Parallel running of two social media from different countries: WeChat and blog for international students
Our work with Chinese students from the Confucius Institute (CI) at St. Cloud State University (SCSU) shed light on an interesting development: in the last several years, the popular Chinese social media platform WeChat dominates the social life of Chinese people, Chinese students in particular.
Based on the WeChat affinity of the Chinese students at the SCSU CI program, the program organizers faced difficulty applying other social media platforms, as part of the curricula of the host country. Namely, blog, as one of the widely used SM platform for creative writing (citation comes here), was contemplated as a SM platform for the Chinese students to journal their experience at the SCSU CI program. Since WeChat behaves rather like Facebook and Snapchat, the lack of opportunity to utilize widely available platform for rather lengthy narration (versus SMS/texting abilitis of Twitter and WeChat) convince the SCSU CI program organizers to seek the buy in by Chinese students into the blog initiative.
Pang (2018) builds a theory based on Ellison (2007) theory of “maintained social capital,” namely the ability of individuals to maintain values of social ties when geographically disconnected. Ping (2018) further narrows her research on Chinese students in Germany using Li and Chen (2014) findings about Ellison’s theory on students in a foreign environment and the necessity for these students to build a new circle of friends in the host country. According to Basilisco an Cha (2015), such environment was provided for Filipino students by using Facebook and Twitter.
Agur, C., Belair-Gagnon, V., & Frish, N. (2018). Mobile sourcing: A case study of journalistic norms and usage of chat apps. Mobile Meida and Communication, 6(1), 53–70. https://doi.org/DOI: 10.1177/2050157917725549
Chen, Y. (2017). WeChat use among Chinese college students: Exploring gratifications and political engagement in China. Journal of International and Intercultural Communication, 10(1), 25–43. https://doi.org/10.1080/17513057.2016.1235222
Pang, H. (2016). Understanding key factors affecting young people’s WeChat usage: an empirical study from uses and gratifications perspective. International Journal of Web Based Communities, 12(3), 262. https://doi.org/10.1504/IJWBC.2016.077757
Pang, H. (2018). Understanding the effects of WeChat on perceived social capital and psychological well-being among Chinese international college students in Germany. Aslib Journal of Information Management, 70(3), 288–304. https://doi.org/DOI 10.1108/AJIM-01-2018-0003
Run Zhi Zhu, X. L. X. (2015). The Influence of Social Media on Sleep Quality: A Study of Undergraduate Students in Chongqing, China. Journal of Nursing & Care, 04(03). https://doi.org/10.4172/2167-1168.1000253
Wang, Y., Fang, W.-C., Han, J., & Chen, N.-S. (2016). Exploring the affordances of WeChat for facilitating teaching, social and cognitive presence in semi-synchronous language exchange. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology. https://doi.org/10.14742/ajet.2640
United States digital literacy frameworks tend to focus on educational policy details and personal empowerment, the latter encouraging learners to become more effective students, better creators, smarter information consumers, and more influential members of their community.
National policies are vitally important in European digital literacy work, unsurprising for a continent well populated with nation-states and struggling to redefine itself, while still trying to grow economies in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent financial pressures
African digital literacy is more business-oriented.
Middle Eastern nations offer yet another variation, with a strong focus on media literacy. As with other regions, this can be a response to countries with strong state influence or control over local media. It can also represent a drive to produce more locally-sourced content, as opposed to consuming material from abroad, which may elicit criticism of neocolonialism or religious challenges.
p. 14 Digital literacy for Humanities: What does it mean to be digitally literate in history, literature, or philosophy? Creativity in these disciplines often involves textuality, given the large role writing plays in them, as, for example, in the Folger Shakespeare Library’s instructor’s guide. In the digital realm, this can include web-based writing through social media, along with the creation of multimedia projects through posters, presentations, and video. Information literacy remains a key part of digital literacy in the humanities. The digital humanities movement has not seen much connection with digital literacy, unfortunately, but their alignment seems likely, given the turn toward using digital technologies to explore humanities questions. That development could then foster a spread of other technologies and approaches to the rest of the humanities, including mapping, data visualization, text mining, web-based digital archives, and “distant reading” (working with very large bodies of texts). The digital humanities’ emphasis on making projects may also increase
Digital Literacy for Business: Digital literacy in this world is focused on manipulation of data, from spreadsheets to more advanced modeling software, leading up to degrees in management information systems. Management classes unsurprisingly focus on how to organize people working on and with digital tools.
