Social Media fan - Facebook in 2007 - Twitter in 2010 (plus two more accounts) – a few unsuccessful attempts at blogging but now happy with my Choose Awesome blog – I communicate, collaborate and create with people I know IRL and across the world – I learn through social media every day – students do too – 24/7 learning but not always in an educational setting
Communicating, connecting and collaborating is nothing new – penpals,phonecalls, notes passed in class – all the same concept, different toolBut it is now faster, more immediate and out there for anyone to see, criticise and analyse
Social networks will come and go but the concept of communicating, connecting and collaborating across those networks will remain. Social media includes not just Facebook and Twitter but also newer social media like Google+, a range of blogging tools and all sorts of apps (instagram, foursquare etc)
What does this mean to us as educators? We don’t want educationto be the Sony of the music industry when it comes to social media. Appleand the iPod snuck up on Sony and they lost their market share. Will the education sector lose their students because we don’t embrace social media, have they lost some already?
What does it mean for these two? Digital natives/21st century leaners/insert buzzword here! Wesit at the cusp of social media and learning – what will it look like when they enter high school in 2016 and 2017? What we do now as educators and parents will shape learning and social media – let’s not be Sony, let’s not lose the potential that social media has for learning because we weren’t paying attention
No matter how unlikely it may seem – social media and learning can be friends. It’s happened before, it happens now. We need to learn from those who are doing it well (children and adults) so that learning remains relevant.
For social media and learning to be friends, we have to model it, we have to model students who do it well– show them how to use it properly! Victorian 17yo who gives talks on protecting your identity onlineManners – etiquette – responsibility – the core concepts of digital citizenship should begin at home, before children even begin school!
So how do we approach social media and learning? There are many paths. Many options. Parents, students, leaders and teachers can go off in so many different directions that it’s difficult to know where to start. Try to offer a few suggestions from simple through to the more complex!
Facebook is obviously the most popular. I catch up with school friends and family (offer tech support) but I’ve seen students talk about assessment tasks, teachers (usually overseas) create groups/pages so they can distribute messages and homework. Other ideas include using the event scheduler for tasks, connect with other classrooms around the world, playing the embedded games, following news feeds, change language to a different one, post a pollLove FB and it offers potential but perhaps there may be too much stigma attached to it to be succesfully used for learning – there’s other social media available that can perhaps achieve more success for learning
Twitter – luuuuuuuuuuuuuurv! Facebook is the people you went to school with, Twitter is the people you wish you went to school with! Richer engagement with people, known and unknown
So many tools at their disposal – maybe it’s not about the tools - social networks will come and go, but the communication, collaboration and creation will go on! Social media is friends with learning because it can do those three things well. A few examples…
Access to news! News is changing – it’s instant and not necessarily provided by traditional outlets. Access thenews via social networks, create news via social networks, BE the news! Put live streams up during breaking news moments. Create an RSS feed within your class blog, school website, LMS for relevant news.
Stalk a celebrity!Pop culture is embracing social media and connecting with their audience – yesterday’s VMAs – ask celebrities questions via their blogs, twitter accounts, facebook pages – it’s surprising how motivated students become even at the possibility that their idol will reply!
Blogging – text blogging, video blogging, photography blogging, audio bloggingFrom reflection to portfolios to excursions to daily diaries to student work to breakfast! Blogging allows students, teachers, schools and communities to celebrate their learning and talk about their experiences with the world
Virtual worlds and MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) – allowing for collaboration and creativity to explode – PC and console ‘games’ from World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy through to Minecraft and Second life. Kids talk animatedly about their experiences in these worlds, create machinima videos that include video editing and commentary. All of this without a teacher ever standing at the front of the room “teaching” them
Collaboratively work on documents – google docs, wikispaces, windows skydrive, intranets (private and DET)Watched teachers do this to great effect. Students seem to be more hesitant – still need that guidance in groupwork and
Creating a PLN with all of these tools! Twitter, Facebook Google reader for staying up to date with blogs, Google Docs collaborationMany people here are part of that PLNRefer to Berlylium10 – student creating her own personal learning network for the HSC that will continue past school – asks questions, passionate about learning
With social media, the world lights up!. They’re connecting with others across the street, across town, across the country and across the world – whether through Skype, Edmodo, blogs or video conferencing equipment, the ability to expand our cultural learning experiences is broadened through social media
A voice for the quiet/shy/disadvantaged/isolated kids – aware that some also want anonymity (don’t want to be seen to be wrong) or it’s simply not something they are comfortable with – traditional school setting isn’t for everyone, social media might not be for everyone either but for those who are comfortable it does provide that opportunity to voice their opinion to the world either in text, video, audio or a combination of all three.
Weave social media into our learning programs and into our policies so that it can be a positive learning experience. Social media is a part of kids’ lives, of society in the 21st century. Just like the slates, pencils, books, and laptops that came before it, let’s make social media a part of learning. They can be friends
Social Media and Learning can be Friends!
Social Media<br />and Learning<br />can be Friends<br />Image credit: Amanda Venner<br />