Social Media in Teaching and Learning

ISTE Coaching Standard 3 Collaborator

Coaches establish productive relationships with educators in order to improve instructional practice and learning outcomes. Coaches:

b.Partner with educators to identify digital learning content that is culturally relevant, developmentally appropriate and aligned to content standards.

c.Partner with educators to evaluate the efficacy of digital learning content and tools to inform procurement decisions and adoption.

Social media has become ubiquitous. Educators have been using social media in their personal lives and professional teaching. Although research has shown that social media can be used as an effective educational tool for educators to enhance educators’ network of contacts, engage students in important discussions, extend educators’ own learning and even provide a platform for students learning. How to support educators to identify and evaluate the use of social media in teaching and learning to address the concerns of privacy and safety for himself and students? 

A research from the University of Central Florida reported that electronic devices and social media create an opportunity for the students for collaborative learning and also allow the students to share the resource materials to their peers. Social media also allows the students to create, edit and share the course content

s in textual, video or audio forms. These technological innovations give birth to a new kind of learning culture, learning based on the principles of collective exploration and interaction (Ansari & Khan, 2020). While we know the effectiveness of social media in creating opportunities for learners in collaborative learning, creating and engaging the students in various activities, do most teachers agree and incorporate social media in their teaching?

Seaman and Tinti-Kane (2013) conducted a study using a representative sample of teaching faculty from across all of higher education, the study probes their use of social media, as well as what value they see in including social media sites as part of the instructional process. Research points out that ​​educators are much more willing to embrace social media in their personal lives than they are to use it for professional or teaching purposes. Use of social media for teaching purposes has increased every year. However, the number of educators who use social media in the classroom still does not represent a majority, but teaching use continues its steady year-to-year growth. Concerns about privacy, both for themselves and for their students, and about maintaining the class as a private space for free and open discussion, have been at the top of the list of concerns in all of the reports.

The result showed that faculty members have not widely or uncritically embraced social media for teaching purposes because they continue to have many concerns. Faculty with concerns about privacy were asked about five different specific privacy issues for students and faculty.

The study also pointed out that until educators feel that this issue has been addressed, the wide-scale adoption of commercial social media tools in the classroom will remain limited.

There are the Dos and Don’ts of using social media for teachers suggestions from Knoll (2017). 

  • Do stay in contact with your students through the power of texts.
  • Don’t connect directly with students.
  • Do follow colleagues you know, respect and like.
  • Don’t follow colleagues you don’t know, don’t respect or don’t like.
  • Do show what you are proud of.
  • Don’t share personal pictures or tag other teachers.
  • Do encourage students to make the most of their social media accounts.
  • Don’t use social media to tell stories that don’t reflect well on you or your profession.
  • Do talk to your students about the ramifications of their social posting.
  • Don’t post during school hours.

It can be a challenge to incorporate social media into lessons. There are many gray areas for teachers to navigate, like setting guidelines, accessibility at school, and student safety. Here are some helpful resources for four popular networks, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest for teachers (Davis, 2013). 

Guild to Use Twitter in Your Teaching Practice 

Facebook Guide for Teachers 

The Educator’s Guide to Instagram and Other Photo Apps

40 Ways Teachers Can Use Pinterest In The Classroom

According to Magid and Gallagher(2015), social media is part of the world we live in and, even if you don’t use it, chances are that it affects you simply because many of the people around you – including students, colleagues and parents – are using it. When used thoughtfully, social media can enhance educators’ network of contacts, engage students in important discussions, extend educators’ own learning and even provide a platform for class projects. Social media services and apps can also be used as educational tools, but there are important issues to consider including privacy, appropriate content, security and educators’ comfort level with the apps and services.

