teach my class the same way, so every semester I learn something that worked and something that didn't work. Luckily, I ask for input throughout the semester and most of the time my students feel comfortable telling me when they feel they understand what's going on and when they feel lost!

I loved having a chance to share some of my higher ed ideas to my peers. It's something I don't get to do often enough. It's funny how so many of us are doing really great things, but we're so busy working hard we don't take enough time to share.