Twitter…Can Social Media Be A Positive Teaching Tool? (Assignment #1a)

In the article, DeGroot, Young, and VanSlette (2015) discuss the student perception of instructor credibility when it comes to using social media by using a mixed method approach. To do this they created “[t]here hypothetical instructor Twitter profiles” “(1) an account with only social tweets, (2) an account with tweets pertaining only to academic and professional messages, and (3) an equal blend of the tweets from the social and professional tweets” (DeGroot et al., 2015, p.424).

It is known that social media is a place in which educators must be extremely careful about what they post. However, DeGroot et all. make an important point that often seems to be forgotten, educators lead by example. We model and then allow students time to interpret and imitate. Thus, although it is imperative for educators to be mindful of what they are putting on social media, it is also a way in which we can demonstrate proper social media use for our students. Moreover, it is important that students view educators as a professional but also as human. “Brookfield (2006) posited that an instructor’s self-disclosure increases their personhood (the students’ belief that their instructor has a life outside of the classroom) in the eyes of the their students” (DeGroot et al., 2015, p. 421). It is paramount that teachers are open with their students. In being an elementary teacher, so often students want to know what your favorite animal is or what sports you play. They want to connect with you and feel as though they know who you are as opposed to simply being the holder of knowledge.

Within this article credibility is measured using “Source Credibility Measure (McCroskey & Teven, 1999; Teven & McCroskey, 1997), comprising three separate subscales: competence, goodwill/caring, and trust” (DeGroot et al., 2015, p. 425). It’s interesting that these three measure credibility online. These are attributes that create a good teacher and educator. These attributes remind me of a video I once watched during a staff-meeting. Rita Pierson on a TED talk called Every Kid Needs A Champion, spoke about how important student connections are she said “students don’t learn from people they don’t like”. This has stuck with me and I believe that this is a contributing factor to this study as “[o]ften times when a teacher seems more approachable, it makes the students feel more as ease while in their class. Thus, they’re more likely to approach them with questions…” (DeGroot et al., 2015, p. 429). To me, the ability it is one of the most important jobs of a teacher to creative an inclusive and safe environment to learn. It is a pedagogical belief of mine that students should constantly question. They should question what they hear, what they see and question what they already know as that leads to better definition of prior knowledge. In BC’s New Curriculum it is a requirement of teachers to teach Core Competencies, one of them being specifically to question and investigate.

My pedagogical belief is that social media, when used properly, can be a model to students on how to behave and conduct themselves online. We are living in the age of rapid technology, where communication availability has increased and as educators we need to embrace our present condition for the benefit of our children’s futures.

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