Today on the #Edchat poll there are two topics rivalring closely in popularity and votes . The good thing is that I think they are related to one another, so I would like to cover both questions in this post.
Here we go. Question number one:
Social Media is growing and becoming commonplace in our society today. What role should it play in Education?
I would take this a step further to Social Media is becoming our society today. And therefore there is no question about the role it should play in Education. This is the same question the generation of Guttenberg stood before when the book print was invented. If you rewrite it for this epoque, it would look like
Book print is growing and becoming commonplace in our society today. What role should books play in Education?
See what I mean? Just because “we old guys” sometimes don’t see the wood for the trees, e.g. we don’t see the biggest shift in society since the book print, will not help us to prevent it. We have to accept it, we have to adapt it, we have to use it. Everywhere.
The video that opened my eyes is this TED Talk from Clay Shirky.
Many Districts ban social media from their computers. Should Social media be opened to teachers and students for collaboration?
I my opinion the biggest problem is that Social Media has the taste of being “just chatting, wasting time with nonsense”. Decisions are made by people who maybe just discovered the email. Scoble wrote a very interesting blog post about the grade of adoption of Social Media in his surroundings when he got his second child a couple of days ago. Worth reading.
You have to make clear that Social Media is a new, better and faster way to communicate in real time and not just a way to “stay connected with your friends”. Watch this video of a presentation of Enza Antenos-Conforti. She explains how she is using Twitter in the classroom to teach her students Italian.
Banning Social Media from school is like banning communication itself. Instead of trying to ban or control something the deciders cannot / don’t want to understand they should join the conversation and do what they expect from their teachers and students: Learn.