I was asked by a colleague to document my practices for social media in the classroom. Probably not overly innovative, but hopefully useful to those just dipping in their toes.
First of all, create a fan page for the class, or the text. Since Listening to the Future was the text, I just used its page. This avoids the issue of students becoming “friends” of the instructor – they can become a fan of the class or of the text. The instructor can still moderate and post, but need not worry about any issues of over familiarity.
I required twitter. I asked students to post tweets of their findings. We were exploring the future of education. When they found something relevant, I asked for a tweet. Officially, they needed about 20 tweets. 10 on uncertainties about the future, and another 10 links that illustrated how the uncertainties were playing out in realitme. Create a twitter list for your students. Make sure you follow all of them. Also, create a hashtag for the class (make it short, but unique) so you can filter through twitter and find your student’s work.
Hopefully the class will fill up and I will teach it again this Winter. I am currently preparing a version of the class that uses TheBrain (www.thebrain.com) to create a visual environment for exploring scenarios and their implications. My “brain” will be hosted and students will be able to interact with the brain on the web.
That’s it. I hate e-mail. I want all “stuff” to move to shared spaces. The class also used Microsoft SharePoint, which is OK as a repository, but I hope TheBrain will connect the students more holistically to the material.