Monday, February 16, 2009

Dip Those Toes!

Weblogg-ed is thinking about Facebook.

I read that as a whole lot of parents and teachers are dipping their toes in the pool and at least beginning to come to terms with social networks. Whether they can see the potentials for learning is another discussion. But I can’t help but think this conversation for reform which includes teaching kids how to learn in networked publics and online communities will be given a boost by their participation.

Years ago, back when schools found out that kids were on MySpace, there was a great deal of trepidation in the ranks of educators. Fears of perverts lurking in the digital shadows and all that.

But then we all started using social networking sites. MySpace turned out to be a cross between an old-school shopping mall and a really big record shop. Facebook has turned into an interactive address book and organizing calendar. Much of the fear is gone. People are starting to feel comfortable in the digital world. They see that it's not going away. In fact, it's becoming more and more necessary.

I'll give you an example from my alternate life in music. I help run a venue in Baltimore. Twice a month or so, me and the other organizers get together and listen to a bunch of submissions. Almost every single one of those submissions comes through MySpace. Back when I was a kid, we had to spend our hard-earned money and product schlepping records to local clubs in exchange for gigs. Tours took forever to plan on your own, and we all had stacks of out-dated phone-numbers and addresses of promoters and venues across the country. Now, booking a tour is as simple as planning a time-frame for going on the road and emailing your MySpace link to promoters and venues; usually just takes two quick emails to secure dates anywhere in this country or most others.

Which gives you a whole lot more time to actually kick back and hone your chops.

1 comment:

  1. I recently got an email from our district IT people and superintendent. It stated that we should be using school webpages, email and moodle sites instead of trying to use things such as Twitter, Facebook, Wikispaces. I won't even start my tirade on sites that are blocked on the school network.

    Here's the problem that I have. The resources they suggested are extremely limited. The ones that aren't limited (Moodle) have a large learning curve (for me, let alone the students).

    In addition, the audience is limited. Who wants to write something on a school web page that has an audience of 2, the writer and the reader. (I'm not naive and know that the rest of the class isn't reading each other.)

    Using Twitter, students can post learning updates for the world and get feedback. Using a blog, they can have readers from Australia and get feedback from Norway.

    That's learning. The teacher is not the end all, be all, final word in what a student learns. I've got my objectives based on state standards but the learning can go so much farther than that and let students see the world around them.


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