What is Social Media?

Today’s web users are prolific creators of content, and they upload 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 such as Flickr, Picassa, YouTube, Google Video, Vimeo, and others make it easy to find images, videos, and audio clips, but the real value of these sites lies in the way that users can share, tag, comment upon, and add to the content that is there. Over the past few years, the ways we produce, use, and think about our media have undergone a profound transformation. 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. Tertiary institutions need to understand and develop strategic plans for leveraging social media and providing internally generated resources — images, audio, and multimedia — to make the process a rich, engaging, two-way dialog between audience and institution.

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: - Larry Larry Feb 7, 2012

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

  • Social media is making it possible for crowd-sourced collections of image and cultural artifacts. Organisations around the world have been releasing the materials stored in their collections for general access, and to crowd-source more information about them. - judy.oconnell judy.oconnell Mar 1, 2012

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

  • Thus far, most social media platforms strive to personalise the engagement experience for each user, so that content (and advertisements) that are predicted to be of interest to the individual gets more emphasis. Are there equivalent learning media that, with use, can predict the learning needs of the individual? Algorithm to do this would be potentially invaluable. - horncheah horncheah Mar 1, 2012
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(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative expression?

  • Over-emphasis on personalisation could skew and shape the thinking of an individual to within a narrowly defined, albeit potentially deep, space. We might need to balance this by designing interactions that can introduce diverse perspectives. Creativity often comes from the intersection of seemingly unrelated knowledge/content. It can be severely limited if there is not sufficient encounters between individuals occupying unique, narrow spaces. - horncheah horncheah Mar 1, 2012
  • Social media provides a great opportunity to foster creativity and artistic expression in all formats. However it is best achieved by teaching about creative commons alongside the this. - judy.oconnell judy.oconnell Mar 1, 2012
  • Students need to be shown how to engage in social media sites, to share, tag, comment or create re-mixed materials and be aware of the copyright and creative commons aspects of all this.- judy.oconnell judy.oconnell Mar 1, 2012
  • Students need new social media skills in research: collecting, organizing, and synthesizing data from various sources (scholastic articles, commercial news sources, Internet, video/film, music, art, and literature).- judy.oconnell judy.oconnell Mar 1, 2012

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

  • A good example of social media collaboration of value to education is the global image collection at The Commons at Flickr. The key goals of The Commons are to firstly show you hidden treasures in the world's public photography archives, and secondly to show how your input and knowledge can help make these collections even richer. This type of collaboration provides students with access to rich resources from around the world. It shows students how they can participate in adding value to cultural heritage collections. Many countries and museums have similar initiatives. For example Picture Australia also provides wonderful access, while also allowing members of the community to add to the collections. This type of social media is of high educational value in terms of both content, and modelling social media for collaboration and ethical use.- judy.oconnell judy.oconnell Mar 1, 2012
  • Social media needs to be The mix&mash competition NZ provided an opportunity to discuss copyright and Creative Commons, the best places to find material for reuse. This was a very proactive and engaging way to teach students about the strengths of good social media usage and fostered a wonderful approach to keep a school’s creative remix community buzzing well beyond the six weeks of the competition. The Free to Mix; An educator’s guide to reusing digital content provided tips, ideas and links to enable teachers and librarians to help students understand, find and use New Zealand digital content. Year 12 student Casey Carsel’s entries showed history, heritage and humour and a huge variety of well attributed resources.- judy.oconnell judy.oconnell Mar 1, 2012
  • Creative Commons kiwi is a foundational approach to social media for creative expression and is a valuable resource for schools. http://youtu.be/AeTlXtEOplA - judy.oconnell judy.oconnell Mar 1, 2012

Please share information about related projects in our Horizon K-12 Project form.