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The benefits and pitfalls of using social media to inform learning and teaching Crowd-sourcing, blogging and blagging Martin Webber 6 th Excellence in.

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Presentation on theme: "The benefits and pitfalls of using social media to inform learning and teaching Crowd-sourcing, blogging and blagging Martin Webber 6 th Excellence in."— Presentation transcript:

1 The benefits and pitfalls of using social media to inform learning and teaching Crowd-sourcing, blogging and blagging Martin Webber 6 th Excellence in Teaching Conference

2 Social Media Anonymous… Blog: martinwebber.net

3 Social Media Anonymous… What is the point of Twitter? What is the point of

4 Social Media Anonymous… Twitter is ppl I don’t know talking about things I am interested in. Opposite of

5 Social Media Anonymous… Linked in: Professional networking

6 National online survey of stress and burnout in Approved Mental Health Professionals Extensive use of social media – blog posts on my blog – invited blog posts and special feature on Community Care website – spreading the word via Twitter 485 respondents (cf 237 in previous survey) Limitation: self-selection response bias, but also in postal survey Student subsequently invited to participate in online discussion on social work practice Example 1: Recruiting participants MSc student research

7 Out-sourcing of problems via twitter & blogs Writing is often an isolating experience Twitter can provide instant or no feedback – allows people to contribute when / if they want to – gathers ideas from international community of interest – some stimulating & different; others not! – online relationships determine quality of contributions Blogs can generate considerable feedback Limitation: it doesn’t write it for you! Example 2: Crowdsourcing Preparing lectures & seminars

8 Blogs and social media provide a vast quantity of information but critical engagement is essential Engaging in organised online debating requires quick thinking and concise writing – e.g. Twitter debates, The Guardian & Community Care online discussions Social media exposes students to multiple perspectives in contrast to classroom perspective of one lecturer… … but critical appraisal does not always come naturally Limitation: Students may be persuaded by online personalities rather than arguments Example 3: Critical thinking Academic development

9 Disseminating research – Blogging about new papers – Tweeting about others’ interesting papers Engaging social workers in research – Recruit agencies & participants – Promote evidence-based practice Keeping up to date with new research Increasing impact of your research Raises your profile as a researcher and shares work with potential collaborators Blogging helps you find a rhythm for paper writing Benefits Research

10 Crowdsourcing –Ideas for papers, seminars, lectures –Rapid feedback on ideas Engage with multiple perspectives beyond university to inform teaching –Beyond UK & social work Interaction between students –Sharing resources, papers & ideas –Sharing good practice Answering student questions Online debate promotes critical thinking Decreases social distances It can be fun Benefits Learning & teaching

11 Time-consuming Distracting It’s not for everyone Can be viewed as ‘another thing to do’ by students: not assessed = not done? Opinion-forming or crowd following? Inappropriate online behaviour – same rules must apply as in off-line behaviour Freedom of speech & responsibilities to our employers Authenticity of online identities – does this matter? Very little is private Pitfalls

12 Social media & CPD in social work Can be used to support formal learning Practitioners can engage with other practitioners, academics and students to enrich learning experience Difficult to assess and accredit learning based solely on social media usage Unguided learning = non-learning? Self-guided learning = relevant learning? Implementing learning in practice can be challenging (any precedents?) Can accounts of reflective learning using social media be verified for CPD?

13 Why bother? Grants Papers Impact? Books & book chapters Conference papers Teaching Programme & module leadership Doctoral research supervision Research team leadership and management Administration Public engagement – social media

14 Why bother? Grants Papers Impact? Public engagement – social media?

15 Thank you Dr Martin Webber Institute of Psychiatry martinwebber.net


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