Digital Literacy for Computer Science: Naturally, coding appears as a central competency within this discipline. Other aspects of the digital world feature prominently, including hardware and network architecture. Some courses housed within the computer science discipline offer a deeper examination of the impact of computing on society and politics, along with how to use digital tools. Media production plays a minor role here, beyond publications (posters, videos), as many institutions assign multimedia to other departments. Looking forward to a future when automation has become both more widespread and powerful, developing artificial intelligence projects will potentially play a role in computer science literacy.
In traditional instruction, students’ first contact with new ideas happens in class, usually through direct instruction from the professor; after exposure to the basics, students are turned out of the classroom to tackle the most difficult tasks in learning — those that involve application, analysis, synthesis, and creativity — in their individual spaces. Flipped learning reverses this, by moving first contact with new concepts to the individual space and using the newly-expanded time in class for students to pursue difficult, higher-level tasks together, with the instructor as a guide.
Let’s take a look at some of the myths about flipped learning and try to find the facts.
Myth: Flipped learning is predicated on recording videos for students to watch before class.
Fact: Flipped learning does not require video. Although many real-life implementations of flipped learning use video, there’s nothing that says video must be used. In fact, one of the earliest instances of flipped learning — Eric Mazur’s peer instruction concept, used in Harvard physics classes — uses no video but rather an online text outfitted with social annotation software. And one of the most successful public instances of flipped learning, an edX course on numerical methods designed by Lorena Barba of George Washington University, uses precisely one video. Video is simply not necessary for flipped learning, and many alternatives to video can lead to effective flipped learning environments [http://rtalbert.org/flipped-learning-without-video/].
Fact: Flipped learning optimizes face-to-face teaching. Flipped learning may (but does not always) replace lectures in class, but this is not to say that it replaces teaching. Teaching and “telling” are not the same thing.
Myth: Flipped learning has no evidence to back up its effectiveness.
Fact: Flipped learning research is growing at an exponential pace and has been since at least 2014. That research — 131 peer-reviewed articles in the first half of 2017 alone — includes results from primary, secondary, and postsecondary education in nearly every discipline, most showing significant improvements in student learning, motivation, and critical thinking skills.
Myth: Flipped learning is a fad.
Fact: Flipped learning has been with us in the form defined here for nearly 20 years.
Myth: People have been doing flipped learning for centuries.
Fact: Flipped learning is not just a rebranding of old techniques. The basic concept of students doing individually active work to encounter new ideas that are then built upon in class is almost as old as the university itself. So flipped learning is, in a real sense, a modern means of returning higher education to its roots. Even so, flipped learning is different from these time-honored techniques.
Myth: Students and professors prefer lecture over flipped learning.
Fact: Students and professors embrace flipped learning once they understand the benefits. It’s true that professors often enjoy their lectures, and students often enjoy being lectured to. But the question is not who “enjoys” what, but rather what helps students learn the best.They know what the research says about the effectiveness of active learning
Assertion: Flipped learning provides a platform for implementing active learning in a way that works powerfully for students.
The Exposure Approach: we don’t provide a way for participants to determine if they learned anything new or now have the confidence or competence to apply what they learned.
The Exemplar Approach: from ‘show and tell’ for adults to show, tell, do and learn.
The Tutorial Approach: Getting a group that can meet at the same time and place can be challenging. That is why many faculty report a preference for self-paced professional development.build in simple self-assessment checks. We can add prompts that invite people to engage in some sort of follow up activity with a colleague. We can also add an elective option for faculty in a tutorial to actually create or do something with what they learned and then submit it for direct or narrative feedback.
The Course Approach: a non-credit format, these have the benefits of a more structured and lengthy learning experience, even if they are just three to five-week short courses that meet online or in-person once every week or two.involve badges, portfolios, peer assessment, self-assessment, or one-on-one feedback from a facilitator
The Academy Approach: like the course approach, is one that tends to be a deeper and more extended experience. People might gather in a cohort over a year or longer.Assessment through coaching and mentoring, the use of portfolios, peer feedback and much more can be easily incorporated to add a rich assessment element to such longer-term professional development programs.
