Social Media: A Fad or A Fundamental Shift in Communication?

Should community colleges teach social media skills to prepare students for today’s workforce?

Some educators think social media is just a fad? Many disagree.

Watch this YouTube Video which will help you to see how social media is a fundamental shift in the way we communicate.

I appreciate your comments.

Sharpen the Saw in 2012

Sharpen the Saw

Sharpen the Saw: Photo by iStock

Habit #7  of Stephen Covey’s famous 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is Sharpen the Saw.

College instructors are expected to do more with less. This keeps instructors stressed out to say the least.

It is much like the story in Covey’s book which describes the man who is desperately trying to cut down a tree.

“What are you doing?” you ask the man. “Can’t you see?” the frustrated man replies. “I’m trying to chop down a tree.

“How long have you been at it?” you ask the exhausted man. “Over five hours and I’m beat,” the man responds.

“Why don’t you sharpen your saw?” you ask. “I’m sure it will go faster.”

“I don’t have time to sharpen the saw,” the man explains. “I’m too busy sawing.”

Faculty members are sometimes overwhelmed with the day-to-day activities of teaching, grading papers, advising, developing online classes, attending committee meetings, etc. There are just too many important things to do to take time for professional development.

Yet, taking time to learn creative ways to engage students is critical to their success.

The powerful social media tools such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+ provide means of engaging students in new ways.

Learning to use these social media tools to engage students in the classroom is one way that instructors can “sharpen the saw.”

How do you plan to “sharpen your saw” in 2012? Your comments are appreciated!

You may also be interested in reading:

How Will You Engage Students in the New Year (Carolhbates)

Enhancing In-Class Participation in a Social Media World

Twitter Enhances Classroom Lecture

Young people love social media such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn.

Does allowing college students to use cell phones, laptops, or ipads in class to tweet messages during the lecture enhance classroom participation or simply disrupt the class?

For some time now instructors have questioned the effectiveness of the traditional lecture.

Studies suggest that students are motivated and  learn best when they are actively engaged in the content and not passively listening to a professor lecture. Most instructors report that it is usually only a few students who actively participate in a classroom discussion. Many students are shy and do not want to risk speaking up in a classroom.

Dr. Monica Rankin of the University of Texas at Dallas was pleased when normally silent students began to take part in the classroom discussion via Twitter.

Television programs are using social media to engage their audience. Sports teams use social media to engage their fans. Presidential campaign organizers seeks to engage voters. And instructors can use social media to motivate students to engage in the classroom discussion.

During the lecture students can tweet questions or comments via their cell phone,  laptop, or ipad.

Students do not have to suffer in silence through the lecture. Instead of doodling on a notepad, whispering to their classmates, or passing notes, the students can ask questions or make comments via Twitter. All students view the comments as they are displayed on the Smartboard or large screen.

There are huge benefits to students tweeting during lectures.

The more students interact and play with the content, the more engaged they are in learning the material.

Instructors can answer questions and adjust their lecture based on the live Twitter comments. Students add their perspectives to what the instructor is saying, and they will stay more engaged than they would if they were just sitting and passively listening.

Have you used Twitter during your classroom lecture? Do you think it is worth a try? Do you think it would be too disruptive? Thank you for your comments.


Cherney, I. (2008). The effects of active learning on students’ memories for course content. Active Learning in Higher Education, 9, 152-171. (Greg Ferenstein).

What is Motivation? Ideas for the Classroom.

College Student using Social Media

Generally, we talk about motivating students in terms of extrinsic and intrinsic motivation.

Extrinsic motivation is concerned with academic achievement and refers to the students’ perception of participating in tasks for reasons such as grades, rewards, competition, and evaluation by others.

Intrinsic motivation is what social cognitivists prefer to call self motivation because they believe that individuals develop motivation from their self-efficacy perceptions rather than from the task itself (Schunk & Zimmerman, 1994).

Many ideas for the classroom have been developed to motivate students. Some believe that extrinsic motivators such as grades reduce intrinsic motivation.  But there are not many colleges ready to do away with grades. One of the best ways to develop intrinsic motivation is to help students develop goals (Bandura 1986).

Maehr (1991) suggest that instructors should arrange the learning environment in such a way as to promote personal motivation.

One popular method today for motivating students is to include learning strategies using Web 2.0. What is Web 2.0? Web 2.0 are web-based services that allow people to interact in communities. These Web 2.0 services include but are not limited to Learning Management Systems (LMS) such as Blackboard and social media networks. Many of these services are free.

The most popular social media tools are blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn. These new teaching methods are powerful ways to engage students in the classroom content. Teachers use strategies for learning with social media to motivate students to academic achievement. Teachers are using social media tools to develop innovative ideas for the classroom. The old, tired methods of working with students can be updated and energized with new learning strategies using social media.

The social media strategy for the classroom that has been researched the most is blogs. Blogs can help students develop self-regulation strategies by helping students to set goals and to record their progress toward their goals. Blogs are a great tool for helping students learn to summarize and analyze content. Blogs help students develop their critical thinking skills and their writing skills.

Young people love social media and older people are jumping on the bandwagon. Education for students is more fun using the tools that students use and enjoy. Nielsen reports that people spend more time on Facebook than anywhere else on the web. Another statistic of the report showed that Americans spend 23% of their time online using blogs or social networks.  Why not explore these strategies for learning? Yes, there are some precautions for both faculty and students. But social media opens the door to teaching methods and learning strategies that need to be researched and explored.

How have you used social media in the classroom to motivate your students? I appreciate your comments.

  • (Eric Mack)
  • Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundation of thought and action: A social cognitive theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
  • Maehr, M. L. (1991, April). Changing the schools: A word to school leaders about enhancing student investment in learning. Paper presented at the meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago.
  • Schunk, D. H., & Zimmerman, B. J. (1994). Self-regulation of learning and performance. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.