Dan O'Connor

Dan is responsible for translating social media research into the analytic and conceptual frameworks which underpin the team’s product and service development. He is particularly interested in how social media has changed the ways in which people exchange information within networks, and the impact that these changes have had on traditionally top-down information systems, such as those prevalent within the health, education and NGO sectors, where he leads RMM’s activities.

Dan’s focus upon health and education stems from his background in academia: He has a PhD in History and, as well as being Head of Research at RMM, he is a member of faculty at the Berman Institute of Bioethics at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, USA. He has published and lectured widely on the ethics of social media use within healthcare systems, and is involved in the application of social media in medical education at Johns Hopkins hospital.

Dan likes cooking, martinis, and irony. Frequently at the same time.

3 responses to “Thinking About Social Media for Education: The Vertical/Horizontal Challenge”

  1. Matt Rebeiro

    Interesting start Dan. As part of this – and no doubt pre-empting your subsequent posts – presumably as well as looking at how those in the classroom (i.e. educators and their charges) can benefit from social media, you will also look at those outside of the classroom? Here i’m thinking about adminstrators, parents, education materials producers (e.g. educational publishers) etc. and think about how they can also benefit from, and support those in the classroom using social media.

  2. Iain MacMillan

    Agree. Nice set up of the overarching challenge. I assume a potential solution might be that the power of a horizontal system may be in the way that it complements existing aspects of the vertical system? I’m wondering whether social media pilot programs in the education sector have foundered in the past because people were looking for cheaper, replacement methods and processes.

  3. Sue

    I love the idea of a horizontal strand to teaching which empowers the learner and encourages them to locate and rely on sources other than their teacher. I can see how social media technologies could play a part in BLP (building learning power) an educational theory developed by Guy Claxton that aims to help students become better learners by encouraging an awareness of how they learn and stimulating a curiosity that leads them to find sources beyond the classroom. However, as technologies such as Twitter and Facebook do not come with CRB checks and turn a blind eye to underage users, the potential for usage within secondary schools is difficult to envisage. Facebook is already a huge issue in terms of bullying and parents often do not understand that schools cannot monitor its content.

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