Friday, March 12, 2010

One More on Social Media

Type in to Google: #NALSPD . Then click on "options" then click on "latest". You will see everyone on Twitter talking about this conference on Social Media. Or click here:

One of the biggest points made: "Social Media is not a fad. It is a fundamental shift in the way we communicate." So don't just take it from me, but our language is evolving. When we cut Social Media out of our schools, we cripple our students from being able to communicate with the rest of the world. And how does that change their experience in society when they leave our schools? How does that affect how they handle college and the workforce? 

Prediction: In five years email will be dead. It already is for your students - just ask how many times they check email. Then ask how much they communicate on Social Media. Ask how much they talk on the phone to friends as opposed to how much they FaceBook each other.

How long will it take teachers and administrators to see that Textbooks are dead? That even PowerPoint slides are dead?

Currently we are facing two dilemmas in schools. Budget cuts, and Technology cuts by those who don't understand the media, the proper use, and the ramifications. And both could be solved by proper training in technology. (Have you looked at what's available to you with a FREE Google Account?

Just today I was told by someone that his son was stuck on a homework problem and he was able to Facebook his teacher and get feedback. Right then. Imagine if it was a more comprehensive question. And instead of this student getting some straightforward answer, he was directed correctly to a subject matter expert who was also on Facebook. Imagine how much richer that learning experience suddenly is. And it also sets a precedent that learning is happening all around.

Now, what happens when we just block this type of communication? Students are still left on their own, their Social Media is for socializing, no one is monitoring, and they don't make the very real connection between their online "socializing" and the real world. For examples just start using Twitter search terms like "need a job" or "got to get this homework done". You will find kids with racy pictures and unprofessional junk littered all over their online profile. And guess who is out there googling these student's names? College Entry Boards, Scholarship Advisory Boards, Employers, etc.

Our students are NOT mature enough to handle the ramifications of their online activity. And no one is teaching them to use it to their advantage in the real world. We are choosing to ignore it because we think Twitter is for telling the world what type of sandwich we are eating. And that Facebook is for stalking. They are both COMPLETELY false - though they've fallen in to that because no one is teaching or willing to learn.

Here's another point: We trust our teachers to take students into a small learning environment, we trust them to coach them, ride the bus, punish, and pull them out into the hall for one-on-one discussion. We trust them to pull a student over to their desk and whisper to them about their work while others take a test. We trust them to have students as officers of organizations for extra-curricular activities. We trust our teachers behind closed classroom doors. But we don't want them to have a public conversation?

And how many realize that I can message anyone on Facebook? Does anyone realize that a student can use the @ tag in front of my name and call me out on Twitter? I've had full conversations with people who were not followers or who I wasn't following. So what are we protecting students or even school districts from exactly?

As someone famous once infamously said, "No other generation has ever been better prepared for the Industrial Revolution."

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