References

Ansari, J.A.N., Khan, N.A. (2020), Exploring the Role of Social Media in Collaborative Learning the New Domain of Learning. Smart Learn. Retrieved August 14th from https://slejournal.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s40561-020-00118-7#citeas

Seaman, J., Tinti-Kane, H., (2013), Social Media for Teaching and Learning. Retrieved August 14th from file:///Users/vivili/Downloads/social-media-for-teaching-and-learning-2013-report.pdf

Knoll, K., (2017), The Dos and Don’ts of Social Media for Teachers. Retrieved from August 14th from https://www.weareteachers.com/dos-donts-social-media-for-teachers/

Davis, M., (2013), Social Media for Teachers: Guides, Resources, and Ideas. Retrieved from August 14th from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/social-media-resources-educators-matt-davis

Magid, L., and Gallagher, K.(2015), The Educator’s Guide to Social Media. Retrieved from August 14th from https://www.connectsafely.org/eduguide/

Recognizing Confirmation Bias in Digital Age

Examples of confirmation bias

During the past 4 years working with middle school students in a Social Studies class, I have observed that students are more concerned with content relevance than with credibility, they are more likely to choose information that meets their judgments which are often vague, superficial, and lacking in reasoned justification, and they are more likely to believe information confirming existing beliefs and ideas of themselves, parents, or social groups they belong to. 

Confirmation bias is the “tendency to cherry-pick information that confirms our existing beliefs or ideas.” (Street, 2019). The tendency to confirm existing beliefs, rather than questioning them or seeking new ones became more concerning in the digital age among our students who access all kinds of information through technology. According to ISTE standard 3B, supporting students to evaluate the accuracy, perspective, credibility and relevance of information, media, data or other resources by recognizing the influence of confirmation bias becomes urgent. 

First, we must understand how confirmation bias works in our brains. According to Street (2019), human brains prefer to take shortcuts without using mental energy to evaluate evidence, especially since we are now constantly receiving new information and have to make complex choices under pressure in the digital age. Accepting information that confirms our belief is much easier and less metal energy consuming. Therefore, our brains tend to avoid contradicting information. It makes confirmation bias to be fundamental to our brain and reality that we might not even realize it is happening. 

Street (2019) argued that it is impossible to overcome confirmation bias without an awareness of the concept and behavior. Critically thinking is more motivated to happen when we are held accountable by others. “If we are expected to justify our beliefs, feelings, and behaviors to others, we are less likely to be biased towards confirmatory evidence.”

In the article “Enhance Digital Citizenship with this lesson on Confirmation Bias”, the author used the example of how the human brain is similar to computers in that it takes inputs, processes them and then produces outputs to explain brains can be hacked by bias. 

He listed out the steps for teacher to help students to confront confirmation bias by using examples in a lesson plan:

  1. Define Confirmation Bias
  2. Conceptualize Confirmation Bias With an Activity
  3. Connect Confirmation Bias and Digital Citizenship
  4. Develop Strategies to Overcome Confirmation Bias
  5. Put These Strategies into Action

The author also shared strategies for students to improve their reasoning process. 

  • If you have an opinion on a subject, assume that said opinion is wrong.
  • When looking for evidence (inputs), look for evidence that may poke holes in the original point of view.
  • The more inputs (evidence) you have, the more outputs (data, facts) you can produce.
  • Verify that your information is coming from a reliable source.
  • Always be willing to change your mind in the face of more evidence.
Https://Equip.Learning.Com/Digital-Citizenship-Confirmation-Bias.

In conclusion, we must commit to the hard work to recognize and analyze how our biases have shaped us and our society. According to Diddams (2021), while questioning our own beliefs is difficult since biases also create blind spots, the power of unity can support us and our students to be more successful in dealing with biased beliefs in the digital age. 

Reference

Arreola, M. (2020, June 26). Enhance Digital Citizenship With This Lesson on Confirmation Bias. Https://Equip.Learning.Com/Digital-Citizenship-Confirmation-Bias.

Street, F. (2019, August 3). Confirmation Bias And the Power of Disconfirming Evidence. Farnam Street. https://fs.blog/2017/05/confirmation-bias/

Diddams, M. (2021, February 3). The Rationality of Irrationality. https://christianscholars.com/the-rationality-of-irrationality/

Mission Statement in Digital Education Leadership

Teaching in title one schools in the past six years and leading global education work in international schools, my experience in serving diverse and multicultural communities has shaped my personal and professional values in moving forward as a digital education leader. I am committed to support educators and students to take responsibility of digital actions to create and enforce a safe and secure environment for all students regardless racial and cultural backgrounds, to be aware and challenge media bias and develop vastly different understanding of basic facts in media, and to understand and utilized technologies to build connection and relationship in digital age.  

