One of the recurrent questions or issues that surfaces in conversations about social media and the workplace be it in a school, corporation, or governmental organization is whether or not social media undermines productivity. Here is a post from one of the researchers at the Social Media Collective (part of Microsoft Research New England) who shares a report on the consequences of banning these sorts of technologies.
… we’re starting to understand the very premise – that social media usage inhibits productivity – is a myth. A forthcoming, two-year longitudinal study titled Exploring social network interactions in enterprise systems: the role of virtual co-presence by Nandhakumar, Baptista, and Subramaniam, of Warwick Business School, found that using social media at work could actually enhance workers’ productivity.
What’s your take on this? What kind of social media policies do you have in place at your school or workplace? Did that policy incorporate existing research on social media usage?
Image courtesy Creative Commons license and Flickr user Dennis Matheson
Erika found a good post that she added to our Diigo library that has a nice connection to this week’s reading by Hsu, et al. on Web 2.0 as Cognitive Tools. Essentially she links to a blog post by a teacher who outlines several reasons why he continues to blog, and what I noted in my Diigo comments was how his fourth reason represented an example of how he uses a Web 2.0 technology as a cognitive tool:
provides me with a forum to clarify my thinking about the on-going classroom management and instructional challenges
The phrase ‘clarify my thinking’ really emphasizes this relationship between the cognitive activity and the tool. Thanks Erika for sharing this!
Group Three’s posts were engaging and interesting this week after analyzing the Horizon Report and Hsu text and looking more deeply into the cognitive processes that are enabled by Web 2.0 technologies.
Rachel makes a connection to the Hsu text that groups tagging into the knowledge construction process category. She suggests a free iOS app (mGeo) that allows users to share information that can be saved and tagged to a geographical location. A part of the reading that stood out to Rachel was the recommendations for implementation that Hsu outlined. She plans on exploring Edmodo (a social learning platform commonly thought of as the facebook of schools) to create a discussion forum that will be a part of a course that will begin in September 2013 via iTunes U called “The Heart of Teaching: Philosophical Foundations”. She will become familiar and research this Web 2.0 tool, which was one recommendation for implementation featured. Rachel is the instructional designer for this open course. A few of the other recommendations that Rachel highlighted were “starting small and being realistic”, “providing scaffolding” when introducing a new tool, and “making it a big deal” for students.
Although Rachel finds the table on page 357 of cognitive processes enabled by Web 2.0 technologies to be helpful, Karen believes the table may limit the technologies teachers use if they’re looking to involve a specific cognitive process. EunSung was able to reflect on teaching strategies used in the past when looking at the table.
Karen, being a media specialist, believes that comfort and familiarity with emerging technologies is most important when it comes to the implementation of Web 2.0 tools. She recommends mobile uses as a starting point for teachers who aren’t ready for more advanced web-based tools. Karen shares that tagging, blogging, and using wikispaces are three great tools that can be used by teachers with relatively little experience. She also explains that hands-on practice will help her teachers become comfortable and confident.
EunSung believes the ability to classify similar topics and share viewpoints are two of the reasons that make Web 2.0 technologies appealing for users. EunSung shares that through experience, although they see the many benefits, students prefer face-to-face interaction and believe it takes longer to use Web 2.0 tools. In the post this week, EunSung concludes that it would be time-consuming for teachers to track the cognitive processes that their students are using. EunSung says it would be challenging for elementary aged students to collaborate using these tools even with appropriate scaffolding due to the critical thinking, evaluating, and analyzing skills that are necessary.
Our group as a whole believes that teachers need to provide scaffolding and to invest time to learn and become comfortable with Web 2.0 tools before implementation should occur. EunSung sees potential for learners to develop critical-thinking skills through the use of these tools.
Thanks everyone for the posts and comments that lead to great discussions. Have a great week.
In group 2, we had some very interesting posts and discussions this week!
Melissa, Hannah, and Justin found the table linking Web 2.0 tools with cognitive tasks helpful and informative. One of the major themes of the posts was how Web 2.0 tools could allow for collaboration and through feedback with others, students can do more than through using a tool on their own. For example, both Erika and Melissa commented on how blogs can allow students to reflect on their learning by looking back at their previous posts. Melissa felt that using RSS feeds from blogs (or using other social media) allowed for better mobile or ubiquitous learning. Justin discussed his use of Google Docs in a course this past semester and how that tool allowed students to have better self evaluation and feedback from their peers. Erika pointed out that collaborative tools allow for a cycle of feedback, which can continue indefinitely.
Both Melissa and Justin discussed the significance of the tagging example on pages 358-359. Justin was excited by the international collaboration in the tagging exercise and how this encouraged self-regulatory behaviors in the students. Melissa described a potential application of tagging for her courses using Pinterest.
Many of the group members commented on the helpfulness of the recommendations at the end of the chapter, including Hannah who felt that it was important to choose the appropriate technology for the particular lesson as opposed to using a tool because it is available. Melissa was encouraged by the recommendation to start small, instead of trying to implement too many tools at once. Erika felt that motivating students is often very difficult, but by using Web 2.0 tools, students are motivated by sharing their ideas with real audiences and their peers. In that way, they can seek feedback from many, instead of simply by their teacher.
While Hannah noted that the simplicity of using many Web 2.0 tools has allowed instructors to become producers of web content, it is important that instructors chose tools that engage students. As she said, instructors must “engage WITH the students through these tools and we have to develop a curriculum that reinforces the power of the tool”.
There were so many interesting blog posts this week. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!