With my previous post on the EU-funded Learning Layers (LL) project I started a series of reports on the Multimedia Training of our application partner Bau-ABC with the concept “Theme Rooms”. This concept had been initiated by the training staff of Bau-ABC and in my first blog I reported, how we (the LL teams of Bau-ABC, ITB and Pontydysgu) adjusted the concept for the training activities to be implemented in November 2015. This post focuses on the work with the theme ‘Social media’. (Obviously I have more insights into the group in which I was engaged as a co-tutor with a Bau-ABC trainer. Yet, I try to give a comprehensive picture on the work in parallel groups.)
The uses of Facebook – and the importance of getting hands on Facebook
A major topic for all groups working with the theme “Social Media” was the relevance of Facebook and the challenge to get everyone working with Facebook. In most groups the tutors from Bau-ABC were hosting facebook-groups for their trade and the apprentices were actively involved as contributors and readers. However, the groups served more as means for image-creation, enhancing the occupational/ professional identity of apprentices and demonstrating their learning achievements. Indeed, some of the groups were using a lot of photos and videos, but these were not primarily used to support learning. Yet, altogether, these groups played a role in the occupational/professional socialisation of apprentices and in enhancing their occupational/ professional identity. From this perspective Bau-ABC promoted the use of Facebook via its own Facebook site and via these trade-specific Bau-ABC Facebook groups.
Having said that, it is worthwhile to note that not all training staff was in favour of using Facebook in such a way or getting Facebook accounts for themselves. Here, we can see several reasons that are linked to data privacy, data management and commercial use of data submitted by individual users. However, it was acknowledged by the participants that the exisiting Facebook groups of Bau-ABC have played a positive role. Moreover, it was recognised that Facebook is the most popular social network used by apprentices and young people in general. Therefore, it makes sense to get familiarised with social media by working with Facebook. Most of the participants had their own (private) accounts or were owners of the FB-group accounts. For those who didn’t have accounts we had a group account for learning purposes. Thus, they could also participate in hands-on exercises.
These exercises were slightly different in the five groups. Yet, they served the purpose to get all participants use a Facebook-account to post, comment and communicate and to share information on events of interest. Some groups put more attention on settings and privacy issues, some more on sharing between individual users and groups. Altogether, these exercised helped to overcome the gap between users and non-users. Some of the hitherto non-users became active users due to positive learning experience in the workshop session.
Getting a broader overview of social media, platforms and networks
However, the aim of the training was not to give all attention to Facebook but to get an insight into a wider range of social media and their potential uses in the context of apprentice training. For this purpose the workshops gave a quite some time for brainstorming and mapping trainers’ experiences on different media. Accordingly, we had some demonstrations on the use of Twitter (less used by trainers and apprentices) and on the use of hashtags (#) to mark search categories and tags. In a similar way we explored YouTube channels and use of YouTube videos in training and in multimedia training.
Finally, after exploring different social media, the participants were invited to fill a table in which they indicated their priorities among social media and for what purposes and for with which target groups they use these. In this way the participants were working towards their personal ‘portfolios’ of social media.
I think this is enough of this theme, for which we dedicated two workshop sessions. Two other workshop sessions focused on the theme ‘Preparing Digital Learning Materials’.
More blogs to come …