Web Roundup: Social Media rocks AEJMC 2013; Hot articles impacting

After a great trip to Washington DC and a wonderful #AEJMC2013 conference, I am back in West Virginia enjoying the last few days before classes start. Though I didn’t get to do all the things I had hoped nor meet all the great people I’ve gotten to know on social media at the conference, I came away from AEJMC having learned a lot.

Two quick observations:

1) As a field, our understanding of social media is growing exponentially! –  When I started researching YouTube and the 2006 election, not many scholars were looking into the new medium. Walking around the conference, I saw tons of very interesting and exciting studies and had a great time talking to folks with great research questions and findings.

2) Coverage of #AEJMC2013  on social media was robust, insightful, and engaging – Here are a few cool stats:

A visual display of #AEJMC2013 Tweets 

And:

The PR division of AEJMC was a clear leader when it came to coverage across platforms including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Storify.

Though my own access to the Internet was limited by poor to nonexistent cell phone coverage, I was able to follow along via my tablet. At the 2008 NCA conference in San Diego, I met one person using Twitter via an iPhone at the conference (it wasn’t me) and we later connected online. This year, I’ve met a number of great people either in person or via the #AEJMC2013 hashtag. I’m excited to learn from them! In fact, the difference between people Tweeting about the conference and “thinking social media” to express their experiences was noticeably up from just two years ago in St. Louis, a great deal in part due to the proliferation of smart phones I imagine.

A few articles with big implications for Education this week:

  • Majoring in a Professor – Insight Higher Ed – This study finds that a student’s choice of major is most influenced by the quality of introductory professor” This article explores the role that a student’s first experience with a major via a professor teaching an introductory course has in whether that student will major in that field. As the article states: “Maybe it’s much more simple: Undergraduates are significantly more likely to major in a field if they have an inspiring and caring faculty member in their introduction to the field. And they are equally likely to write off a field based on a single negative experience with a professor.” Read more on the potential implications of this finding. 
  • A letter from a high school teacher warns college professors about the incoming group of students went viral – The author, retired teacher Kenneth Beirnstein, argues that mandating testing and the No Child Left Behind program have hurt critical thinking and writing among the burgeoning student population and asks professors not to hold high school teachers who have little control over these matters responsible. But not many people have seen the follow-up. After I tweeted this article, he Tweeted me back stating he was returning to the classroom, and here is why. The piece is moving and motivational, as Kenneth proclaims “because even with the restrictions that exist I believe I can make a difference for my students” and ” because public schools are too important for me to abandon the field of conflict on their behalf.”

scout

That’s all for now!  Hope you are relaxing before the semester starts! Kelin and I are so excited to be picking up our new puppy, Scout, on Wednesday.   Scout (pictured above) is a Bergamasco, an Italian Sheepherding dog! I’ll admit, as a first time dog owner I am a bit nervous! Advice gladly accepted!

-Cheers!

Matt

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