Social Media for Education

Supporting the ESCalate elearning event

Social Media for Education

This blog  supports the ESCalate e-learning workshop at the University of Leeds.

Specifically the session on Social Media for Education, by Paul Ayres, Education Editor for Intute: Social Sciences who also produce the Internet for Education, a tutorial covering Internet research skills.

The slides from the presentation are available online and are also below:

It includes sections on

The links to all the websites mentioned in the presentation are available via Delicious.


The exercises are intended to let you get to grips with the various tools mentioned in the presentation. It is assumed that you will have access to a web-based email account to register for some of these services.

  • There is one exercise per service
  • Plus an advanced exercise for each
  • And a blog related exercise for each
  • You can start to add to your blog by following the rest of the exercises

… or you are welcome to explore the links available through this blog.


Written by Paul Ayres

March 18, 2009 at 12:37 pm

Posted in a welcome


Twitter – what is it?

  • Asks what are you up to right now?
  • Limited to just 140 characters
  • Like the status update feature on Facebook – and that’s all
  • Follow people you know, those you don’t, organisations, publications
  • Part blog, part social networking site, and part IM tool

Twitter in Plain English

… more Twitter related links from Delicious.

Twitter – an example

Intute: Education on Twitter features blog posts and new Internet resources on Education

Also follow other organisations / publication such as Education Week, Futurelab, BBC Education and individual academics

Twitter – possible uses

  • Pointers to online resources based around a course
  • Student reminders about deadlines
  • Breaking down barriers and getting to know others over this “virtual water cooler”
  • Keeping up to date for you and students
  • Instant lecture feedback – are you Twittering about this presentation?
  • 7 things you should know about Twitter by EDUCAUSE looks at this further
  • The Intute Twitter 500 some suggestions on educational use of Twitter


Go to Twitter at and register for an account

Add your first Tweet (short message of 140 characters)

Follow the Intute: Education channel at:


Go to the Twitter Search page at:

Try a search term and filter the latest Tweets to those that contain links


Add your Twitter feed or the Intute: Education Twitter feed to your blog

Written by Paul Ayres

March 23, 2009 at 4:21 pm

Posted in twitter

Tagged with

Delicious / Social Bookmarking

Delicious – what is it

  • Social Bookmarking website
  • Save and store bookmarks online
  • Organise them with tags or keywords
  • Be social – follow other bookmarkers and send / receive links
  • Alas education is an overused word

Social Bookmarking in Plain English

See the ESCalate Delicious account for Education related bookmarks

Delicious – possible uses

  • Keeping the same set of bookmarks if using more than one computer
  • Organise collection of resources around an agreed tag – escelearn
  • One link for related resources
  • Social bookmarking – develop a network and share the load
  • An alternative search engine
  • … and many more from Gabriela Grosseck


  • Go to Delicious at and register for an account
  • Add your favourite education website to your account
  • Add the tag escelearn when bookmarking it and search for escelearn


Add the ESCalate channel to your network on delicious


Add your delicious bookmarks or the ESCalate bookmarks to your blog

Written by Paul Ayres

March 23, 2009 at 4:11 pm


Blogs – what are they

  • Online diary style website
  • Quick and easy web publishing
  • Offer instant communication
  • Regularly updated
  • Require little technical knowledge
  • A social / networking activity
  • Links to other online resources
  • Try the Guide to Using Blogs in Economics
  • Example – Primary Teacher UK – information, news and resources blog for primary teachers in the UK

Blogs in Plain English

… or sample some blog related links from Delicious.

Blogs – potential uses – teaching and learning

  • Replacing standard class web pages
  • Professor-written blogs which cover interesting developments that relate to the theme of the course
  • Organization of in-class discussion
  • Organization of intensive seminars where students have to provide weekly summaries of the readings
  • Requiring students to write their own blogs as part of their grade

From Henry Farrell contributor at Crooked Timber

Blogs – more potential uses

  • Writing up as you go along
  • Floating new or embryonic ideas
  • Dissemination of research results
  • Take advantage of the “invisible college” of fellow academics
  • Engaging with the public to raise the level of debate on education issues
  • Sidestepping the mainstream media for publicity
  • Education blogosphere dominated by policy and e-learning issues
  • Great potential for reflection? See Julie Hughes 2006 ALT-C paper



Chat with one of your neighbours, find out the web address of their blog and leave a comment on their blog post or on this blog at


All of the other exercises have an optional blog related element – you can start to add to your blog by following the rest of the exercises

Written by Paul Ayres

March 23, 2009 at 3:41 pm

Posted in blogs

Tagged with


SlideShare – what is it?

