Teaching a old dog a new trick

Today I ran a session for a group which was made up of UHS T&d Management staff, and a few of the UHS education leads. The funny part about this session was that as I looked around the room before I started, there were years and years of education experience staring back at me. Usually it is me who learns from these people – but this time they had turned up to learn from me.

The group had come along to learn more about social media, and how it could be used within education. It was a mixed group – we had a number of people who would consider themselves as seasoned users of social media (they haven’t used it for a long time, but have got the basics mastered), and then there were some who had only recently registered a twitter account, and were still unsure who to follow.

So I decided to try and be clever, and I set a video camera up to record the session, but combined this with setting the SMART Board to screen capture everything which happened on screen. This proved to be my downfall, as although I had tested everything seperately, I had not tried to screen capture the screen at the same time as running my powerpoint presentation, and loading a youtube video. The end result was the the poor PC ground to a halt about 5 minutes into the session – and resulted in me needing to cancel the screen capture to allow the PC to start functioning again. Julie kindly took to twitter to highlight the error of my ways:

Having overcome my issues – we moved on through the session. As the aim was to run this over a lunchtime – I kept it as condensed as possible – and we started with a group exercise about identifying what social media was, and what social networks there were. I was genuinely surprised at some of the networks which were mentioned, the group clearly had a wider knowledge than I thought they would have (I never expected to get suggestions including things like Pinterest), although I think even they were surprised when I placed a small list of 150+ list of social networks on screen. Like so many people, I don’t think many of them thought there were too many more than the ‘well known’ networks.

From here, we moved to highlighting the key aspects of four social networks (you tube, linked in, twitter and facebook). The idea was to highlight some of the history and uses of the various networks, before looking into how they operated. It’s fair to say that most people had a good knowledge of these four networks and their uses, however many had not thought about how they could be linked into education.

We looked at how these could be used for knowledge sharing, and research/information gathering, but the real ‘light bulb moment’ was talking about the use of video. For a group so knowledgeable, so few had considered the basic concept of recording their message to allow for people who were not present to be delivered the same consistent message.

We also looked at the basic functionality of the networks – then closed with a video message which had been supplied by the facilitator of our next session – which worked perfectly – perfectly illustrating the use of social media to promote education.

My key takeaways:

  1. Whilst it’s nice to use the technology – consider the full impact of what your doing – as too much technology can be a bad thing
  2. Don’t over complicate things. For all the technology I promote throughout UHS – I haven’t spent long enough promoting a basic technology such as video