Mrs A's Blog

My Rambling Thoughts on Teaching and Learning

Switched On and Connected…

I am a Geek…  I don’t hide it…  I like my Sci-Fi, I like my computer games, I like my online community and I hate to say it but I have more virtual friends than I do real friends.  I like being switched on and connected.

As a mother I am raising 3 Geeks – my children also like Sci-Fi, computer games and being switched on and connected.  This morning as I switched on and read my email one of my online communities had a survey about Social Media which included a video about how to prepare your Tween for Technology.

 

Now I don’t agree with everything Mia Freedman says however for the first time in a long time I felt that someone was giving SOME good advice about online communities and Social Media.  Everywhere else you look the solution for Teens and Tweens is to block Twitter, Facebook and anything else that the kids are using.  Lets face it.  Our Schools all seem to block Social Media.  But maybe we need to rethink Social Media.  I know that I get most of my information from Twitter.  I couldn’t live without my Twitter feed helping me to sift through sites, articles and information.  And If I need something that is usually the first place I head to find what I want.  So why are we stopping students from accessing a legitimate source of information.  Crowd sourcing is becoming more a part of life – how else do we sift through the millions of google responses to our search query.  So why are we not teaching them how to use it correctly and safely?

Recently I read an article titled What Schools are Really Blocking When They Block Social Media where S. Craig Watkins discussed the issue of schools and social media.  I have to agree with him if someone told me that I have to switch off and stop communicating with my virtual networks I think I would be lost and lonely.  My learning wouldn’t stop as I have a natural curiosity about the world and would find other ways to find the information but for our students when all they have ever known is the Internet and being switched on and connected I think it would stop them from investigating.

Mr Watkins went on to outline …

By blocking social media schools are also blocking the opportunity:

1)    to teach students about the inventive and powerful ways communities around the world are using social media

2)    for students and teachers to experience the educational potential of social media together

3)    for students to distribute their work with the larger world

4)    for students to reimagine their creative and civic identities in the age of networked media

I think that we need to embrace Social Media in schools, we need to teach students how to use it to find information, to connect with experts and to encourage students to learn for themselves.  We also need to teach them how to stay safe and to verify the information that they find.

 

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