Networked Learning through Social Media

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Networked Learning using Instagram and Twitter to engage students in the international Fashion Revolution Day with @Fash_Rev #FashRev #RMITMOFE

Related pattern: Mobile Learning, Networked Learning (coming soon)

Fashion Revolution Day was started to raise awareness about the working conditions in many clothing factories, and is held on the anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster in Dhaka, Bangladesh, where 1133 people died and 2500 were injured.

What

This project used social media channels to connect people studying the Master of Fashion (Entrepreneurship) “Sustainable Product Design and Development” course in the international Fashion Revolution Day activities. Using hashtags for the program (#RMITMOFE) and Fashion Revolution movement (#Fash_Rev) on Instagram and Twitter, students posted quotes and ideas captured during a live panel discussion, and later posted images of themselves asking “Who made my clothes?” Each student was required to do a minimum of three posts over one week.

Why

The activity connected students to like-minded individuals in the fashion industry through social media. It also demonstrated how social media can impact on ethical issues, and how fashion brands need to be responsive to public sentiment in social media. Instagram and Twitter are important tools for people working in the fashion industry in Australia, but prior to the project the program did not have a presence on social media and very few students had used these tools in their studies. In addition, the final assessment in the course asked students to analyse a social change campaign. Students were encouraged to reflect on their involvement in the Fashion Revolution activities within RMIT and on social media in order to do this.

The lecturer, Fabia Pryor, noted that students engaged in the topic as a result of their self-directed learning through social media, which involved finding new resources, connecting to others with similar interests and even getting responses to their posts from industry. This feedback from outside their cohort increased their sense of connection to the industry and issue. Using the tools this way also helped students to connect the sustainability discussion with the wider fashion industry.

How

  1. Identify an event, movement, issue, organisation or industry related to the course content that you want students to actively engage with.
  2. Identify the social media channels and create accounts, if required. In this case, it was RMITMOFE on Instagram and Twitter.
  3. Establish student confidence in these channels as early as possible in the course, so that they are ‘fluent’ when the event occurs.
  4. In the lecture prior to the event, share the social media handles or hashtags that will be used and explain the activity to students. Be explicit about how many posts are required over what timeframe (e.g., three posts within one week), and the channels (e.g., Instagram, Twitter, the hashtag).
  5. If connecting this with a live event, display social media posts during the presentation. (For example, at the Fashion Revolution panel students were encouraged to take part by posting to Instagram and Twitter using the hashtags during the event. An additional screen displayed their posts.) Twitterfall.com and visibletweets.com are two of the possible display options.

Technical support

Note: You can only create an Instagram account and upload photos using the smartphone Instagram app, but you can view public Instagram posts when you sign in online. You can also view Instagram posts using sites such as websta.me.

Acknowledgements

Kate Kennedy (Lecturer, School of Fashion & Textiles)

Fabia Pryor (Casual Academic, School of Fashion & Textiles)

Howard Errey (Educational Developer, College of Design and Social Context)

Andrea McLagan (Educational Developer, College of Design and Social Context)

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