Even though we didn’t have any assigned reading other than the book circle, I wanted to blog about the article on PBS about Using Social Media in the Classroom by by Gail Leicht and Don Goble. This was one of the articles that popped up on our class website’s RSS feed and I was very intrigued about the subject. It’s always a dilemma for educators to allow social media in classrooms and for a while I banned all technology in my classroom just because of fear of distraction from social media. As the article argues “would you give the keys to a brand new Ferrari to a 13-year-old with no driving lessons and say, have fun?” the answer is obviously no and we do have to train kids to use social media the right way. I can see how this is valid in K-12 education where it’s easier to train kids when they first start to use social media.
Before this class, I didn’t really see any benefit in social media for teaching and learning so I was dead set against it for using in classrooms. However, learning about the technological tools made me realize the huge amount of knowledge out there which can be tapped and gained through social media. Twitter is an amazing way to build professional networks and share wealth of information from all over the world. Blogging can be used the same way. I was amazed about the intellectual conversations that happen and how quickly problems can be resolved using these tools. I am sure Twitter can be used for purposes that are not intellectual at all just like any other social media. But, the upside is too much for us to completely ignore it. We just have to figure out a way to use these platforms to lure our students to start recognizing the benefits and using them to improve their knowledge. Importantly, we should plan our curriculum to integrate the technology to keep it relevant rather than just force them on the students. This is the way to keep it from becoming more of a distraction.