Responsibility, Privacy, and Digital Identity 

According to Ribble and Miller (2013), the current gap in technology knowledge and lack of leadership preparation related to digital literacy and citizenship for school environment can cause serious problems. Digital citizenship is a concern for educators, school leader and parents.  

I have been working as a middle school teacher in the past 4 years, I have witnessed student I personally had connection with experienced depression due to cyber bullying; I have worked with students who lost all their reading credits from online reading program because others logged on to their account to clear their effort; and I have experienced students posted threaten message in social media and our school needed to get polices to investigate. I have realized the urgency to prepare students, especially secondary students for a digital future that is safe, healthy, and effective, and the need to help students to take caution on their personal data and information use and be responsible for their digital actions.  

ISTE standard 7d addressed that digital education leaders should empower educator, leadersand students to make informed decisions to protect their personal data and curate the digital profile they intend to reflect. The concept of privacy in students while they establish their personal identify in the digital community is critically important in digital citizenship education.During the study of Middle School Students’ Social Media Use by Martin and Wang (2018), middle school students have not fully established the awareness and capabilities to protect themselves and they also try to keep online social information from their parents and teachers. One of the data demonstrated their willingness to accept friend request from unknow people was 40%.  It shows that security education for middle school students is a concern and needs to be addressed in digital citizenship education.  

“Avital part of growing up is forming our identity. Identity is often reflected as how you perceive yourself as well as how other perceive you.” (Martin, 2018, p215) Students navigate websites and use different social medias, they post their pictures, their preferences, theirlocation or their personal life to establish their identity. They are not aware that their actions online if not easily anonymous when they are offline, and they need to take responsibility of their online actions in real life. Cyber bullying and online harassment often are the results of irresponsible online behaviors that can lead to depression and even suicide in real life.  

Digital privacy is where the boundaries are when sharing information about oneself and others online. The process of creating log in accounts, usernames and passwords is another way to establish an identity online. Students need to learn how to create strong passwords and protect their private information on their user accounts, such as address, phone number, or financial information. Educators need to consider including concept of identity theft, data theft online scams into curriculums.  In the ISTE blog (Zumpano, 2019), it is recommended that teaching digital responsibility includes the concept of digital privacy and identity, and it should be implemented into curriculum with scope and sequence in earlier age to ensure students are well prepared take responsibility to create a safe and secure digital environment for others as well.  

Bias awareness in Digital Information  

Bias regardless is conscious or unconscious against the value of diversity and equality. The community I am serving has a high percentage of students of color and students who are underserved.  Bias awareness allows us to build strong relationship with others and positive environment in our community.  

Media sources have tremendous power in influencing young people’s belief or perspectives toward their community and individuals in their community. Bias is especially harmful while individuals are not aware of their implicit bias and lack of reflection to examine the bias in digital sources. It is an important step for students to develop vastly different understandings of the basic facts of a digital information. 

ISTE standard 7a, our goal is to inspire and encourage educators and students to use technology for civic engagement and to address challenges to improve their communities. It requires students to understand diversity, cultural understanding, and global awareness in using technology and digital communication tools in order to engage and challenge the issues in the community. Bias is a tendency to believe that some people or ideas are better than others, which often results in treating some people unfairly. “Particularly social media, bias enters through the backdoor of design optimization in which the humans who create the algorithms and hidden from view.” (Ruha, 2019, 5-6) According to ISTE standard 7c: Support educators and students to critically examine the sources of online media and identify underlying assumptions, we need to help students understand their own implicit bias and to question whether information should be trusted or not. In the article of “How to Detect Bias in News Media”, it lists strategies to challenge bias in news media by asking ourselves questions:  

  • Who are the sources? Political perspective of the sources used in a story often tend to serve as megaphones for those in power.  
  • Is there a lack of diversity? Did the media reflect the diversity of the community they sever?  
  • Whose point of view is the news reported? Did the people evolve in the issue have their voice in the media?  
  • Are these double standards? Search for parallel example or similar stories that were reported differently.  
  • Do stereotypes skew coverage? Did the article or news involve in stereotypes and characterize individuals unfairly? 
  • What are the unchallenged assumptions?  
  • Is the language loaded? Language choice can give people an inaccurate impression on the story or issue. 
  • Is there a lack of context?  
  • Do the headlines and stories match?  
  • Are stories on important issues featured prominently?  

