Recognizing the Relevance of Social Networking in Adult Learning

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HOW DO I LOVE THEE? the FINAL PROJECT After discovering the cognitive tools of creativity, my view of teaching and learning has been transformed. I have learned new creative strategies of delivering my course topic to my students. A specific illustration of a topic is “Recognizing the Relevance of Social Networking to Adult Learning”. The world of social networking can be a circus that is a spectacle of great entertainment for someone, but could be a display of disorder for someone else. To avoid any misjudgment, teaching my topic in multi-dimensional approaches will undeniably move learners to explore the possibility of recognizing the relevance of social networking for personal and professional advantage. So what are the cognitive tools of creativity? How can these tools be used in presenting the topic to make learning and teaching meaningful?

PERCEIVING Perceiving involves observation through the use of our different senses. Remember the phone modem “dialup” connection? This sound helps me relate to the topic. How? As I hear the sound, I feel two emotions: First, the feeling of relief as soon I finally got connected! Being connected with the right network of people through social media can be valuable as we search for a job opening, promote our skills or services, and exchange our opinions and ideas. We get the sense of being connected by being a part of the society. Through social media, the need to belong and to be accepted turns to satisfaction and a source of support and motivation.


Second, the feeling of frustration. Dial-up connections are so s-l-o-w! But today, we have options with how fast our internet connection is going to be. Through social media, we can control how much of ourselves we want to divulge to the society. As we set boundaries in relating to people, we get to decide who we are connected with and what information about ourselves can be seen by which people. We have the ability to speed up our networks personally and professionally or to just leave it at a slow pace. Another example is a photo mosaic which is an image made up of tiles containing small pictures. It is a visualization of people who can build me up personally as well as professionally. Learning the significance and discerning what information is relevant in social networking can help construct our profile in the society. Putting these tiles together is like relating all the people in our network. Eventually, we have seamlessly created a great representation of ourselves.

“Perhaps, I should reach out to other groups of learners who are also perceptive to taste. There has to be a way I can present a topic by using bacon or ice cream!”





PATTERNING Recognizing patterns involves identifying a repeating form or a plan in a seemingly arbitrary arrangement of things or processes. Recognizing is the analytical part of patterning, while forming is basically a creative act of constructing new patterns. – Sparks of Creativity An example of a pattern is a Quick Response (QR) code. A QR code, a registered trademark of Denso Wave (a subsidiary of Toyota), is a twodimensional barcode that is becoming popular and widely recognized by the public who want immediate access to more information. Scanning this code with camera-enabled smartphones and other portable devices can direct us to websites, phone numbers, multimedia content, SMS messages, maps and directions, email addresses, social communities, coupons, music downloads, or images. This pattern is a perfect representation as I relate this cognitive tool in teaching the topic. With all the known uses of a QR code, it is very important to use this pattern in directing people to information that is significant for personal and professional growth. An example is a career searcher who generates a QR code that will direct potential employers to his online resume posted in LinkedIn. Because of its increasing familiarity and acceptance, it can be used in showcasing skills, expertise, or artistic creations by using a generated QR code to lead to one’s e-portfolio or website. A QR code has a great potential in producing many ways of building connections with other people or communities through social networking. It is crucial to teach adult learners that the major role for a QR code in education is for personal branding in a professional setting.


QR codes are becoming so common that we need to create these patterns with eye-catching colors and not just plain black and white. Add more artistic flare on the pattern to get more attention from the public but still maintain its readability feature for camera-enabled mobile devices. Why? For competitive edge in the social and mobile world!

We can maximize the effectiveness of this cognitive tool by learning the skill of recognizing a familiar pattern then turning it into a new and unique pattern.




are interconnected through social media. A connection can also be represented by the relevant interests, talents, and skills each member of the network can offer that could bring about more connections. To illustrate abstracting, I decided to use nature to represent the two elements of connection. DANDELIONS with WATER DROPLETS can be an abstract representation of the core of my topic. The dandelion is a visualization of the whole social network of people which are represented by the flower seeds. The water droplets portray the interests, talents, and skills that join people. As the interests, talents, and skills get bigger, so does the droplets of water. ABSTRACTING | DANDELION PHOTO CREDIT: ISTOCKPHOTO

ABSTRACTING Abstracting is having the ability to identify and to single out a major attribute from a concept, image, domain, or anything. Once the main feature has been identified, the feature is further represented to emphasize its significance. This cognitive tool also uses analogy to highlight the major elements. The very essence that I can extract from social networking is CONNECTION. An adult learner who has learned this thinking tool has the ability to grasp the concept of thinking abstractly about considering everyone as major pieces of a connection. Through abstracting, he also can picture himself in the connection and as someone who has a vital role to contribute to the relevance of the network. A connection can be represented by people who


