3rd post in a new series: PLN Tips 4 Teachers
I read this heartbreaking post from kindergarten teacher, Matt Gomez, today, The End of Facebook in My Class, and I was saddened that yet another battle has been lost between a teacher trying to help support students in the kind of learning that will help them in life because school policy got in the way. I’m tired that “learning” has been reduced to an institution, profit making industry, and a bunch of bad policies worldwide. And I am sickened to know that we as a society have allowed this to happen. But we can speak up now and try to change the system through social media. Social media gives us a voice and I am proof as also many others who use social media in education are that we can spread the message of what great learning is and try to change policy.
In order to do this we need to help people get over their fears. Systems control us because they feed on our fears. Policy has been allowed to ban and block sites and the use of various technologies, because we fear students will access them, post terrible things, and it will have detrimental repercussions. Let me tell you that this fear has already happened. 1000s of students have even committed suicide due to cyberbullying and sexting and guess what they didn’t access social media at school, they did this at home with only their peers to guide them and talk to them. Kids can’t come to us with these problems, which is sad because now social media is embedded in our lives and society.
We don’t teach students how to make positive footprints and how to handle sticky situations in social media because we fear that in schools they will make mistakes. That’s learning. Learning is making mistakes and having a guide to help you along the way correct those mistakes so that when you are alone and have to make the decision you make a much better one.
We miss so many magical teaching moments because the majority of policy bans us from guiding our learners to a better path with their social media use once they make mistakes.
How can you help?
Spread your examples of how you use social media in education. Get the word out and get people excited and try to alleviate their fears. I spend a lot of time in the media talking about the issue and I will continue to spread the word out through social media and my travels. I hope to reference the following great examples of social media use with learners. I’m including the great work Matt Gomez did using Facebook with his kindergarten class. I will miss reading about that great learning that took place with this initiative and can only hope that one day I will live in a world where learning isn’t controlled and schools really prepare kids for their lives in the real world.
You may want to also visit a post George Couros wrote in response to Matt Gomez’s post, The Power to Kill Innovation.
Great Examples of Social Media in Education
These posts are in no particular order:
Why I Am Using Facebook in the Class Again This Year by Matt Gomez
CSI Twitter- Crime Scene Investigation by Langwitches, Silvia Tolisano
Integrating Language and Science by Aviva Dunsiger
Teaching with Twitter in the Classroom by Shelly Blake Plock
Teaching Digital Citizenship Using Twitter and Lord of the Flies