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Using Social Media Effectively in the Classroom: Blogs, Wikis, Twitter, and More

reviewed by Amy J. Good - May 11, 2014

coverTitle: Using Social Media Effectively in the Classroom: Blogs, Wikis, Twitter, and More
Author(s): Kay Kyeong-Ju Seo
Publisher: Routledge, New York
ISBN: 0415896800, Pages: 240, Year: 2012
Search for book at Amazon.com

Using Social Media Effectively in the Classroom is a practical text by Kay Seo. The editor has compiled work from experts in the field of technology in education. The editor would like to help educators create a powerful sense of community within web-based environments and provide a resource for teachers to avoid and resolve potential issues with online learning communities. It seems the purpose of the text is to help current and future teachers with useful methods for utilizing social media to best support learners, and the author and several contributors from the field of education and technology have accomplished this. One strong point of this text is the organization of the four units as instructional design phases to help guide educators to facilitate interactive classroom communities. It would be helpful if the contributing author of each chapter addressed how the chapter met the overall purpose of the text. For example, Chapter Four is about designing recorded voice reflection as a pedagogical strategy. It could have a section where the author shares a summary of the instructional strategy and a space for the reader to reflect on questions and issues. Another suggestion is for the editor to have an accompanying website with samples of the ideas posted or web resource links along with the traditional sources at the end of each chapter.

This is a well-written text, organized in a thoughtful manner, with a realistic message that is interesting, timely, and worthwhile. Any educator considering setting up an online learning community or utilizing social media in the classroom should read it. This book will help beginning and experienced teachers to understand how and why they should consider using social media in the classroom effectively. I found it enjoyable because I teach social studies methods and the discussion of using Second Life or virtual life is intriguing. The disciplines of social studies (history, geography, economics, political science, sociology, anthropology) could be explored through historical narratives, documentary online videos, online forums, polls, friending significant people and places, virtual field trips, etc. It would be worthwhile for any methods instructor to consider the use of social media for the first time or when reflecting on its current use.

The authors style and voice can be found in Unit One, Chapter Two. As the editor of the work, Kay Seos book is a compilation of current work and ideas for educators. Each contributors work is easy to read and does not require expertise in technology to comprehend and utilize the information. The presentation of the content is clear and manageable.
Seo is also the co-editor of another book, Designing Problem-Driven Instruction with Online Social Media, and serves on the editorial advisory boards of several journals related to instructional technology. She has written numerous journal articles and book chapters related to this topic as well. Dr. Seo has published her research studies in top-tier, peer-reviewed journals such as the American Journal of Distance Education, Computers & Education, and Educational Technology Research and Development. In the preface, she outlines how this book aims to explore the educational potential of blogs, wikis, Twitter, etc. Seo states the book will provide concrete, unique ideas for instructional design. She shares how the book addresses trends and potential issues when designing an enriched, user-centered environment

As mentioned, the purpose of the text is to show educators how to utilize social media to support learning, describe practical ideas for utilization of social media in the classroom, and finally to present significant issues to be considered when planning, instructing, and managing a web-based learning community.  One issue might be that younger generations view social media as just thata place to be social, not a place to learn. This nonfiction work could be used in a course for training educators, professional development, or personal growth. The book is arranged in four parts: (a) Planning a Socially Enriched Learning Environment, (b) Developing Powerful Instructional Strategies with Social Media, (c) Teaching Successfully with Social Media, and (d) Assessing Instructional Effectiveness with Social Media. Each part includes three to four chapters with resource lists. This arrangement makes it convenient for a methods course instructor to arrange readings at different segments of a semester.

I think it might be helpful to the reader if each chapter had an outlined section with lesson ideas for utilizing material in the classroom. The section could include a plan, an instructional strategy, and an assessment method that would fit well with the material of that chapter. Or this could be a section at the end of the chapter with space for notes. In this proposed section, the author could provide a summary of each learning experience within each chapter, so the reader can see the relevance of the experience with the chapter content. The section could include helpful and suggested relevant websites for supplemental resources. It would enhance the text to have reflective questions for each chapter.

The cover emphasizes the topic of social media. The author has adequately reached the audience of teachers, teacher educators, and teacher candidates. It is not clear from the title the level of educators in the target audience (pre-K, elementary, junior high, high school, or adult learners); however, by not denoting the level or focus, the book becomes attractive to all professional educators. Every teacher could benefit from reading this text; they would especially benefit from reading the practical suggestions for enhancing their own classroom communities, online or face-to-face. Whether you agree with the use of social media in the classroom or not, it is good to reflect on the educational potential for any social media, current technologies, or web based tools.

Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: May 11, 2014
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 17529, Date Accessed: 10/27/2021 7:47:29 PM

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About the Author
  • Amy Good
    University of North Carolina
    E-mail Author
    AMY J. GOOD, PhD is an Associate Professor and Elementary Education Program Coordinator at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Amy has published articles in Theory and Research in Social Education, Social Studies Research and Practice, and The Social Studies. She writes about advocating for the social studies, managing the social studies learning environment, and technology integration.
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