Here is a quote my district used to confirm the importance of using critical thinking as a strategy to examine information we received: “A democratic education means that we educate people in a way that ensures they can think independently that they can use information, knowledge, and technology, among other things, to draw their own conclusions. “by Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond from Stanford University. 

Connection and Relationship Building 

When I think of connection, it means knowing, belonging, trusting, and respecting. I believe humans are profoundly social species; we want to connect with others since we were born as we want to have connection with our parents and throughout our lives as adults. Technology has changed the way we connect with others as it allows us to reach further and more.  

In the article of “The Future of Well-Being in a Tech-Saturated World,” Janna and Lee argued that technology has brought more positive impact to human connection than negative impact because “digital life links people to people, knowledge, education and entertainment anywhere globally at any time in an affordable, nearly frictionless manner”. According to the interviewer in their research, Daniel Weitzner who is a principal research scientist and founding director of MIT’s Internet Policy Research Initiative shared his idea that internet is the ultimate connection machine to fulfill the need of connection for human as “internet connect people with meaningful and rewarding information and relationships.”  

Although I personally benefited from technology to stay connected with family and friends in other countries, it seems too ideal that technology only brings positive impact to our social connection. The article “The Digital Age: Are We Losing Human Connection?” argued thatvirtual connection in the form of cyber bulling, trolls and grooming can result in rejection which leads to a significant effect on individual resilience and perception of self in young children, and it can carry over into adulthood. It listed examples of people feeling rejected in virtual society: 

  • Social media enables and promotes social comparison to others and create a feeling of “I am not good enough”.  
  • The rise of the fear of missing out and lost the membership in a group occurs when people don’t tune in and keep up to date in social media.  
  • People lacking social skills to make friends on-line potentially leading to more isolation  
  • Constant checking, and interrupting ‘in the moment’ social interactions not only perpetuates immediate gratification for the user but can have a negative impact on others present.  

According to ISTE standard 7b, Partner with educators, leaders, students and families to foster a culture of respectful online interactions and a healthy balance in their use of technology. The goal to foster a culture of respectful online interactions should be built upon the foundation of positive social connections in the digital world. While technology truly bring the convenience to connect more people in more places, the social connection we make through technology should always be reflected on its quality.  

Quality student teacher relationships often can be reflected on student’s engagement, motivation, or performance. In the article “Creating birds of similar feathers: Leveraging similarity to improve teacher-student relationships and academic achievement”, Dr. Hunter Gehlbach and colleagues found that when students and teachers discover what they have in common, they are more likely to foster a positive and quality relationship—which can improve student performance and reduce achievement gaps, especially for our underserved students like African American and Latino students. One of the suggestions to build positive students teacher relationship is using “get to know you” survey and use student and teacher shared interests to start conversations and provide more small groups or individual opportunities to meet virtually and connect with students.   

References 

Ribble, M., Northern Miller, T., “Educational Leadership in an Online World: Connecting Students to Technology Responsibly, Safely, and Ethically,” Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 17:1 (2013): 137-45 

Martin, F., Wang, C., Petty, T., Wang, W., & Wilkins, P. (2018). Middle School Students’ Social Media Use. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 21(1), 213-224. Retrieved October 2, 2020, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/26273881 

Zumpano, N. (2019, October 17). 5 things students should do to stay safe and secure online. Retrieved October 09, 2020, from https://www.iste.org/explore/Digital-and-media-literacy/5-things-students-should-do-to-stay-safe-and-secure-online 

Nickerson, R.S. (1998). Confirmation Bias: A Ubiquitous Phenomenon in Many Guises. Review of General Psychology, 2, 175 – 220. https://www.npr.org/2015/12/21/460602085/digital-culture-critic-abandons-fake-on-the-internet-column