  • Upload PowerPoint presentations so they are freely available online
  • Easily embeddable in other services e.g. blogs
  • Add an mp3 soundtrack / narration and sync it with the slides
  • YouTube for PowerPoint
  • Community features such as tags, comments, favourites, related SlideCasts etc.

SlideShare – an example

The effective use of blogs in economics education from a workshop, recorded after the event as a SlideCast – PowerPoint slides synced with audio.

  • Initially presented to 25 people at the DEE conference in 2007
  • Now viewed over over 2000 times, downloaded over 90 times, embedded in 5 other websites
  • Adding an audio track makes a SlideShare much more useful, making it a SlideCast

SlideShare – possible uses

  • Disseminating lecture material for revision purposes
  • Discuss lecture material using the comments feature to aid understanding
  • As a student assignment assessing virtual presentation skills
  • Find other presentations on your topic – save reinventing the wheel
  • Building up a body of resources over time on a particular topic
  • Drawing together conference / seminar materials using a common tag or keyword


  • Go to SlideShare at
  • Search for cfbloke and find this presentation
  • Explore the SlideCast section and find one with an audio track


Create a new blog post and embed a SlideShare presentation in it

This can be particularly powerful when accompanied by an audio track.

Written by Paul Ayres

March 23, 2009 at 3:21 pm

Audio / Podcasting

What is a podcast?

A podcast is …

  • Audio – videos are more likely to be learning objects and vlogging does not need RSS
  • Regular – one audio file does not constitute a podcast, must have a sense of regularity
  • Syndicated via RSS – otherwise it’s an online audio file that has been possible for years

Podcasting in Plain English

Podcasting in Higher Education

Podcasting for Pedagogic Purposes is a UK HEA initiative which aims to explore the use of podcasts in higher education

Podcasting for Learning in Universities is a book detailing a range of case studies on the use of podcasts and provides a model for developing effective podcasts – much of this work grew oput of the IMPALA project.

Potential uses of podcasting

  • Distance learning / self-paced learning
  • Advanced or supplementary material
  • Choice depending on learning style
  • Promotion of research
  • Topical updates related to lecture material
  • Replace the lecture
  • Student assessment and feedback
  • Collecting data in the field

More podcasting tips

A Bakers Dozen of Practical Podcasting Tips – less theory, more practice

Podcasting and Audio in the Social Sciences – overview of key audio resources

My Podcasting Life … or the Reverse Obama Effect – lessons from various podcasting experiments

Podcasts links from Delicious – with an emphasis on podcasting in HE


  • Go to Intute: Social Sciences
  • Search for podcast* and filter your results by subject – try Education
  • Explore some of the recommended sites and try to find a podcast to listen to


Go to the Podcasting for Learning in Universities book support website at:

Click on the Podcasting Model link and explore this podcasting model


Create a new blog post and link to an mp3 file by typing

Open square bracket
Type the word audio
Leave a space
URL of an audio file ending in .mp3
Close square bracket

… but all on one line

More details are available from the Audio support page.

Written by Paul Ayres

March 18, 2009 at 1:51 pm

Posted in podcasts

Tagged with ,

YouTube / online video

What is YouTube?

  • Number one video sharing site on the Internet, top 10 of all Internet sites
  • Approx. 40% share of online video market – if it’s not on YouTube, it doesn’t exist?
  • Ten of millions of videos are watched each and every day
  • Vast majority of videos are “user generated content” – made by people like you and me

Is YouTube educational?

You may wish to compare and contrast the experiences of these two American academics.

Alex Juhasz has also written up her experiences of Teaching on YouTube.

Michael Wesch has also provided An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube.

YouTube for Fun and Education – some issues on the YouTube community and some related Delicious links.

Life beyond YouTube

Online video – possible uses

  • Distance learning
  • Supplementary lectures (e.g. research skills, presentation skills)
  • Contextualising an issue, e.g. old news footage
  • Perspectives for students to examine critically (news coverage, activist videos, TED lectures)
  • Screen capture (e.g. demonstrating software)
  • Short humour items to break up a long lecture
  • Student video assignment?


  • Go to YouTube at
  • Search for heaescalate and you should find a video called There to Care
  • Repeat the above for the search term vision of students today


Register for an account at and rate the There to Care video, leave a comment on it or add it as a Favourite


Create a new blog post and embed a YouTube video in the body of the blog post

Follow the instructions from on embedding YouTube videos.

… and the video will be automatically added to your post

Written by Paul Ayres

March 18, 2009 at 12:46 pm

Posted in youtube

Tagged with ,