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What No One Tells You About Social Media in Education

Before I get too deep in to social media tips and best practices, I wanted to extend my deepest gratitude to Deb Evans and Cyndee Perkins. I worked with both of them at Computer Explorers many years ago and their forward-thinking in the social media arena set the platform for amassing my own PLN on LinkedIn and Twitter.

“If I put a pot of instructional gold in the forest of an empty PLN, will anyone benefit from it or know that it is even there?”

So let me first set the stage… by answering the question… “What does social media have to do with education?”

  • Proactive Curating is the Life Vest for the Content Tsunami: With the fire hose of content that is pushed out every day, social media is a way to curate, collect, and locate best practices and keep up with trends.
  • Creating and Publishing Content Isn’t Enough: I am not deluded enough to think that just because I post something, that someone will read it. We all have busy lives so publishing content is not enough. If you really want to impact education, you have to connect with a PLN via multiple social networks.
  • Modeling and Teaching Appropriate Use isn’t Optional Anymore: With colleges and businesses looking at student’s social media posts and feeds and more and more businesses looking to optimize and enhance their product and service with a sound social media strategy… this topic is no longer optional. It is integral to educating the whole student and preparing them for the world beyond our institutional walls.

Social Media Best Practices for Bloggers and Educators

This section first focuses on us as educators, curators, and purveyors of pedagogy and instructional best practices and how we can optimize the impact of what we share with the greater edusphere. Before you jump head first into the graphic and best practices, you might want to ensure that you have the proper social media flotation devices in place:

  • Have a Blog and Beef it Up: I have to say the first thing is having your own blog. I have a whole post on best practices for that “21+ Things Evert 21st Century Blogger Should Do in 2015” that can support you with this endeavor.
  • Get Savvy with Social Media: build up a PLN on LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, and Google+ by sharing both curated and created content. I have a post on Curating and Creating with Care that will provide additional support as well.
  • Take Your Social Media to the Next Level: Once you are savvy with basic social media practices and blogging… reading Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick’s book “The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users” is a must. I devoured the book in less than a hour and gleaned 6 action items that I needed to add to my own social media plan. Truly there are far more in the book (120+) and many I have discovered through navigating my own social media paths throughout the years but these 6 really stood out to me as ones that needed my additional attention.

Guy 1

I really don’t want to take away from the book or the SXSW presentation so I will leave you to digest the slide deck here that provides tips for being organized and optimal as well as clever, curious, and valuable. And just in case you aren’t totally sold on how good this pitch was… there was a fire alarm that went off in the middle of it… and very few participants of the packed room… including myself… were phased enough to leave (see video). 😉

Social Media Best Practices for Students

So now to our students… Guy shared 10 best practices for students in his “If I Knew Then… What I Know Now” talk at SXSWEDU. As he is the Evangelist of Canva, naturally I thought I would take a picture from our breakfast together and create a graphic to summarize his tips using Canva. Both of the images embellished with Canva are actually part of a stock photo series by Guy.

Guy 2

I really don’t think I can do his speech justice… fortunately SXSWEDU was kind enough to record and archive it for all to learn. If you are looking to supplement his talk and tips with tools to support students with social media and positive identities online, I have curated a Blended Resumes Smore and a Pinterest board on Digital Health and Citizenship.

As social media is clearly not going away… I hope this post whets your appetite for navigating this digital literacy to meet both professional and instructional goals.


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