Considerations for Selecting and Using Educational Technologies

The considerations for selecting social media tools in education are not vastly different from those of selecting educational technologies in general. When thinking about designing an activity and selecting a social media tool, consider the following:

  • Space/setting: teaching face-to-face or online
  • Difficulty of level of engagement: simple activity vs. complex activity
  • Duration of engagement: under 5 minutes; under 1 hour; over an entire lecture
  • Timing of engagement: synchronous or asynchronous; before, during or after class
  • Privacy: public vs. private
  • Technical knowledge and support: skill level; tool reliability; technical support
  • Type of engagement: students interacting with other students; with content only; directly with the instructor
  • Organization of collaboration: individuals, pairs, groups, class

Key Questions
Which of the list above will be particularly important in your course? For instance, if you would like to use the same tool for synchronous or face-to-face engagement as you do for activities outside class time, Twitter will be more effective than blogs.

Furthermore, consult with your local unit to identify guidelines that may impact tool selection and implementation. For example, your Chair may accept the use of Twitter, but only if tweets are protected (private), or may make other recommendations.