The Mentoring Approach: The mentors often don’t set specific learning goals with the mentee. Instead, it is often a set of structured meetings, but also someone to whom mentees can turn with questions and tips along the way.
The Coaching Approach: A mentor tends to be a broader type of relationship with a person.A coaching relationship tends to be more focused upon specific goals, tasks or outcomes.
The Peer Approach:This can be done on a 1:1 basis or in small groups, where those who are teaching the same courses are able to compare notes on curricula and teaching models. They might give each other feedback on how to teach certain concepts, how to write syllabi, how to handle certain teaching and learning challenges, and much more. Faculty might sit in on each other’s courses, observe, and give feedback afterward.
The Self-Directed Approach:a self-assessment strategy such as setting goals and creating simple checklists and rubrics to monitor our progress. Or, we invite feedback from colleagues, often in a narrative and/or informal format. We might also create a portfolio of our work, or engage in some sort of learning journal that documents our thoughts, experiments, experiences, and learning along the way.
In 2014, administrators at Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) in Charlotte, North Carolina, began talks with members of the North Carolina State Board of Community Colleges and North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS) leadership about starting a CBE program.
Building on an existing project at CPCC for identifying the elements of a digital learning environment (DLE), which was itself influenced by the EDUCAUSE publication The Next Generation Digital Learning Environment: A Report on Research,1 the committee reached consensus on a DLE concept and a shared lexicon: the “Digital Learning Environment Operational Definitions,
Whether your school or district has officially adopted social media or not, conversations are happening in and around your school on everything from Facebook to Snapchat. Schools must reckon with this reality and commit to supporting thoughtful and critical social media use among students, teachers and administrators. If not, schools and classrooms risk everything from digital distraction to privacy violations.
Key Elements to Include in a Social Media Policy
Create parent opt-out forms that specifically address social media use.Avoid blanket opt-outs that generalize all technology or obfuscate how specific social media platforms will be used. (See this example by the World Privacy Forum as a starting point.)
Use these opt-out forms as a way to have more substantive conversations with parents about what you’re doing and why.
Describe what platforms are being used, where, when and how.
Avoid making the consequences of opt-out selections punitive (e.g., student participation in sports, theater, yearbook, etc.).
Restrict location sharing: Train teachers and students on how to turn off geolocation features/location services on devices as well as in specific apps.
Minimize information shared in teacher’s social media profiles: Advise teachers to list only grade level and subject in their public profiles and not to include specific school or district information.
Make social media use transparent to students: Have teachers explain their social media plan, and find out how students feel about it.
Most important: As with any technology, attach social media use to clearly articulated goals for student learning. Emphasize in your guidelines that teachers should audit any potential use of social media in terms of student-centered pedagogy: (1) Does it forward student learning in a way impossible through other means? and (2) Is using social media in my best interests or in my students’?
Moving from Policy to Practice.
Social media policies, like policies in general, are meant to mitigate the risk and liability of institutions rather than guide and support sound pedagogy and student learning. They serve a valuable purpose, but not one that impacts classrooms. So how do we make these policies more relevant to classrooms?
First, it forces policy to get distilled into what impacts classroom instruction and administration. Second, social media changes monthly, and it’s much easier to update a faculty handbook than a policy document. Third, it allows you to align social media issues with other aspects of teaching (assessment, parent communication, etc.) versus separating it out in its own section.
Teaching news literacy is more necessary and challenging than ever in a world where news is delivered at a constant pace from a broad range of sources. Since social media and filter bubbles can make it challenging to access unbiased, factual information, we must equip students to be critical as they access news sources for a variety of purposes. This live, interactive edWebinar will give an overview of the phenomenon of fake news going viral and tools educators can use to help students develop news literacy skills.
Tiffany Whitehead, School Librarian at Episcopal School of Baton Rouge in Louisiana, will share:
A strategy to develop fun, original lessons about media literacy
Fresh approaches that move students towards better news smarts
Three CCSS-aligned sample lesson plans for middle and high school classrooms
Teacher and librarian collaboration opportunities that support powerful student outcomes
Elementary through higher education level teachers, librarians, and school and district leaders will benefit from attending this session. There will be time to get your questions answered after Tiffany’s presentation.
