Making education better – what happened at the Social Media – Connect:Disconnect hack

Follow the debates that are emerging on social media from the FH2 hack – Social Media – Connect:Disconnect

A blog by Andrew Middleton (@andrewmid) of Sheffield Hallam University, reflecting on the hack

A Social Media Learning Space: reflections on #FutureHappens – Connect:Disconnect

A blog by Future Happens peep, Dave White (@daveowhite) about the hack afternoon

Future Happens – Social Media

A blog by another FH peep, Donna Lanclos (@donnalanclos), reflecting on the connect:disconnect part of FH2

Connect : Disconnect

A response to Donna’s blog post by Sheila McNeil (@sheilmcn)

My connect: disconnect struggles

So, follow the debate through the blogs and on the #futurehappens hashtag

Future Happens 2 landed on Friday 5th May in the form of the Social Media – Connect:Disconnect hack.  Bringing together 39 people (staff and students) representing 21 different institutions and groups, the hack was a space to generate and test positive ways to intervene and engage in teaching and learning through social media practices.  The people in the room were there to make the most of social media in teaching, learning and assessment. They recognised social media as a complex, emotive, powerful, fast changing and sometimes controversial aggregation of practices, attitudes, technologies and learning. Through a series of fast-paced, intense and sometimes personal and experiential engagements, the crowd in the room generated positive principles for engaging with social media against a series of knowledge and skills capabilities that social media can help enhance.  What was critical to us was the assumption that none of this was easy. The spaces in which social media have inhabited are rent with tensions, which we try to expose in the section of the hack called Burnt.  Sharing the crowds real life horror stories, super positive personal aspirations and imagined worst case scenarios allowed the people in the room both a chance to make the pictures of the scenarios we face more real, but to also test their principles in the wild.

Ultimately Future Happens is not a talk fest.  We started this because there is frequently disconnections between the practices of higher education and technology and the strategic intentions and actions of the institutions.  Our ambition for Future Happens is that we can be part of the nexus between those two states, supporting the people who want or have skin in the game.  It is easy to make pronouncements about pedagogical, technological or institutional change from the ‘islands’, when the consequences of advocating for and implementing that change are limited to your world, your classroom, your twitter feed.  They are safe spaces, full of friendly faces and welcoming and supportive practices.  But decisions, assertions and opinions all have consequences; for your students, for the worlds they inhabit and for your institutions.  The challenge comes when you need to scale what you speak.  You need to make the future happen for your entire institution. What happens when the VC, the Dean or the Director says ‘we need to this transform the whole institution’? What do you say and do? How do you make sure you say the right things, in the right rooms, with the right people?   
We hope that Social Media – Connect:Disconnect can provide some of the catalysts for these debates, discussions and change at your institution.  Maybe you will run a post-changehack, maybe you start a conversation, maybe you will engage with people who don’t agree with you, maybe you will hear more of what your students and your staff are telling or maybe you will just ban Facebook and Twitter at the firewall level.  But at least the start made by the crowd of 39 at FH2 is there to help with whatever you and your institution want to face up to.

Have a read of the documents produced by our crowd right here…

A curated version of the hack outputs is here http://www.futurehappens.org/curated-principles/