The importance of Online support networks for educators #SocMedHE20 #educator_connect

17 December 2020

We invite you to join the conversation through our presentation for this year's #SocMedHE20 Tweetposium Conference . Our presentation takes the form of a series of Tweets and Flipgrid Videos discussing how social media can be used to build community, care and compassion.

#SocMedHE20 the 6th Annual Social Media in Higher Education Conference
Sketchnote Image of #SocMedHE20 Tweetposium Questions by @sarah_wright1


In March 2020 a group of educators came together in search of mutual support to help combat worries and concerns in relation to the impact of the COVID19 Pandemic.

Sue Beckingham, Deb Baff, Rachelle O'Brien, Dawne Irving-Bell, Suzanne Faulkner & Sarah Wright

Through our existing contacts in our own Personal Learning Networks, we were able to to harness support and strengthen our connections through the power of social media.

How it all began ...

It all started with a great idea from our Rachelle ! Rachelle contacted us all to ask if we would be interested in hanging out online one day ... the rest is history !

Here is an extract from Rachelle's blog post where she talks about how she reached out to us on Twitter. You can read the full version on Rachelle's blog post via the button below,

"... I was brave. I reached out to 5 Twitter friends that I knew from conference goings and various online chats and tentatively asked if they might like to meet up one evening and have a drink together and check-in. To my surprise they all said yes! Well… that was the start of the end. One chat led to another, and another. We met for the first time on a Friday at 4pm. We were still chatting at 6pm. It wasn’t awkward (as I always fear), it wasn’t forced, there was no need to facilitate the conversation, it just felt easy and wonderful and like we had always been together. I felt happier than I had in weeks."

Social Media Tools

We chose to use a combination of a Twitter Direct Message Group, a WhatsApp Group Messaging and regular synchronous online video chats, these varied with platforms depending on who was organising them. Read more about the tools we have used on Sue's Blog via the button below

Twitter, WhatsApp and Various Synchronous Video Platforms

Deb's Online Social Support Research

My PhD research aims to explore educators' experience of emotional and online social support within Personal Learning Networks. You can follow my journey on my blog below.

Follow me on twitter @debbaff
Share your experiences

Share your Experience

We would love to hear from you on Twitter or Flipgrid...

Join in on twitter or on flipgrid

Comment in the Tweetposium on Twitter

Comment on our Educator Support Network Flipgrid

Contribute to our Flipgrid Topics but clicking the buttons below
Join in our conversation during the Tweetposium on Thursday 17th December 2020. You can respond on Flipgrid by leaving us a message on any of our Flipgrid Topcis or comment on Twitter using the hashtags #SocMedHE20 and #educator_connect
Flipgrid Topics
#SocMedHE20 #educator_connect
Click the button below to visit this Flipgrid Topic
#SocMedHE20 #educator_connect
Click the button below to visit this Flipgrid Topic
#SocMedHE20 #educator_connect
Click the button below to visit this Flipgrid Topic
#SocMedHE20 #educator_connect
The Importance of Online Support Networks for Educators


Following the event, we intend to create an output summary of our presentation which will contain the following resources ...

  • a Tweetmoment of the Tweet responses
  • word cloud of key points from the Flipgrid Videos
  • an infographic of top tips on using social media to create online support networks
  • a collaborative sketchnote highlighting key points across both discussions in relation to how Social Media can be used to build community, care and compassion.
Follow #SocMedHE20 #educator_connect for updates

Author Profiles

Deb Baff

Debbie Baff is the Membership and Professional Development Manager for the Association for Learning Technology (ALT) and leads a portfolio of work relating to Membership Services and has responsibility for the development and management of the CMALT Accreditation Framework. Debbie has been working in UK Higher Education since the late 1990’s working across all areas of the student and staff experience. She is an experienced Senior Academic Developer and Manager, is a fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) and is a Certified Online Learning Facilitator (COLF) and Flipgrid Certified Educator .

