Social Media for Authentic Learning

Social Media

In this post, we will explore several types of technology, including social media used for learning, blogs, and wikis. We need to remember that although blogs and wikis, in some cases, predated social media, they are considered a part of social media.

When integrating social media to support authentic learning in the classroom or learning situation, we must first define what authentic learning experiences are. Authentic learning experiences are created around real-life, genuine purposes. They engage students in critical thinking and twenty-first-century learning, teach important skills such as research and collaboration, and improve student learning. Authentic learning can rely on technology to develop typical scenarios that learners encounter in real-world settings. Online authentic learning experiences often integrate asynchronous and synchronous communication and social media for teamwork, including collaborative online investigations, resource sharing and knowledge construction. Social media tools, such as blogs and wikis, can help learners find a broader community where they can share information and resources.

Many teachers are also using social media with their students because of the unique ways it can help to prepare them to participate in the workforce as adults. Lessons of this sort may require students to construct online profiles that are intended to accomplish specific results, such as obtaining a job. This can be an important way to convey to students how important it is to think about how one comes across in online communication. People are familiar with the idea that “you never get a second chance to make a first impression,” but online interactions are new enough in social relations that many people have yet to realize that the content they post online—photographs, status updates, or comments on political issues—will almost certainly stay online in some form permanently, despite their best efforts to remove it later (Budra & Burnham, 2012). In as much as part of teachers’ role, in addition to content instruction in core subjects, is to prepare students for the world of adulthood, it is crucial to include in students’ lessons some time devoted to online reputation management (Junco, 2014). This may involve building a resume using a site such as LinkedIn, reviewing one’s online history to spot issues that could potentially be a source of concern in the future, and learning the niceties of online communication (where one must keep in mind that sarcasm and other means of communication are often not perceptible in the absence of nonverbal cues). (Zimmer, 2015)

In part because of greater participation rates among young people, social media’s effects upon the education system have been especially noteworthy. In recent years, educators have begun to embrace various social media not only for their personal use, but also as a tool to connect with their students and to help their students collaborate with one another. Social media is also helping educators find new ways for students to conduct research, because the information that people share in online communities represents a largely untapped source of information.

The use of social media for authentic learning experiences is opening up new possibilities to educators and students, every day. However, when social media is used to systematically harass someone, often in the presence of other members of an online community, the teacher or school must deal with those consequences. There have been many cases of students cyberbullying one another, sometimes with tragic consequences. This trend has caused schools to develop programs to educate youth about the fact that bullying is still bullying, even if it happens online, and that it is behavior that will not be tolerated.

Suggested Reading

Bartow, S. M. (2014). Teaching with social media: Disrupting present day public education. Educational Studies: Journal of the American Educational Studies Association, 50(1), 36-64. Retrieved March 22, 2015 from EBSCO Online Database Education Research Complete.

Bryant, P., Coombs, A., & Pazio, M. (2014). Are we having fun yet? Institutional resistance and the introduction of play and experimentation into learning innovation through social media. Journal of Interactive Media in Education, 2, 32–39. Retrieved March 22, 2015 from EBSCO Online Database Education Research Complete.

Ciampa, M., Thrasher, E. H., & Revel, M. A. (2016). Social media use in academics: Undergraduate perceptions and practices. Journal of Educational Technology, 12(4), 10–19. Retrieved December 27, 2016, from EBSCO online database Education Source.

Gikas, J., & Grant, M. M. (2013). Mobile computing devices in higher education: Student perspectives on learning with cell phones, smartphones & social media. The Internet and Higher Education, 1918–26. Retrieved March 22, 2015 from EBSCO Online Database Academic Search Complete.


Budra, P. V., & Burnham, C. (2012). From text to txting: New media in the classroom. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.

Junco, R. (2014). Engaging students through social media: Evidence based practices for use in student affairs. San Francisco, CA : Jossey-Bass.

Zimmer, S. (2015). Social Media as a Teaching and Learning Tool. Research Starters: Education,

Plugged into Curriculum Development

Being plugged into curriculum development compels one to examine emerging theory in current curricular development, but we have to examine the whole picture in recent education. We have seen educators customize and individualize curriculum according to needs of all students. In many instances, we have seen new assessments (next generation computerized assessments) and other technological resources (adoptino of iPads) being instituted. In addition, we have seen an emphasis on skills over facts in curriculum design. We will explore how emerging trends in curriculum development are demonstrated in specific subject or content areas.

In the K12 arena, English language arts (ELA), reading, or writing (literacy); social studies; mathematics; science; foreign language; the arts; and physical and health education make up what is frequently known as the “common curriculum”.  The common curriculum is what is usually taught in schools everywhere.

