Everyone is talking about the best practices for Flipped Classrooms these days. I’ve even seen some excellent arguments for calling a ‘Flipped Classroom’ a Modern Classroom and the pedagogical model we were taught in a “Retro-Classroom”. Check out Andrew Douchy’s Blog post on this topic here. Teachers KNOW that technology offers them opportunities to boost student engagement and that they can ask their students to watch online material before class to make better use of the actual in-class time. With our clinical focus, flipped classrooms are more appealing than ever because they cater to the idea that time spent in class could be spent entirely on practice-based learning.
ATSU is at the forefront of current Medical Education trends, because their medical students spend only their first year on campus. From there they are assigned to various clinics to continue their practice on-site and their education online. But how can professors assess how well their students are understanding, engaging with, and incorporating what they are learning into their lives? I’m a big fan of using online polling (and accompanying analytics) for in-class analysis, but I want to go even further and suggest teachers start incorporating Social Media into their classrooms.
Why Social Media?
Social Media is appealing because students share it with the world. Teaching your students to be critical about their online presence is a definite plus. It also makes your students more invested in what they publish because it is visible outside the classroom. Students can choose to create a professional/academic account or post to their personal account. Either choice comes with distinct benefits. Sharing on a personal account deepens the student’s roots with his or her community. Students will find that friends or family members comment upon their posts and extent their involvement deeper into their everyday lives. Sharing on a professional account primes the student for later inter-professional work, creating lasting social ties with colleagues or future mentors.
How do you get them involved?
Edutopia recently posted about “Makergrams”– using Instagram’s 1 minute videos to tell their stories. Upgrading this concept to the medical, graduate level- students can produce 1 minute videos outlining points of care, patient followup, or even 1 minute overviews of a class concept. These videos can be as informal or formal as your student wants. There are so many high-quality video editing apps available, that your student shouldn’t feel like he or she cannot produce publishable material.
To track student work you may want to encourage them to use a class-focused hashtag. Creating a unique hashtag will help you find student content quickly AND it will automatically create an archive of material students may want to return to later.
You’ll need to set down clear guidelines and expectations. Do you want students to comment on one another’s posts? If so you need to make sure that students use a platform like Instagram rather than Facebook so that they have the choice of creating a second account.
You will also need to make sure the student makes his or her account open to the public. The entire point of this exercise is to make he content the student produces accessible by the public so that they interact with interested parties beyond just their cohort.
Finally, and this is optional, you can make an account to re-post or re-tweet the student posts that you want to share. Sharing them in-class keeps students engaged, but there is always an added distinction for student-produced work to be re-circulated on your professional or class-based social media account.
Why #SocialMediaMonday ?
Student engagement is almost always improved when students feel like their instructor is interested in what they produce. Use #SocialMediaMonday as a way to look over the previous week and highlight student-produced videos or tweets. Starting each class highlighting student work will not only make students feel like their work is valuable (and should be high enough quality that they don’t mind that it is shared with their peers), it will also serve as a quick review session for the topics covered the week before.