Social media can be broadly defined as any internet- or mobile-based technology that promotes social interaction and the sharing of user-generated content. Examples include blogs and microblogs (Twitter), social networking sites (Facebook), and video sharing sites (Youtube). In recent years, as technologies have improved and become more accessible, social media has evolved into a powerful tool that brings individuals with common interests together in interactive communities that form opinions and sometimes take actions that affect societies. 

In the devastating Jeddah floods of November 2009 Saudi youth members in Facebook took the initiative to communicate the seriousness of the emergency event not only to their immediate community, but also to the whole country and the world. Their social responsibility was not only manifested in their immediate support and help (such as in goods and clothes donated by volunteers), but also by mobilizing civil society through the publication of alarming scenes and videos of the flood. Thus, the entire society, including government officials, became aware of the severity of what has happened in Jeddah. 

The Jeddah flood has triggered interest in the academic field about the power of social media and how it can be utilized to bring youth together for positive change. Unfortunately, there are also reports of incidents where social media has been used in destructives manners as in blackmailing. It is therefore important to understand the pros and cons of social media and to raise awareness on how to better utilize social media while at the same time avoid its dangers and drawbacks.

This year’s Learning and Technology Symposium will examine social media from a variety of perspectives, with featured speakers ranging from socially conscious Saudi youth to academic experts in the field. In addition to the presentations and discussions, the Symposium aims to promote social media practices in schools and universities.  National and international education and technology experts will join forces to (1)   develop a holistic educational program on social media aimed at high school students; (2) produce an academically-oriented case study on the use of social media during the Jeddah flood and; (3) initiate a research project that investigates the use of social media by educators in Saudi Arabia.  It is thus hoped that this year’s symposium will make a lasting impact on the academic community and contribute to the advancement of social media as an instrument of positive change.


Wednesday December 15, 2010
Venue: Effat Hall

8:00 – 9:00
Session 1:
Opening Session
9:00 – 9:10
Quran and National Anthem
9:10 – 9:20
Welcome Address: What’s APP with Social Media?
Haifa Jamal Al-Lail, President, Effat University
9:20 – 9:35
Social Media and Educational Institutions
Tarek Shawki, Director, UNESCO, Egypt
9:35 – 10:00
Social Media around the World: What’s the buzz?
Tony Proudian, Managing Director- PAN Arab Research Center (PARC), Saudi Arabia
10:00 – 10:40
Serving My Community: Lessons from the Jeddah Floods
In the aftermath of the November 2009 floods the Jeddah community witnessed the power of social media in moving a community to act. This session will take a look back at what happened, and examine how and why this technology was able to make such a strong impact on all sectors of the society.  
Co-Facilitators:  Ghazi Bin Zagr, Binzagr Group of Companies and Kholod Ashgar, Student Affairs Assistant to the Dean, Effat University and Jeddah Youth who participated in the event (Fatima Al-Banawi, Ali Al-Ghazzawi, Mohammed Jastania, Rasha Hefzi)
10:40 –11:00
New Media and the Rise of the Public Sphere in Saudi Arabia: the Case of the 2009 Floods in Jeddah
Yeslam Al-Saggaf, Research and Consultancy Institute Director, Effat University
11:00 -11:15
Coffee Break
Session 2

11:15 – 12:30
Social Media for Social Change
As a follow-up to the previous session, panelists will discuss the wider applications and implications of social media, and how its use can be optimized for the greater good.

