Transforming learning by understanding how students use social media as a different space

Andrew Middleton – Sheffield Hallam University @andrewmid

It is more than ten years since O’Reilly and Siemens made proposals for Web 2.0 and Connectivism respectively, yet social media for learning in higher education is still mostly peripheral to academic practice, rather than an extended learning space. More recently experiments in using open online spaces have, in their various ways, drawn the attention of senior managers. However, thinking in mainstream higher education about learning has changed very little: that which we do differently because the learning space is richer and more connected. MOOCs, Personal Learning Networks, Open Educational Practice will finally make a real and lasting impact only when their influence changes the experience of learning for all students. Social media is potentially a liminal third space, one which establishes learning capabilities that can be sustained beyond university. To effect change academics need design principles for redefining learning in more ontological terms that value learning together across boundaries and which challenge the binary of formal and informal learning space.

Participants will be presented with a gallery of principles as a starting point including Chickering & Gamson’s (1987) Seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education, Herrington et al.‘s (2010) Nine elements of authentic learning, Megele’s (2015) eAble model, Beckingham & Middleton’s (2014) Social media for learning framework. The ‘gallery’ will also contain principles for social media and Connectivism, examples of inspirational practice from recent accounts, and participants will be encouraged to draw upon their own practice and experience.

Together we will devise a set of seven design principles for learning in the digital social age and annotate these with examples of good practice. All products will be collated and shared back to the conference delegates.