March 2019
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Education 2.0: Quirky – Surprising – Innovative

Students need to know how to use social media not just for jobs, but also to shape their online presence and convey the skills they have with ease

Students need to know how to use social media not just for jobs, but also to shape their online presence and convey the skills they have with ease

ICTpost Social Media Bureau

The eighties brought us the rubix cube, the nineties was all about the internet but the noughties will undoubtedly be remembered for the advent of social media. Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter changed communication forever and have inevitably made a significant impact on education and careers. Students and young professionals can now retrieve their data, news and even publish their work via their smart phones and transmit using their ever impressive Facebook, YouTube or Twitter applications. Such interactivity undoubtedly has its critics and doubters but what is certain is that we have a wealth of information at our fingertips which can only be good for our overall knowledge and level of education.

The rising importance and availability of online social networks and their popularity among young people are undeniable facts. The use of the internet is becoming an ever more integral part of young people’s lives and, as a result, they are communicating with each other on an unprecedented scale.

Higher Education
Over the past two to three years, social media has become a primary tool and strategy for recruitment, for marketing, for development, for public relations, for alumni relations and for moving our unique school toward a “thought leadership” position.
LinkedIn is also one of our professional anchors. Pinterest is a huge tool for our Art Therapy program, and it is but a mere babe in the social media world. Southwestern College is pretty much all over the social media map. Facebook is huge for us. We Tweet a number of times a day, post on Google Plus, and have our eyes on Scoop.
The new business sensibility, which has been completely transformed by social media, calls for building relationships, connectivity, collaboration, transparency. It is all over the new business book titles at the airport. It is what Counselors and Art Therapists do, naturally.

Social media is changing the parameters of how people and organisations interact and operate. Students need to know how to use it not just for jobs, but also to shape their online presence and convey the skills they have with ease. The demand for employees to be digitally literate in business environments is rising. So it is crucial that teaching methodologies evolve and adapt to provide students with digital and social media skills.

Developing social media guidelines which outline appropriate language, themes and topics under discussion is important, to set the parameters and groundwork prior to the discussion. The nature of these events mean they will be streaming live, so there really is little room for any oversights.
Higher education institutions have a responsibility to equip and guide their students with the qualifications and skills to thrive in the digital world. Using social media professionally could boost employabilitychances in this tough economic climate.

Medical Education
Medical education and medical practice at all levels, already online in so many ways, can no longer remain aloof from social media.
When patients ask questions about the online world, or more precisely about social media, medical professionals should at least be aware of the issues and be able to give an honest, nondefensive, appropriate answer without hesitation.
Patients may well ask their physicians whether a particular diabetes blog is reliable or where they can locate relevant Facebook groups and Twitter channels focusing on their conditions. Medical professionals in practice, in residencies, or still in school need to be trained to meet any special needs of e-patients.

It is not just Facebook, Twitter and YouTube that deserve a mention either. Platforms such as MySpace, Bebo, StumbleUpon, PageFlakes and more (to name them all would be rather monotonous) all play their part with different personalities suiting the various sites. What those dubious of the value of social media fail to recognise is the fact they all blend the use of textbooks and dictionaries with more up-to-date, relevant and authentic multimedia tools.

Indeed, the social media revolution has created an innovative teaching ethos with even head teachers realising that they are learners as well as teachers. Of course, as academics they are able to embrace the technologies available to them in order to help them convey their message. It is a fact, perhaps a sad one but a fact all the same, that the current generation are going to be more open to absorbing information via an iPad, computer screen or another interactive medium than they are an OHP, blackboard or whiteboard.