Social Media Is An Opportunity - Not A Problem In The Classroom

Source: ASIDE 2015

The resolute attitude of many schools to resist the “Social Age” by blocking websites within their walls strikes at the core of what it means to collectively share ideas. The system seems stuck in the notion that kids will do bad things if they have access to social media. Hello! They have access to it anyway, just not in school. We shake our heads every time we hear educators who want to share digital projects but can’t because of a school’s firewall. Some educators depend on the very students they teach to share when the leave the building in order to promote their work.

Source: ASIDE 2015
We value the opportunities at our disposal for creating digital portfolios with our students, running Tumblr pages for the humanitiesmaps, and classwork, using Twitter (@BCDS_History_56@BCDS_History_78>)and Kidblog, and sharing through Padlet to engage in the open practice of real-life skills.

Social media is not the culprit. In this day and age, digital environments are not separate from physical environments. If we want our students to understand the importance of building a healthy, digital footprint for prospective college applications and employment, then practice is imperative. It can’t be taught from a book.

Source: ASIDE 2015
Like other educators, we see the value in using social media. We are fortunate to work in a school that believes students learn by actively and responsibly participating in an online community of practice. We firmly believe that learning communities that allow students to use social media in their education build stronger digital citizens. They also encourage parents to be more proactive in the online behavior of their children by participating as digital partners.

We made a passionate plea to educators in our presentation, entitled “Tear Down This Firewall: Using Social Media To Engage Students And Parents,” at the annual NYSCATE conference. We showed multiple ways that we have incorporated social media in the elementary and middle school classrooms, as well as demonstrated how the skills learned from social media include context, framing, information, perspective, questioning, and problem-solving. We hope the solid foundation in instruction behind our students’ work will provide motivation for others to approach their administrations to unblock valuable web resources for learning. We included our SlideShare presentation here.

Tear Down This Firewall: Using Social Media To Engage Students & Parents from The American Society For Innovation Design In Education

The value of modeling, practicing, and incorporating social media into the curricula to better educate learners for a world that exists now is vital to their development. It builds the collectiveness of the community and a trusted bond between all participants, including administrators, faculty, students, and parents. Most importantly, it takes the fear out of the equation.

 In 2010, Rachel Botsam coined the term “collaborative consumption” in her critically acclaimed book, What’s Mine is Yours: How Collaborative Consumption is Changing the Way We Live. The theory of “collaborative consumption” is the reinvention of traditional market behaviors that are taking place at a rate not seen before as a result of technology. These changes affect more than just the economy; they influence and disrupt traditional learning environments as well. It shouldn’t be a “Them vs. Us” mentality; instead, it should build a collaborative network of makingsharing, and responding.

Source: ASIDE 2015
Yet despite this social revolution in an on-demand, real-time world, schools are still resistant to change, even though educators try desperately to show the value of collaborative work by using social networking.

As for the students, the firewalls may not be crumbling yet inside the bricks and mortar, but outside, learning takes on a life of its own, unfiltered without restrictions. They hunt and gather wherever they can, and technology has opened that door.

Students need to construct their social capital through shared networks, and schools need to participate in building it, not restricting it.

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