In my Twitter feed this morning, I saw a link to this article, about building a Personal Learning Network. I really love this idea, and I wanted to share it.
Obviously I think that using social media as a learning tool is pretty effective, which is one reason I wanted to start using Twitter and blogs to reach students. My personal Twitter feed is a mishmash of mothers that use cloth diapers, professors tweeting anonymously about students, Community College and Higher Education organizations, feminists, scientists, and basketball analysts. My interests are quite varied, as you can tell.
What's great is that, by building that network of people that I know and who have gotten to know me, I have a ready resource of people that can provide answers to questions that I send out. Sometimes they are just providing some commiseration when, for example, I tweeted that I thought I had lost a document that I had been working on for an hour.
Social media is, well, social. So it is easy to just tweet about your daily activities. But what if you could use social media to build a network of people who could help you learn? What if you could build a network of friends and followers so that if you needed to, while studying, you could seek help?
We know there is a huge social learning component when studying science. That's been proven in the academic literature, and you know the stories if you've been to my introductory lab sessions. Students who study together are more successful. But how do nontraditional students fit study groups into an already crammed schedule? I think this is where social media can be most helpful to students.
There are phone apps for learning anatomy, there are websites that have animations for physiology, but having someone to help you interpret is really helpful. Tweet a link to a site and see who else is interested. Learned a new mnemonic device for remembering the bones of the hand? Share it with your friends on Facebook. You never know when they might post something equally helpful to you.