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Ever think of using social media to complement your classroom or college course? If you have not considered it, then I hope you do after seeing some of the reflection among aspiring (pre-service) teachers in TeacherReady.

TR Discussion1

The above post occurred two days after this aspiring teacher initiated a post in which she/he reflected on his/her results of an effective teaching self-assessment noting, “I learned that there are a couple of areas where I am not as strong as I should/could be” before moving into solutions focused on “creating a learning environment that makes it really hard for my students to fail.” Within a day of the initial post, more than 10 classmates engaged with it.

The post above is from Week 2 of the lesson; we are now two months down the road and have launched a second cohort of students to engage in another private group on a social media platform – we use Facebook. There were processes to think about before we went live, while students participated, and before launching a new student cohort; there were items we logged because they were processes that didn’t make our lists!

How do we get everyone into a “private” group?

How do we address posts where folks “don’t get” something which have the potential to quickly snowball in a social media environment?

Courses are somewhat self-paced and these are large classes (>200), how do we assist in organizing posts (or is this needed)?

What about students who oppose using an existing social media group for instruction?

What we found is that the solutions to these questions were simple (e.g., getting folks into the group) or the questions were unwarranted (e.g., individuals opposed). We also found that the “immediate” and “24/7” posts of a large number of students being connected to one another in the Facebook Group challenged us to provide better processes (e.g., content delivery options – “pin” posts with communication updates or awesome student posts/reflections). This, of course, great assistance to developing a better course for our students. Finally, and most importantly, we found content-rich reflection and discussion among students and between students and faculty.

TeachReady

 

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TeacherReady is state approved and is the Educator Preparation Institute of the NCATE accredited Professional Education Unit at the University of West Florida. Upon completion of TeacherReady, individuals earn a professional teaching certificate from the State of Florida. Visit the TeacherReady website or connect with them on Facebook for more information.

Our mission at Studer Education is to provide students with a great place to learn, teachers with a great place to teach, and parents with confidence that their children are getting a great education. Visit us online at http://studereducation.com. Studer Education is a division of Studer Group, ranked for the sixth straight year on the Best Small and Medium Workplaces by Great Place to Work® and a recipient of the 2010 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.