How might you as a curriculum developer anticipate a future trend in a subject or content area? How would you identify a political, economic, or other social factor (e.g., wellness’ effect on physical education and health) that has the potential for re-shaping a subject area? How you would identify technology or another outside influence that might affect a subject or content area (e.g., virtual and augmented reality)? Some trends in the given subject areas can be found below:

  • One of the major trends in ELA is the implementation of the Common Core State Standards (2017). According to the National Council of Teachers of English (2017), ELA covers reading, writing, speaking, and listening.
  • The National Council for the Social Studies released its revised national standards, National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies: A Framework for Teaching, Learning, and Assessment (2010). The framework provides a way of organizing knowledge about the human experience in the world.
  • According to the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (2017), one of the major trends in mathematics is the implementation of CCSS (2017).
  • Science has undergone a complete overhaul with the Next Generation Science Standards (2017).
  • According to ShapeAmerica (2017), wellness initiatives across the country have sparked new interest in physical education and health curriculum.
  • According to the American Council for the Teachers of Foreign Language, trends in foreign language education have been divided into two categories: curricular approaches and instructional approaches (2017).
  • The National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (2014), adopted PreK–12 standards in dance, music, theatre, and visual arts in 2014. The voluntary grade-by-grade standards are intended to affirm the place of arts education in a balanced core curriculum, support the 21st-century needs of students and teachers, and help ensure that all students are college and career ready.

Other areas of education that are currently developing standards are vocational-technical learning (more commonly known as career technical education, or CTE) and technology. According to the Advance CTE (2017), CTE gives important opportunities to today’s students in areas such as automotive and auto body, family and consumer science, and engineering and mechanics, among many others.

Many school districts are making the switch from an emphasis on technology integration (Teachers integrate technology into the classroom) to digital learning (students digitally learn).   According to the Alliance for Excellent Education (2017), digital learning can be defined as any instructional practice that effectively uses technology to strengthen a student’s learning experience. According to Dossin (2017), Future Ready Schools (FRS) ensures that digital learning standards align with instructional best practices, are implemented by highly trained teachers, and lead to personalized learning experiences for all students, particularly those from traditionally underserved communities.

Curriculum developers need to keep abreast of the trends in these subject areas. They need to keep up-to-date with new pedagogical methods and best practices.  Just as teachers cannot continue to teach the same content in the same way, in every class, from year to year, curriculum developers must also stay up-to-date.


American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. (2017). American council on the teaching of foreign languages. Retrieved October 10, 2017 from

Alliance for Excellent Education. (2017). Digital learning and future ready schools. Retrieved October 24, 2017, from

Advance CTE. (n.d.). Retrieved October 24, 2017, from

Dossin, L. (2017). Preparing Students for Success. Retrieved October 24, 2017, from

National Core Arts Standards. (2014). National core arts standards. Retrieved October 10, 2017 from

National Council for the Social Studies. (2010). National curriculum standards for social studies: Standards. Retrieved October 10, 2017 from

National Council of Mathematics. (2017). Retrieved October 24, 2017, from

National Council of Teachers of English. (2017). Retrieved October 24, 2017, from

Next Generation Science Standards. (2017). Next generation science standards. Retrieved October 10, 2017 from

Preparing America’s Students for Success. (2017). Common core state standards initiative. Retrieved October 10, 2017 from
Shape America. (n.d.). Retrieved October 24, 2017, from

How To Attract Your Students With Virtual and Augmented Realities

VR and AR

In classroom across the world, educators are exploring how virtual and augmented realities have found their way into classroom enhancing the traditional learning environments by blurring the physical and digital world. In addition to creating comprehensive, rigorous, and coherent curriculum, educators also created a personalized and motivating learning environment for every student. Reducing the gap between the real and digital world makes the learning environment more flexible and adaptive.

Virtual reality and augmented reality have the potential to transform the way educators communicate with students, the way educators attract students to learning. But where do we start? With so many devices, information, and experiences available on the internet, virtual and augmented technologies can be overwhelming.
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Courting Adult Learners in Higher Education

Adult Learners

What adult learners need from traditional colleges and universities.

Although i have a doctoral degree in education, I decided that I wanted to get an MFA in Creative Writing. I had two criterion at the start of my search.  I wanted a wholly online degree program. I wanted a Massachusetts state school (I am an adjunct professor), because I will would hopefully be eligible for a discount on tuition. A wholly online degree program for an MFA in Creative Writing is not to be found in Massachusetts. Framingham State University came the closest but there were English requirements that were courses only available during the day and at the university.

I did not think that my quest for an online MFA in creative writing was unusual, so I started to search in other states. I guess I could pay full tuition. Program after program, I could not find an online MFA in creative writing. There were many reasons that the programs were not wholly online. One of the reasons was that “in-seat” time was required was because of guest lecturers that were famous or successful authors. Fair enough. I guess I would not mind sitting in a class where the guest lecturer was James Patterson or maybe even President Bill Clinton (he’s a fiction writer, now), 

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Standardized LMS Navigation for Student Success

There’s something cathartic about commiserating in unpleasant shared experiences. Like that time you were looking over the courses in your LMS and realized that they had no standardized navigation. Maybe, that’s the reason for the uptick of emails from lost and confused students. You felt like a terrible, horrible, no good LMS administrator. Horrifying at the time, but when you describe the situation later to a fellow LMS admin, you feel a little better about that same situation happening to them.

Anthony (2012) researched the design of online courses and found that consistent course design is the most vital factor for student interaction and success. Recently, I was reviewing an online course for an LMS administrator friend of mine. I read the following message on a discussion board on the course’s second week. Student; “I can’t find the textbook information”. Teacher; “The textbook information is where it always is”. Not surprisingly, the student stopped submitting assignments on week six. Continue reading “Standardized LMS Navigation for Student Success”