EMBODIED THINKING Embodied thinking requires the experience of naturally involving the body when producing thoughts, making decisions, solving problems, or creating solutions. This reminds me of Ken Robinson’s TED video when he describes some university professors who live in their heads and look upon their body as just a form of transport for their heads. We should also be able to empathize with what we experience while thinking. Empathetic thinking means that we should feel and relate to the situation or the concept as we strive to fully experience or expand our creative potentials. Embodied thinking can be applied in education though social networking, simulations, and digital games. In the paper, Using the Technology of Today, In the Classroom Today, the authors explain that today’s technology has instructional, embodied, and cognitive implications for learning by letting students be more connected, engaged, and have fun activities and interactive games. Empathetic thinking is crucial for social media.




Todd Wilms said it very well in his article, Social Media Success is Just One Thing: Empathy, which you need to ask what people want before you start talking. Empathy is the key to social media success. Unlike other communication channels, the power is placed in the hands of the audience, not the speaker. Being responsible and sensitive to whom we connect with prevents us from being in a one-way connection. We all want to be heard and we all want to belong, but it is essential to understand how to set our limits and respect someone’s boundaries online in order to help us enjoy the powerful benefits of social media. Empathetic thinking is required when watching a YouTube video with more than 200 people - young and old, men and women, formally and casually dressed, dancing in unison to the beat of the background music. Why a video of people dancing? “Rhythmic bodily movement is instinctive. It connects people, even if unconsciously, to the rhythms of nature. Dance springs from a human desire for personal expression and social connection and it feels good.” – Michael Crabb, Why People Dance The video of people dancing perfectly represents social networking as it influences everyone to just naturally “dance” by connecting to the powerful benefits social media. It’s contagious!

MODELLING Modeling is a thinking tool that enables people to represent a complicated process, visualize a complex idea, and simplify a difficult concept through the use of models. These models can be made of smaller pieces of various representations, abstractions, or analogies and can be something realistic or theoretical. This tool encourages



creativity through dimensional thinking which allows people to perceive the concept, idea, or process in different angles, layers, or scales. Modeling is considered a higher-order cognitive tool because it involves combining other cognitive tools and dimensional thinking. This means that I need to perceive my topic using different approaches like realizing its core attribute (CONNECTION), finding out what makes a connection (COMMON INTERESTS, GOALS), and understanding what the connection may contribute to (CAREER, RELATIONSHIP, LEARNING). An example of modeling is through building a super cluster sphere using magnetic balls. This sphere is made up of 135 smaller spheres of magnetic balls. One small sphere is made up of 12 pentagons. It also shows how the magnets’ polarities affect the construction of the super cluster. The sphere represents the big social network that adult learners can belong to. The smaller spheres represent the groups that can be created through



Social media games have been growing in popularity because they can be so appealing to people with common interests. These games are fun, engaging, and effective for learning! Playbased curriculum can bring about interactive and instructional tools that assist in presenting the benefits of social networking for adult learning. How? Through role playing! Board games like Blogpoly, and interactive social games can let the adult learners reflect on how their participation in these activities can build more learning connections.


social media. The tiny pentagons are the initial connections (called groups) that an adult learner creates as he adds connections. The magnets’ polarities represent what links the small balls together. So what makes a person connect to another person or group? It can be attributed in part to the person’s or group’s common interests, ideals, purpose, or goals.

PLAYING Playing means keeping a learner engaged in a learning activity that promotes experiential learning, strategic planning, and problem solving skills. Sometimes, some people may misunderstand playing as wasting time, but it can be productive if it is used to foster creative learning concepts. Playing is a cognitive tool that can take many forms like dramatic play, interactive video games, boardgames, puppet shows, etc.


I found an example of a social media game and it shows how it can help adult learners produce ideas and strategies in formulating policies and solutions through the use of digital media. Groups of adults are introduced to a scenario – that is, being in a multi-cultural community with challenges such as a large young multicultural population with little intercultural communication and lots of problems with youngsters in the streets. These challenges result in higher tensions in the area, a lot of negative press coverage, hostile attitude towards journalists, high unemployment rate, and low positive identification with the neighborhood. The complete details about this game are explained further in the Social Reporter site.

Teachers are encouraged to use playing in their classrooms by incorporating it in the curriculum. Teachers are helping students identify their learning and endlessly build their imagination.



SYNTHESIZING As I bring all these cognitive tools together, I am using another cognitive tool – SYNTHESIZING! “All creative work can be understood as a result from such synthetic knowledge.” – Sparks of Creativity, Wiki WE CAN DELIVER ANY TOPIC FROM A FLAT APPROACH INTO A MORE MULTI-FACETED STRATEGY. MY ELEVATOR PITCH SLIDEROCKET


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