Debbie holds a Masters in Online and Distance Education, an MSc in Business Psychology and a BSc (Hons) Pyschology , Debbie is in her fourth year of a part time PhD in Technology Enhanced Learning and E- Research at Lancaster University. Her research interests include personal learning networks and emotional support, open, social and online collaboration and connecting communities through technology enhanced learning. Prior to her career in education, Debbie was a qualified Chartered Surveyor. Debbie is a fan of bitmoji's, flipgrid and anything pink and sparkly and can be found on twitter via @debbaff

Sue Beckingham

Sue is a National Teaching Fellow, Principal Lecturer in Digital Analytics and Technologies in the Department of Computing at Sheffield Hallam University with a lead role in Learning Teaching and Assessment. She is also a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, a Fellow of the Staff and Educational Development Association, a Certified Member of ALT and a Certified Management and Business Educator. Her research interests include social media for learning and digital identity, and the use of technology to enhance learning and teaching; and she has published and presented this work nationally and internationally as an invited keynote speaker. She writes a blog called Social Media for Learning and can be found on Twitter as @suebecks. In 2015 she was shortlisted by Jisc as one of the Top 50 most influential higher education (HE) professionals using social media. An advocate of informal learning, she is a co-founder of the international #LTHEchat 'Learning and Teaching in Higher Education Twitter Chat'.

Dr Dawne Irving-Bell

Dawne is a Senior Learning and Teaching Fellow at Edge Hill University. She is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and recently received a national award in recognition of her outstanding contribution to teacher education. In her current role Dawne leads on university-wide strategies to enhance student learning. Dawne is the Network Lead for the AdvanceHE Connect Social Media for Learning Group, Editor of the Journal of Social Media for Learning and a member of the Scientific Committee for EuroSoTL 2021. Using funded secured from AdvanceHE Dawne established The National Teaching Repository a platform where colleagues can share effective interventions that lead to real improvements in teaching & learning. Dawne leads on the University’s Graduate Teaching Assistant Teaching in Higher Education Programme, and the Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching in Higher Education Developing Practice through Pedagogic Research Module. She is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (PFHEA) and proud to be a member of the team who recently secured a Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence. Dawne can be found on twitter @belld17

Suzanne Faukner

Suzanne Faulkner is a teaching fellow in Prosthetics and Orthotics, within the department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, she is also a facilitator trained in the LEGO® Serious Play® (LSP) methodology. Suzanne is passionate about enhancing the student experience by focusing on improving student engagement, utilising social media in learning and teaching and incorporating playful learning. She has an active interest in the use of LSP to enhance participation of non-native speakers of English in group work activities. She has been nominated and shortlisted for several teaching excellence awards and is currently undertaking an EdD. Suzanne can be found on twitter @SFaulknerPandO

Rachelle O'Brien

Rachelle works as a Senior Digital Learning Designer within Durham Centre for Educational Development at Durham University.She has worked in Higher Education and as a consultant for a number of years in roles supporting staff with the pedagogical use of technology. She is passionate about digital education and her research interests include: games, playfulness, cognition and creativity with a key interest in encouraging engagement and motivation with learning. She has recently graduated from an MSc in Digital Education where she conducted research into the use of game-informed learning, as a concept, which considers how we as educators can work to make education more playful – the Friday seminar will focus on this research. Rachelle can be found on twitter @rachelleobrien

Sarah Wright

As Faculty Senior SOLSTICE Fellowship Lead, Sarah has a strong interest in innovation in teaching and learning in higher education. Her role has seen her develop projects on the use of social media and online teaching, as well as lecture engagement and seminar design. Sarah is an Apple Distinguished Educator and enjoys collaborating with a global network of educators, reflecting on research informed pedagogies which she can disseminate within the University. Sarah has written for the Times Educational Supplement, contributing on a range of educational issues and sat on the Board of Management for NAACE, the national association for educational technology. Last year, she co-chaired the National Conference for Social Media in Higher Education and is now proud to sit on the editorial board for the journal. Sarah is a Fellow of the Chartered College of Teaching where she also enjoys reviewing for ‘Impact’ journal. Sarah was shortlisted for the Guardian Excellence in Teaching award in 2019 and the Educate North award in the same category. She was proud to win the Student Led Staff Award for Outstanding Contribution to Teaching. Sarah is a self confessed geek, enjoying nothing more than arguing with a Google Home or exploring the latest features of VR - however, she prides herself on taking an informed and insightful approach to the use of technology in learning. You can find Sarah on twitter @Sarah__wright1

Created By
Debbie Baff


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