Facilitator: Saddiga Al-Ghalib, Dean, Graduate Studies and Scientific Research, Effat University
John Smith, Learning Alliances, USA
Nazeeh Alothmany, Assistant professor at the Electrical and Computer Engineering Dept (Biomedical Option) at King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah
Bayan Abuzinadah, Co-founder of Rumman Company, KSA
Michael Fast, Senior Education Advisor, Global Education Center, Academy for Educational Development (AED) – USA
Hanan El-Maghraby, Information Systems Student, College of Engineering, Effat University, KSA
Ziad Jarrar, Head Of Business Development / Partner at Spotmedia, Jeddah, KSA
Session 3

12:30 – 1:00
Keynote Speech
The 99 (
Dr. Naif Al-Mutawa, Founder and CEO, Teshkeel Media Group
1:00 – 1:30
Keynote Talk with Dr. Naif Al-Mutawa
Dr. Khaled Al Maeena, Editor-in-Chief, Arab News, KSA
1:30 - 2:30
Prayer and Lunch
Session 4

2:30 – 3:30
1001 Platforms
In the constantly expanding landscape of technology, how can we distinguish the spaces, places and tools that matter from trends that merely come and go? Presenters will be asked to identify the Top 3 platforms, in various domains, that they feel are truly worthy of our attention.
Facilitator: Annette Lagman, Dean, Quality Assurance, Effat University
Tiffini Travis, Director of Information Literacy & Outreach Services, California State University, USA
Nora Al Shiha, Social Media specialist – Marketing, Cisco
Maria Mahdaly, General Manager, Fainak , Jeddah 
Khayra Bundakji, Computer Science Student, College of Engineering, Effat University
3:30 – 3:45
Prayer Break
Session 5

3:45 – 5:30
Choices, Responsibilities, Friendships: Should My Teacher be My (Facebook) Friend?
A debate touching on issues of boundaries, privacy, connection, interaction and more, to help us answer the fundamental question of “Who is my community?”.
Facilitator: Rania Ibrahim, Dean, Students Affairs, Effat University
Graham Attwell, Director of Pontydysgu, UK
Kathleen Guillaume, Dean, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Effat University
Nazeeh Alothmany, Assistant professor at the Electrical and Computer Engineering Dept (Biomedical Option) at King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah
Hebah Al Omari, Student, Effat University, KSA
Fatima Al-Banawi, Pshyclology Student, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Effat University

5:30 – 6:00
Closing of Day One

Thursday December 16, 2010
Venue: Effat Hall – Workshop Rooms
The second day of the Symposium will be a full day work session to produce concrete contributions based on the first day’s talks. The day will proceed along three tracks, which participants can choose among. 

Track 1:
Developing the Jeddah Flood event into a case study for academic use.
Session Leader: Graham Attwell, Director of Pontydysgu, UK
Track 2:
Producing an academic program to teach social media, for high school students and above.
Session Leader: 
Michael Fast, Senior Education Advisor , Global Education Center, Academy for Educational Development ( AED) – USA
and Amani Gandour, Curriculum Development Director, Effat University
Track 3:
Investigating the use of social media by educators in Saudi Arabia
Session Leader:  Saddiga Al-Ghalib, Dean, Graduate Studies and Scientific Research, Effat University
Since the final product cannot be completed in one day, participants will use a collaboration tool such as a wiki to continue working on the output after the Symposium. Part of the day will be devoted to training on how to use the tool. In addition to the case study and the educational program, research papers will also be written on the process of creating the outputs.

8:00 – 9:00 
Session 1

9:00 – 9:30
Day One Recap
9:30 – 11:00
Put on Your Running Shoes & Get Ready!
Facilitators will present an overview of the process and key elements of the desired outputs for each track. 
11:00 – 11:15
Coffee Break

Session 2

11:15 – 12:15
Technology Training
Participants will learn to set up and use wikis and any other tools that will be used for the work to be done.  
Cristina Costa,  Research Technologies Development Officer, University of Salford
John Smith, Learning Alliances, USA

12:15 – 1:30  
Prayer Break & Lunch
Session 3

1:30 – 3:30
Working Session to be Led by the Facilitators
Groups will start working on the key elements of their project. For example, they might begin identifying intended learning outcomes, case study guidelines, or research parameters. Groups should also set a schedule and assign tasks.

3:30 – 4:00
4:00 – 5:00
Wrap Up Session
Groups will report on their work for the day and future plans.