Living in another country from my family and friends, Social Media has become a necessity to keep up with what is “going on”. In the sense of being an educator, in the “international world” of teaching, Social Media is also a useful tool to help keep ahead of what is going on around the world in education. “Checking in” to Social Media can be a consumer of time as distractions and “following” can lead you from one thought of thinking to another quite quickly. Often there are many tab options available that can help one refine their searches of information, photos, videos or highlighted people. Social Media can be thought of as a quick way of finding information as the “tweets” or “posts” or “blog pages” are not usually as long as a research/journal article or book chapter. They are short enough to provide information and can lead further if the reader so wishes. Social Media is also the forum which the students of the future seem to be most savy with…..as one student said in passing to a teacher the other day…”email to me is like your version of handwriting a letter to your grandmother – we use wechat, its much quicker!!!!”
For this Expert Search I am going to use Twitter and Facebook. They are both formats that I have followed not only for social purposes but for Educational purposes. For this post I am going to continue my researching on the key areas of inquiry learning; library; curiosity; and primary schools related to me question:
- How should a library be involved with all classes in their inquiries?
Twitter is a forum that I use sporadically to tweet out myself. I prefer to browse through its tweets for topics of interest to me or suggestions of how things can be done in a classroom setting. I follow fellow teachers and schools and some educational “tweeters”. I like the “re-tweets” option as I can see who others are following too.
I start this process by typing inquiry learning into the home page “search twitter” tab. I browse through the tweets and then use the tabs up the top to modify the searches even more to see what is being displayed – see below.
Once I have explored I go into the more options tab and click on “news” as I want to see if there is anything relevant here for me to explore. It gives me a guide sometimes as to the credence of a site seeing others who are following too. If there are followers that I follow I often have a look. Although, I also question that in this format, are tweets seen as being valuable because of those following rather than because of the content.
From here I move to adding #curiosity to my original inquiry learning search. I find many interesting articles that relate to my search.
The known blogs of Edutopia and Mind/Shift – two that I really enjoy following come up regularly in my searches. I find new articles to explore and consider.
For my curiosity search two of the links I found interesting were:
I then move to put in an advanced search using the “More Options” tab. Here I add the terms primary school, library, along with original inquiry learning, curiosity, and no secondary schools to see what comes up. It is a relevant search. I have found new people to follow based on these keywords and relevant tweets to read further.
From the above search I found some new Twitter usernames.
The final area I want to show is the use of the #hashtag symbol.The use of the hashtag symbol allows one to search for other tweets about the same topic. Tweeters use this option to enable people searching for information similar to theirs to find their tweet.I choose what I consider to be my two main keywords for locating relevant information for my search – inquiry and curiosity and added a hashtag to the front of each and completed a search.
One of the tweeters I found earlier – Natural Curiosity came up again as did new articles that I hadn’t located in any other searches. Here’s a link to one I particularly enjoyed. Again by Edutopia:
This option was a good one for me to locate specific information.
Overall: I enjoy Twitter. I like that I can be linked to up-to-date blogs and find a range of ideas on a topic that I am interested in. I am able to search quickly just by reading the mini blurb and explore further using the links attached. I like the way Twitter allows me to see others that I may know or follow, also reading/considering information I know. I am aware that today’s students are using these options more than previous search tools. As can be seen Twitter tweets are often short and have links to other information via #hashtags or known relevant tweets. I added to my already extensive list of “followings” and found new tweeters.
Advantages: range of options to view from videos and photos – can see things people are actually trying in their classrooms or libraries, to known authors and news items; tweets are short and often link to more detail; constant source of new ideas can be tweeted fast through a network of people.
Disadvantages: No major scholarly articles found easily; concern of author bias- authors connecting research they like; can be on here for a long time.
Facebook for me was a very social tool for many years until I discovered the other advantages of this forum for my professional learning. Over time I have built up quite a few relevant “groups” and “pages” to follow in the Educational world related to my areas of interest. Again, there is the power of Facebook which will show me in my daily feeds anything that has been posted in a group or page that I follow. If I wish to search for information I use the “Search Facebook” tab in the top left which allows me to find new information. I search just strings of words, however found sometimes using quotation marks to group two words together also located relevant findings to my searching too. See example below:
From here I went to search “inquiry learning” and library. Facebook brings up any posts from my known friends or groups first and then gives me the option of searching public posts to find more information or to add to my people or groups.
I can see the dates are a little old for the instant world of social media so I add more specifics to my search. I add in the word elementary to see if that provides me with more relevant information. Here advertising for webinars, conferences, actual school posts and the odd article appear. This tells me that my search wasn’t really ideal for what I was wanting. I then remove the quotation marks around inquiry learning. It made no difference. A lot of the same articles, advertising or stories came up.
Facebook is a searching tool that again captures people’s ideas and thinking. It does have links to relevant articles/posts that others share and if you follow these people or groups, they are easy to see regularly. It is a relatively straightforward search engine to use to gather basic information and opinions. My blog favourites : Edutopia and Mind/Shift often also had articles appearing in the Facebook searches I entered.
Advantages: quick and easy to use; range of opinions, can add search words, photos and videos also available; can link with relevant groups; links to well-followed blogs.
Disadvantages: As with Twitter: – No major scholarly articles found easily; concern of author bias- authors connecting research they like; can be on here for a long time; Groups can be formed by anyone…may have no relevance.
So I have now reached the end of my “Searching”. The next post will be a Curation of the collection works I found interesting enough to share related to my main question. The journey continues!!!!