About the Presenter
Tiffany Whitehead, aka the Mighty Little Librarian, is an obsessive reader, social media user, and technology geek. She is the director of library at Episcopal School of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Tiffany earned her undergraduate degree in elementary education and School Library Certification from Southeastern Louisiana University, and her graduate degree in educational technology leadership from Northwestern State University. She has served as the president for ISTE’s Librarians Network and was recognized as one of ISTE’s 2014 Emerging Leaders. Tiffany is National Board Certified in Library Media and was named one of the 2014 Library Journal Movers & Shakers. She was the 2016 recipient of the Louisiana Library Media Specialist Award. She frequently speaks at local, state, and national conferences, sharing her passion for libraries and educational technology.
70 percent of teens now say they use social media more than once a day, compared to 34 percent of teens in 2012.
Snapchat is now the most popular social media platform among teens, with 41 percent saying it’s the one use most frequently.
35 percent of teens now say texting is their preferred mode of communication with friends, more than the 32 percent who prefer in-person communication. In 2012, 49 percent of teens preferred in-person communication.
One-fourth of teens say using social media makes them feel less lonely, compared to 3 percent who say it makes them feel more lonely.
Nearly three-fourths of teens believe tech companies manipulate them to get them to spend more time on their devices and platforms.
Back in 2012, Facebook dominated the landscape, and social media was something for teens to periodically check in on.
In 2018, though, “social media” is no longer a monolith. Teens now communicate, express themselves, share experiences and ideas, rant, gossip, flirt, plan, and stay on top of current events using a mix of platforms that compete ferociously for their attention.
Sixty-three percent of teens say they use Snapchat, and 41 percent say it’s the platform they use most frequently.
Instagram, meanwhile, is used by 61 percent of teens.
And Facebook’s decline among teens has been “precipitous,” according to the new report. Just 15 percent of teens now say Facebook is their main social media site, down from 68 percent six years ago
4. Most important: As with any technology, attach social media use to clearly articulated goals for student learning
Moving from Policy to Practice
Social media isn’t a novel phenomenon requiring separate attention. Ed tech, and the tech world in general, wants to tout every new development as a revolution. Most, however, are an iteration. While we get caught up re-inventing everything to wrestle with a perceived social media sea change, our students see it simply as a part of school life.
Many of these teachers started out as “teacher bloggers,” but most became Insta-famous through Teachers Pay Teachers, an online platform that allows teachers to sell classroom resources they’ve created, such as worksheets and bulletin board decor.
By promoting their Teachers Pay Teachers products on Instagram with hashtags such as #TeachersOfInstagram and #TeacherLife, as well as sharing classroom tips and snapshots, these teachers acquire tens of thousands of followers. Many even exceed the 100,000 follower mark.
The CEO of Teachers Pay Teachers, Adam Freed, told BuzzFeed News the platform “becomes a real living” for many teachers.
With an aesthetic that could be described as “Pinterest-y,” it might be surprising that Instagram seems to have overtaken Pinterest as the place teachers are sharing their designs and ideas.
“With Instagram, it’s really cool because you’re able to direct message the person right away and ask, ‘Hey how did you do this?’ or ‘I have some questions about my classroom!’” said Maloy. “I have new teachers messaging me all of the time. It’s like Pinterest, but it goes a step beyond because you have that collaboration and a way to connect with people.”
In spite of all their success, some of these teachers think about what could happen if the teacher influencer bubble bursts one day. This concern is what keeps some of them in the classroom.
School administrators have largely been supportive too, and many of the teachers said their social media work is seen as proof that they’re passionate, creative, and skilled at their jobs.
Five tips to help you create a personal brand and a positive digital reputation
1. What will they find when they Google you?
2. What is branding?
Your brand is what you represent, the content that you share, your audience, your Personal Learning Network (PLN), and your teaching philosophy. You want your brand to demonstrate that you are trustworthy, and offer quality content, insightful comments, and experience. Your brand tells your audience that what you offer is of value. Together, the elements that create your brand should communicate a distinct, cohesive story. For instance, when you visit any of my social media profiles, you will see a consistent message. The avatar and logo for my website Shake Up Learning are more recognizable than my face, and that’s intentional. That isn’t to say that every brand needs an avatar. But do find a creative way to tell your personal story.
3. Choose the right platforms
There is no right or wrong platform. Choosing where you want to build your online presence depends on the audience that you want to engage. If you want to reach parents and school community stakeholders, Facebook is a strong bet. If you want to reach other educators, Twitter and Pinterest are big winners. The bottom line is that you don’t have to use them all. Find and connect with your audience where your audience resides.
