I’ve been meaning to write an article about social media and learning for a long time. I’d planned to write about the benefits of wikis for collaborative group tasks; the joys of reflecting on one’s own learning with blogs; the ease with which we can share and discuss on social networks; and the plethora of still and moving imagery available on sites such as Flickr and YouTube. I was intending to demystify the world of social media for our avid readers. Instead I will simply link to a presentation about social media by Sarah Stewart.
Sarah is Professional Development Officer at Australian College of Midwives and she spoke to us a while ago about social media in higher education. She kindly and very sensibly (because her work and enthusiasm is made available to a far wider audience) puts her presentations on Slideshare.
I can view lots of Sarah’s presentations on Slideshare – she has 67 on there at the moment. On each one I can leave a comment, if I feel so inclined, or I can respond to someone else’s comments. By clicking on the ‘Share’ button on any presentation I can easily email the URL of the presentation to anyone and can share it on any Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook accounts I may have.
In addition to viewing her presentations, from Sarah’s profile page on Slideshare I can private message her, find her blog, and find her on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Her twitter stream is actually embedded in her profile page (which adds an element of immediacy) just to make things a little easier.
When someone views any of her presentations they have the opportunity to ‘tag’ them with words and phrases that they feel are appropriate. Doing this builds a tag cloud which is constantly growing and changing, reflecting what viewers think of the presentations. A great way to quickly see what viewers feel the presentations are mostly about.
I can also ‘follow’ Sarah on Slideshare (so I can keep up with new presentations she uploads, for example) and I can see who else follows her and who she follows. Do you follow? She is currently followed by 96 people – presumably people who have an interest in her work, some of whom might have the same interests as me. I might take a look at some of them and see what they are up to. Sarah follows 67 people – presumably people whose work she has an interest in and people who I might find interesting too. I’m going to have a look at some of them too.
All in all, Slideshare really is a very social space and there is a heck of a lot of media there. And using a presentation I found on Slideshare that covers all and more than what I had planned to say about social media, rather than spending hours creating a less adequate version of my own, makes a lot of sense. Discuss.