Ruha Benjamin, “Introduction,” Race after Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code (Medford, MA: Polity, 2019), 1-32 https://fair.org/take-action-now/media-activism-kit/how-to-detect-bias-in-news-media/

Janna Anderson and Lee Rainie, “The Future of Well-Being in a Tech-Saturated World,” Pew Research Center, April 17, 2018 

Jones, L. (2018). The Digital Age: Are We Losing Human Connection? Retrieved from https://thriveglobal.com/stories/the-digital-age-are-we-losing-human-connection/

Gehlbach, H., Brinkworth, M. E., King, A. M., Hsu, L. M., McIntyre, J., & Rogers, T (2016).  Journal of Educational Psychology, 108 (3), 342-352. https://scholar.harvard.edu/files/todd_rogers/files/creating_birds_0.pdf

Digital Privacy and Responsibility in Middle School Students

The concept of privacy in students while they establish their personal identify in the digital community is critically important in digital citizenship education. In this post, I am focusing on ISTE standard 7d with my question why is important to help educator, leaders and students to make informed decisions to protect their personal data and curate the digital profile they intend to reflect.  

According to Ribble and Miller (2013), the current gap in technology knowledge and lack of leadership preparation related to digital literacy and citizenship for school environment can cause serious problems. Digital citizenship is a concern for educators, school leader and parents. Educators realized the urgence to prepare our students, especially secondary students for a digital future that is safe, healthy, and effective, and the need to help students to take caution on their personal data and information use. The reason I am focusing on the study for secondary students because they are in a transition stage which owns more control and access to technology compare to elementary school students but have less training, experience, and maturity compare to higher education students. Secondary students, especially middle school students have showed high percentage in online risky behaviors (Martin &Wang, 2018).  

During the study of Middle School Students’ Social Media Use by Martin and Wang (2018), middle school students have not fully established the awareness and capabilities to protect themselves and they also try to keep social information from their parents and teachers. One of the data demonstrated their willingness to accept friend request from unknow people was 40%.  It shows that security education for middle school students is a concern and need to be addressed in digital citizenship education.  

“Avital part of growing up is forming our identity. Identity is often reflected as how you perceive yourself as well as how other perceive you.”(Martin, 2018, p215) Students navigate websites and use different social medias, they post their pictures, their preferences, their location or their personal life to establish their identity. They are not aware that their actions online if not easily anonymous when they are offline, and they need to take responsibility of their online actions in real life. Cyber bullying and online harassment often are the results of irresponsible online behaviors that can lead to depression and even suicide in real life.  

Digital privacy is where the boundaries are when sharing information about oneself and others online. The process of creating log in accounts, usernames and passwords is another way to establish an identity online. Students need to learn how to create strong passwords and protect their private information on their user accounts, such as address, phone number, or financial information. Educators need to consider including concept of identity theft, data theft online scams into curriculums just like how we teach young children not to accept food from strangers or get into stranger’s cars to protect themselves from harm.  

In the ISTE blog, it is recommended that teaching digital responsibility and concept of privacy and digital identity should start early. It is not just for secondary students and it needs to be built into a curriculum with scope and sequence since kindergarten to ensure they are well papered to be safe and take responsibility to create a safe and secure digital environment for others as well.  

School leaders and educators must become aware and begin addressing the need to help students to understand the concept of privacy when they establish identify online to prepare them to be responsible adults in the digital age.  

References 

Martin, F., Wang, C., Petty, T., Wang, W., & Wilkins, P. (2018). Middle School Students’ Social Media Use. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 21(1), 213-224. Retrieved October 2, 2020, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/26273881 

Ribble,M., Northern Miller, T.,, “Educational Leadership in an Online World: Connecting Students to Technology Responsibly, Safely, and Ethically,” Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 17:1 (2013): 137-45 

Zumpano,N. (2019). 5 things students should do to stay safe and secure online. Retrieved from https://www.iste.org/explore/Digital-and-media-literacy/5-things-students-should-do-to-stay-safe-and-secure-online