The VPM Blog

The Social + Mobile Professor

Posted by admin on May 6, 2013 4:15:58 AM

Tweet your comments and questions directly to author Micah Whitehead, @micahdwhitehead.

It's late Sunday afternoon, and I am finally slowing down enough to write and get prepped for the busy week to come. My nights and weekends have been long spent working the restaurant biz, and I have (truthfully) enjoyed it - especially during days like today. It's been a gruelling weekend at the little cafe next to the big university in the midst of graduating thousands of students, all of which have hungry parents who just got a pay raise.

If there was one thing that would define my weekend experience, it would be the countless awkward pictures taken with our patron’s smart phones, all of which will instantly hit Facebook (after the necessary Instagram filter) and will forever contribute to their co-created digital history.

Long gone are the days when alumni jumbled together bits and pieces of their college history from old photo albums and foggy memories.

Today their tweets, status updates, blog posts, Instagram photos, and Youtube videos are all pieces in the sequential story of these students lives. They will one day look back at their digital footprint and re-experience events as they played out once upon a time.

Social + Mobile is synonymous with this group of grads - the digital natives.

Last week, Don discussed the emergence of the "Digital Dean" in response to the transforming digital landscape and this group of millennials. These innovative leaders use social media to stay connected with stakeholders and alumi on their terms.

And as we are shifting into the increasingly social + mobile economy, it becomes essential that educators and professors also alter the way they teach.


34% of professors use social-media tools in the classroom and 65% use social media in their personal life.

Educators are beginning to realize that almost every student has some sort of laptop or tablet open during class anyway, and this is driving many to use social media and mobile devices as a way to connect, to notify, to teach, and share knowledge with students.

To provide engaging education that brings lifetime learning, educators must consider cultural touchstones that have shaped the lives of incoming students - in this case, social + mobile.

Ignore them and risk being ignored.

Utilizing tools like Twitter for classroom discussion, brainstorming, questions and real-time feedback, students become more engaged because they get a sense of being connected to something real. We can use social media to help students connect and work collaboratively with each other to generate information beneficial to their classroom experience.

Facebook and LinkedIn groups are an effective way to notify, share information and discuss ideas outside of the classroom - especially when the information is time sensitive.

Others use Twitter to build a following where they can point students to their wealth of resources and insights.

Personally, I know a few who use LinkedIn to stay connected with students after they leave and leverage their seasoned rolodex to help students land high-value jobs.

Tumblr and Wordpress are becoming a platform for professors and researchers to blog about their ideas and area of expertise and add value to their niche. They build a personal brand online that wins them consulting work, attracts industry to their institution, and opens up internship and job opportunities for their students.

Teachers have been enabled to create a lasting digital footprint that influences their students, their institution, and the global community. And those who chose remain disconnected will become increasingly irrelevant and left behind with old photo albums and foggy memories.


What are some innovative ways professors are using social media for classroom and/or personal use?

In your opinion, what is the most effective social media platform for engaging students outside of the classroom?


Author: is the Social Architect and Creative Director at Verge Pipe Media. Verge Pipe Media assists public institutions, enterprises and the non-profit sector with Imaginative Inbound Marketing strategies + campaigns. We also have a development team chock full of Marvelous Mobile Migrators, poised to help transition our clients into a mobile + social world with custom software, iOS and Android mobile apps.

Topics: higher education, Social Media

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