Quest activities to assess social media's impact

Quest logoThis year’s Quest activities on April 22 will feature sessions addressing the rising prominence of social media as a source of communication, information and even education.

Social media, or Web 2.0, refers to interactive Internet platforms powered by conversations and exchange of media, such as blogs, wikis, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

More users of all ages continue to engage in Web 2.0 activities that “provide rich, interactive, user-friendly platforms to help people find other users, to exchange ideas and thoughts, to demonstrate creativity, and to create new knowledge,” said Kengnian Weng, who will present a poster titled “Are They Ready? Pre- and In-Service Teachers’ Perceptions and Beliefs of Web 2.0 Technology.” Quest’s poster session will run from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Campus Center concourse.

The graduate student in education looks at how tomorrow’s teachers feel about, and use, tools such as blogs, wikis and social networks in their classrooms. Weng cited a lack of studies on this topic, but notes the example of the project’s faculty adviser, Harrison Yang, in integrating emerging technology into teaching methods.

Weng wants to start a discussion on the possibility of creating a course or training program for teachers on integrating social media in education, he said. “We have seen successful experiments to integrate Web 2.0 technology in real classroom teaching. . . . Whether this system can run well depends on a lot of factors like budget support and the quality of teachers’ professional development.”

Michael LaMastra will look specifically at how the dominant social media platform can positively affect teaching in “Facebook for Educators,” presented at 3 p.m. in Room 228 of the Campus Center.

“I will demonstrate the use of different applications that can be used to enable Facebook to manage your classroom better,” said LaMastra, a graduate business and education marketing major.

LaMastra said he found “some interesting information on how Facebook is used in classrooms in order to share information and build community” while taking a class from project adviser Matthew Spindler.

Those attending his session would “see Facebook as more than just a fun, social networking site that is for entertainment only,” LaMastra said. “Social networking is growing and we need to be able to realize the positive potential that it can have. Instruction can be brought to where the students spend a lot of their time.”

With how consumers seek news continuing to change, Rosanne Luis and MaryEllen Murphy will present “Are Blogs Really News? Journalistic Ethics in the Face of New Media.” Since “whoever writes a blog essentially becomes a journalist, they will need to adhere to certain standards of journalistic ethics,” Luis explained. Linda Loomis advises the journalism students’ senior project.

“I hope that at the end of our presentation, people will learn the difference between a reliable and unreliable blog, as well as use journalistic ethics when blogging about news stories,” Luis said of the session, at 10:45 a.m. in Room 220 of the Campus Center.

These sessions are among the 275 talks, posters and other activities at Quest, all free and open to the public. More information and a schedule can be found at www.oswego.edu/quest.

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(Posted: Apr 08, 2009)

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