1 Marist College (UNITED STATES)
2 State University of New York at Buffalo (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2015 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Pages: 4074-4080
ISBN: 978-84-608-2657-6
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 8th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 18-20 November, 2015
Location: Seville, Spain
The proliferation of information and communication technologies (ICT) provides unprecedented access to information, allowing humans a new way to interact globally. Advances in ICT have propagated the widespread adoption of social media, which is increasingly used for socializing, organizing events, spreading news stories, learning new languages, and supporting business strategies. This paper presents an innovative new course offered to college freshman across all majors as part of their first-year experience titled SMART: Social Media As a Revolutionary Technology. This active-learning course was developed to examine the rise of the information age and the ubiquitous presence and impact of current social media such as Facebook, You Tube, and Twitter. Students learn about information literacy, written communication, and oral communication in the 21st century by examining the impact of their digital landscape and the unique opportunities afforded by technologies that promote global communication. The use of technology in education is re-framed by examining strategic applications of social media that transcend common uses such as connecting with friends. Successful social media campaigns require more than passion and perseverance; they require research, preparation, strategic design, monitoring, and metrics for measuring effectiveness. SMART utilizes a framework for planning and implementing social media projects—The Dragonfly Effect—to empower students to strategically leverage social media technologies to promote social good.

Emphasis is placed on:
a) the importance of establishing a focused goal that is time-bound and measurable;
b) grabbing attention by developing a visceral campaign that delivers something unexpected and appeals to universal emotions (i.e., happiness, sadness, disgust, fear, anger, surprise);
c) engaging people through transparent campaigns that foster collaboration and authenticity; and
d) delivering an inspiring call to action.

This course analyzes the design and metrics of social media campaigns such as the Save Sameer and Vinay bone marrow drives, Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, and Kickstarter efforts. In addition, this paper presents five class projects aimed at raising social awareness and charitable fund raising: Don’t Drive Intexticated: No Texts No Wrecks, Charity Water, Santa’s Holiday Helpers, Project Raspberry Pi, and 17 Acts of Kindness. Campaign benchmarks and evaluative metrics are presented and discussed, including the results and overall impact of the campaign projects. The course curriculum was developed as an active learning model, engaging students by turning theory into action as students work in small teams to design, promote, implement, and measure their campaigns’ impact within a semester-long project course. In this unique interdisciplinary course, students learn a greater social awareness through the deployment of digital service learning in which any student, regardless of major, can leverage technology to become an agent of change.
Information and communication technologies, digital service learning, Web 2.0, social media, educational projects, interdisciplinary curriculum.