Using Social Media to Foster Global Learning

Or Jo's attempt to crowdsource this paper...


  1. I've been reading articles all summer about ways people use social media to make connections globally, like this one on non-profit agencies. 

  2. There's been a lot of coverage, both in popular media and on academic sites, of the role of social media in the Arab Spring risings, for example.
  3. Many of the people who have used social media to get the world involved in the Arab Spring are students like our own, and their stories are truly inspiring. 

  4. And stories in social media can show Winthrop students that their concerns are very much like young people's concerns in other countries. 
  5. I looked at visual resources like Flickr, whose Commons feature has amazing pictures from around the world.
  6. Forbidden City (Beijing, China)
    Forbidden City (Beijing, China)
  7. I was thinking of just using Twitter, since its global growth has been so explosive ( ) and, unlike Facebook, it's more about pushing information than updating statuses.
  8. Like many of our students, I looked at obvious places like YouTube for inspiration..

  9. And frankly, I think we have the best video!
  10. Global Learning Initiative (GLI)
  11. Even a quick search shows there's tons of stuff out there about using social media for service learning and community involvement. 

  12. Global Service Learning
  13. So I decided to use social media to help set up my presentation about using social media to promote global learning. Through my Twitter account I'm connected with a number of people in very different fields--from higher education to medieval studies to fashion to food to NASCAR to social causes--so I decided to take my case to them.
  14. One of the big advantages of social media is crowdsourcing--collaborative development of ideas among people who may only know each other through social media (or not know each other at all). Having looked at the first level of ideas, I wanted some personal reactions. So I got to work.
  15. Then I grabbed my phone and recorded a one minute video, asking people to tweet me reasons why global learning was important for today's college students, and gave them the conference hashtag #WU_GLI. Then, using Twitvid (a Twitter video sharing site), I posted this tweet:

  16. If you don't know what that thing following the pound sign is, it's called a "hashtag" and it's how people search for information on Twitter. You put a keyword or phrase after the pound sign in your tweet, and then anyone who searches for that word or phrase on Twitter will see all the tweets in the public timeline that contain that hashtag. You can search through Twitter or through a site like
  17. I decided to compile the responses using another great free social media tool, Storify, which I learned about from former Charlotte Observer columnist Jeff Elder (who is now the Marketing Director at Storify).

  18. Jeff has been watching us build this conversation from his new home in San Francisco.
  19. Almost immediately I started getting responses--and retweets, which spread the message even further.
  20. A graduate school classmate, also on Twitter, chimed in her perspective.