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3 Technologies for social communication

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Figure 7 Manage the introduction of social media into your online lessons

As you saw in the Week 1 section on backchannels, and the discussion of connectivism in Week 2, social media can have an important role in online teaching. There are a variety of social communication tools that can be employed in online teaching, each with its own potential advantages (and sometimes drawbacks too).

There sometimes needs to be a phased approach to the use of social media tools in online teaching. Skills in providing constructive feedback perhaps need to be honed in a relatively closed environment (such as a discussion forum, commenting first on a teacher-provided item, and later on each other’s contributions) before being moved to a more public arena (Jones and Gallen, 2016). Twitter and YouTube can both be used to great effect in demonstrating how public commenting can easily move away from ‘constructive’ and in an unhealthy direction.

If you wish to read more about the positive and negative effects of using social media in teaching, Haylett (2016) gathers together a variety of literature on the subject and draws the conclusion that there appears to be a significant effect on student engagement from the use of social media. However, there may potentially be negative effects on student attainment.

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