Social Media and the SoMe Summit

By Jonathan Sherbino (@sherbino)

Medical education, like many other academic disciplines, can become a victim of buzz words.  Self-directed, asynchronous, operationalize, etc.  (Don’t even think of using the word “passion” in front of me.)  It seems to me that SoMe has also reached the buzz word tipping point; it’s included in nearly every med ed conversation I’ve had in the last three months.  (This is what I mean by social media: the use of digital technology to engage geographically-dispersed individuals via the creation or exchange of content related to a common theme.)

Certainly, the social media phenomenon is not new.  However, the broad incorporation of social media concepts into medical education by the “late majority” of technology adopters is new. This is a good thing.  Technology has the potential to provide a platform to open up learning processes that were not available before.  The challenge, though, is to ensure that the promise of technology doesn’t drown out key learning theories.  A smart phone is a tool, not a substitute for principles from cognitive psychology.

To address this need to ground SoMe in education theory, the Royal College is hosting the Social Media Summit in Health Professions Education.

Plenary speakers include: Anne Marie Cunningham  (UK educator, blogger and opinion leader) who will discuss  How Social Media Can Change Health Professional Education, and Michelle Lin (editor-in-chief of AliEM; a digital learning platform with > 100,000 visits per month) who will address The Influence of Education Theory on Best Practices in Social Media.

Breakout sessions will cover:

  • Ethical and Professional use of Social Media for Health Professions Education
  • Defining and Evaluating Social Media Education Scholarship
  • Best Practices for Social Media platforms
  • How Education Theory should inform Social Media

During each breakout session, the relevant background literature will be reviewed and summarized by the session chair.  A facilitated discussion of key issues among all participants will occur. Virtual participation (via Twitter) will be included.  By the end of the session, a series of consensus statements will be agreed upon. The consensus findings of each session will be published in Postgraduate Medical Journal (a BMJ publication).  The articles will be free access, available for the entire medical education community to use.

Interested?  Do you want to participate in helping shape the direction of SoMe 2.0? Join us in Toronto on October 22.  (More details here.)