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A Case for Social Media in the Classroom – Today!

February 9, 2011

Here’s a fascinating example of how using Twitter in the classroom can give students a very different perspective of world events.

George Briggs writes, “

I have recently taken to using Twitter, primarily to keep updated on interesting ideas and events rather than sending updates on my whereabouts and activities. As a ‘boomer’ I am what Marc Prensky terms a “digital immigrant” in that I have adopted new technologies – but my learning curve is quite steep and I am often hesitant in my practice.

Kids in schools today are in Prensky’s terms “digital natives,” and to them, technologies such as Twitter are second nature. Or as Don Tapscott says, “technology is like air to them.” Why is it then that most educators and administrators are so loathe to let kids use ‘their’ technologies in schools?

Eliminating distractions is one argument often presented in the case against social media technology in schools but in my view, this is a matter of classroom management more than anything else. If social media technologies, such as Twitter, are present without curricular application, the impulse for kids will be to use them in a distracting manner, adding to classroom management issues.

On the other hand, if teachers leverage the power of these technologies to further engage their students in class, the issue of distraction begins to fade and the classroom becomes a dynamic place for kids to be.  Let me develop an example.” More…

George goes on to describe the current political struggle in Egypt and how Twitter post coming out of the area are far different then mainstream news.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 9, 2011 5:50 pm

    Of course, Twitter itself is really not popular with young people.

    In the end, we trust that teachers have a better understanding of how kids learn than kids do. That’s why we send kids to school and don’t just give them a computer and instructions to “learn.” If there is a case to be made for incorporating social media into the curriculum, then let’s go ahead with a pilot program. The program should aim to demonstrate that the addition to the curriculum lead to all students learning significantly more than students in the traditional curriculum. If this cannot be demonstrated, then what value does social media have in the classroom?

    The logic suggesting that social media should be placed in the classroom because it is popular is no more sound than suggesting silly bands should be used in curriculum.

    • February 10, 2011 3:35 pm

      While I agree that social media is not suited to every course and that teachers should be the ones to know what their students need to learn, I think the point of many of the articles I have found and posted on the subject is that there are instances where the addition of social media to a course enhances student learning. Some teachers avoid using social media because 1. they don’t know how to use it themselves, 2. their school districts have banned it or 3. because they feel that social media is not useful for anything more then kiddy gossip. I believe there are uses for social media in the classroom and school setting, in the right context. Teachers and school administrators have used social and other media successfully in their teaching and communication strategies and these uses can be helpful in other classrooms and schools.

  2. February 28, 2011 7:13 am

    Hey, good news, thanks for that

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