It’s taking me a while, but my perspective on social media is slowly shifting. Admittedly, I was a late-comer to the scene, and I joined Twitter and Facebook not from the perspective of a musicology instructor, but from the perspective of a dog breeder and trainer. When one of my white German Shepherds was expecting her first litter, I started a blog and joined Twitter and Facebook. Much of what I learned about caring for, breeding, and training dogs I learned from a cyber-community of like-minded individuals. I wanted to give back to the community that had given me so much. I got involved with social media.
Now that I’ve experienced the positive pedagogical effects of social media, I want to incorporate it into my classes, and there is a lot of software “out there” that will facilitate constructivist, collaborative learning.
This blog post focuses on one of the myriad softwares available: blogging. I have never used it in my classes, but the literature points to the positive effects of blogging on critical thinking skills, writing and literacy, and collaborative knowledge-building. Using a social media site that I discovered for the first time in my ETEC 565 class, storify.com, I “storify-ed” educational blogging. Storify.com allows writers to create commentary, or stories of stories that they found on other social media pages, such as youtube, twitter, facebook, and web pages. I must confess that I haven’t quite mastered the art of storify-ing yet, but I’m gonna keep at it until I improve. My computer froze on me while working on the story, but I managed to clean up the project on my netbook (which lacks flash and the other goodies that allows one to view videos) a bit and write this blog. So it’s not perfect, but I do want to share. Unfortunately, WordPress doesn’t allow me to embed the story into this post without divulging my UBC course password and username, so I’ll provide a link for those interested in exploring my storify. Click here
Professional Journalists gravitate towards this software, and I can see where it would be useful to educators in social studies, the humanities, and even the sciences. Like Twitter, you can follow the stories of other writer. I’m currently following the stories of a fellow UBC graduate student in the journalism school. Storify.com requires the writer to read through myriad bits of information, the way she would conduct research with pen and paper, come up with a thesis based upon the research, and state the thesis with the news stories as a way of embedding her assertions in fact. It’s time consuming, like all good research is. My storify is a “quick and dirty” exploration of the software’s possibilities. I look forward to using it more often in my private and professional world.