4. Claim your social media real estate
Before you settle on a username, check that it’s available on all of the social media platforms that you want to use—and then keep it consistent. You will lose your audience if you make it hard to find you. Also keep your handle simple and short, and try to avoid special characters. When a new platform arrives, claim your username early even if you aren’t sure that you will maintain a presence there.
5. Optimize your social media profiles
Guy Kawasaki, co-author of The Art of Social Media, khas nearly 1.5 million followers on Twitter alone, and he offers effective social media tips in his book. Here are the basics:
Add a picture of your face or logo. Your picture validates who you are. No more eggheads! Using the default egg avatar on Twitter says you don’t have a brand, and doesn’t tell your audience that you are trustworthy.
Use your real name. Sure, you can lie, but that isn’t going to help you build a brand and online presence. Many platforms allow you to show your name as well as your handle.
Link to your website, blog or About.me page. Don’t have one? Get one! You may not be ready to start a blog, but anyone can easily set up an About.me page—which is like an online resume.
Compose a meaningful bio, which will help others find and follow you. It should describe your experience in the field of education and highlight topics that you follow like Maker Ed, Google Apps, or edtech.
Add a cover image. Choose an image that tells your story. Who are you? What do you do that sets you apart? Canva is a graphic design tool that makes creating a cover image easy. It offers ready-made templates in the right size for all of the major social media platforms.
Be consistent across all mediums. You want your followers to see the same brand on all of your social media profiles. This also means you shouldn’t change your profile picture every five minutes. Be recognizable.
Tools to build your brand and online presence
About.me: A quick and easy personal homepage that shows your audience who you are and how to connect with you.
Canva: An easy-to-use design tool for creating images, with templates for social media.
Fiverr: A marketplace for services that you can use to commission a logo, avatar, or web design.
In Media Manipulation and Disinformation Online, Marwick and Lewis (2017) of the Data & Society Research Institute described the agents of media manipulation, their modus operandi, motivators, and how they’ve taken advantage of the vulnerability of online media. The researchers described the manipulators as right-wing extremists (RWE), also known as alt-right, who run the gamut from sexists (including male sexual conquest communities) to white nationalists to anti-immigration activists and even those who rebuke RWE identification but whose actions confer such classification. These manipulators rally behind a shared belief on online forums, blogs, podcasts, and social media through pranks or ruinous trolling anonymity, usurping participatory culture methods (networking, humor, mentorship) for harassment, and competitive cyber brigades that earn status by escalating bullying such as the sharing of a target’s private information.
Marwick and Lewis reported on how RWE groups have taken advantage of certain media tactics to gain viewers’ attention such as novelty and sensationalism, as well as their interactions with the public via social media, to manipulate it for their agenda. For instance, YouTube provides any individual with a portal and potential revenue to contribute to the media ecosystem. The researchers shared the example of the use of YouTube by conspiracy theorists, which can be used as fodder for extremist networks as conspiracies generally focus on loss of control of important ideals, health, and safety.
One tactic they’re using is to package their hate in a way that appeals to millennials. They use attention hacking to increase their status such as hate speech, which is later recanted as trickster trolling all the while gaining the media’s attention for further propagation
SHARED MODUS OPERANDI
Marwick and Lewis reported the following shared tactics various RWE groups use for online exploits:
Ambiguity of persona or ideology,
Baiting a single or community target’s emotions,
Bots for amplification of propaganda that appears legitimately from a real person,
“…Embeddedness in Internet culture… (p. 28),”
Exploitation of young male rebelliousness,
Hate speech and offensive language (under the guise of First Amendment protections),
Irony to cloak ideology and/or skewer intended targets,
Memes for stickiness of propaganda,
Mentorship in argumentation, marketing strategies, and subversive literature in their communities of interest,
Networked and agile groups,
“…Permanent warfare… (p.12)” call to action,
Pseudo scholarship to deceive readers,
“…Quasi moral arguments… (p. 7)”
Shocking images for filtering network membership,
“Trading stories up the chain… (p. 38)” from low-level news outlets to mainstream, and
Trolling others with asocial behavior.
teenagers in Veles, Macedonia who profited around 16K dollars per month via Google’s AdSense from Facebook post engagements