I recently had the pleasure of reading the book “Social Media for Trainers – Techniques for Enhancing and Extending Learning” by Jane Bozarth (published by Pfeiffer in 2010). It is a wonderfully practical and concrete book that I can warmly recommend to anyone working with groups in the capacity of a trainer, coordinator or leader. The main tools presented in the book are Twitter, Facebook, blogs and wikis. All of these I know by experience, and still the book provided me with new ideas and insights.
Bozarth goes through the 4 main tools in a structured way: explaining the basics, paying attention to advantages and disadvantages, and showing when and how it can be used. All chapters contain clear examples of questions and exercises that can be used with the tool, as well as real life examples of use of the tool in a bigger organisation or company. If you’re still not convinced: there are screen shots, too, so you can actually visualise what she is describing even if you do not have any personal experience with the tool.
While I have come to see Twitter definitely as a tool for learning I so far was focused more on how it is a tremendous source of information validated by people whose judgement I trust or whose perspective interests me (the people I am following). Bozarth showed me a new perspective: how to engage learners or a community through Twitter. You can ask them to introduce themselves on Twitter, they can answer start up questions or receive reading or other assignments. But you can also organise role plays, or use Twitter as a back channel for engaging learners or community members in a conversation in parallel to a class or webinar. And you could even schedule tweets asking evaluation questions one or more weeks after an event, and get feedback on how people are using newly gained knowledge and ideas in practice. For all these ideas, Bozarth lists clear sample questions suitable for the Twitter environment.
Similarly, she presents clear examples for use of Facebook (groups or pages), blogs and wikis in learning and community environments. As well as a few ideas concerning a small selection of other social media tools like SlideShare, Youtube, TeacherTube and Delicious.Through this all, she shows keen understanding of needs of learners and community members and shares her experiences with communities of practice and in the (virtual) class room.
In all, a valuable and inspirational resource for all of us interested in engaging people in processes – whether they be for learning or otherwise. I wish you happy reading!
Find Jane Bozarth
Short description of Jane Bozarth on Learning Solutions Mag