Posts Tagged technology

Clay Shirky–Cognitive Surplus Assignment

The class I had last year was great in so many ways.  Sure there were some behavior issues, but generally, they were an energetic and happy bunch.  One thing that made them unique in my experience is they tended to shy away from class discussions.  Though good workers, individually and in small groups, the large group discussion didn’t produce a lot of apparent engagement.  I traditionally rely heavily on in class discussions; as such, we went a little faster than I’d normally go and a hole opened up in my long range plans.  Not wanting to run poetry as my only unit in language block, and not yet ready to start up their final presentations that would end their yearlong research, I was looking for something to do.

I had an assignment based on Clay Shirky’s article “Gin, Television, and Social Surplus “ that can be found at: https://tuckerteacher.wordpress.com/2011/05/02/mini-unit-clay-shirky-and-social-surplus/  I had tried it before in June or in small doses like if half a split was on an extended trip or such.  The results were always mixed, limited, and somewhat muddled.  Whatever the reason, I decided to give it one more try.  I modified the assignment a little bit and presented it to the class not really knowing what to expect.  Well, they, by-in-large, took off with it.  It was the highlight of the year for many; it has become one of my “flagship” assignments; students were so excited about it, that they showed up this year with their ideas ready (which created minor problems with the brainstorm section…).

It went so well last yea, that I let it run much longer than I intended.  I feel students got a lot out of it.  I am still finding ways to leverage it into better assessment and evaluation but it lead to so many mini-lessons on learning skills, specific content, social skills, problem solving and personal growth that I have come to really value it.  This year, instead of one chunk in April/May, we are working through it part of every Friday.

Last year’s projects:

  • A radio station: We bought a raspberry pi computer and a few other components.  While one person (and I…and my brother-in-law) was working on the technical and software aspect, the others were developing their shows and the advertising/surveys/other that went along with it.  There were a lot of problems to be solved with the tech (thanks Glen!!) but in the end, they (and I) learned a lot.  What I liked most about this group was that the project met their diverse interests.  The artistic student was interested in making their banner, posters, etc.  One was interested in the Tech. 2 were interested in the programing.  I’ve never seen a group work on so completely different aspects of a single goal
  • Bird houses: I remember being a little disappointed with this group’s choice.  They were very strong academically and had a strong social conscious.  I was hoping for something a little more hard hitting.  Well, I approved their plan; in truth, I thought they’d finish early and do another project.  Instead they worked long and hard; I think this group got the most out of it.  Researching, problem solving, team work, logistics, etc.  There were a lot of obstacles and skills to learn.  In the end, they made 13 bird houses (PS: if any of this group is reading this: I still have the bird houses….please put them up this winter so that birds can use them in the spring).
  • The Art Club: One group ran an art club for primary students. They were the best planned group I had.  Every time I had a question, they had thought of it already, and had a good workable answer.  Students in this group got to show strengths (planning, organizing, creating) that I had a hard time seeing in more traditional class work.  The primaries loved their club; they got to make a craft every week for 8 weeks.  I think members of this group were very proud of their work and happy with the opportunity
  • The Movie: though this group had some logistic problems, some focus problems, and the movie didn’t get an Oscar nomination, they had fun, worked on social and learning skills, were quit pleased with their work and success.  The Group was likely a little large and had trouble finding specific tasks for everyone to do at times, but they all came together to make a product and everyone say it through to the end.  I wish I could see their movie again
  • The Youtube Channel: this group wanted to make a Youtube channel that would host Minecraft instructional and walkthrough videos. Technical problems, logistics, and even a little problem with focus made this project seem a little less successful than I hoped, but in truth, they still worked on planning, brainstorming, problem solving, and all the other skills associated with group work and projects.  While their product never really took off, they had a lot of success in learning to compromise, learning the technology, and attempting to create.  There are well positioned to be more successful next time
  • Wilderness Survival club: another group wanted to learn about wild edibles and other wilderness survival skills.  The first researched and learned some skills, found some opportunities to practice and eventually decided to apply their skills by running a club for other students to teach and share what they had learned.  Eventually, we took a small group out into the woods Wednesdays after school to do: shelter building, fire starting and theory, and navigation.  Everyone, even myself, had fun.
  • Orienteering obstacle course: The final group learned orienteering skills and developed a course for their peers in a local green space. It was a very well organized and fun event for the class and a great day outside.  Even undercover police came to check it outJ

This year, the groups are again working on a diverse group of activities: a cooking club; a group making art installations around the school; a movie; another attempt at a Youtube channel;  buying, building, painting and engraving games on picnic tables for the school yard; a mural on the wall of the gym; an outdoor permaculture garden and classroom; and homemade T-shirts to raise money for a local animal shelter.   It’s going to keep the kids (and me) busy….I’ll let you know how it goes.

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Ask questions in class that can be googled, without Google of course!

Often, again among educational circles on the internet, you hear the phrase / command to “stop asking questions whose answer can be found on Google.”  Firstly, I think implicit to that statement is a devaluing of factual knowledge that I have addressed https://tuckerteacher.wordpress.com/2011/06/04/in-defense-of-facts/ where I argue that having factual knowledge is the basis of skills and is vastly different from having the ability to find factual knowledge, and in a corollary form https://tuckerteacher.wordpress.com/2011/06/25/im-not-dead-i-think-ill-go-for-a-walk-said-the-expert/ ; however, a few things remain to be said:

I have often replied to individuals who advocate the above with: “can you give me an example?”  Mostly, the call is ignored but occasionally, an individual replies with a broad statement about asking students for opinions. To this, I’d respond 2 ways.  1) To have an opinion, you require facts; opinions are a response to a fact.  They need a base or are merely a pseudo-opinion that may mimic the syntax of an opinion, but are valueless.  Thus, you must at least start with facts (that can be googled) that are firmly understood in order to have an opinion.  2) Have you met the Internet?  One is tempted to say that the majority of statements on the internet are opinions or pseudo-opinions.  Why can’t a student copy / mimic an opinion as much as a factual statement?  I wait in earnest for someone to give me a question that can’t be googled but can be answered by my students.  The only think left is to create—are they advocating jumping to the top of the beloved Bloom’s Taxonomy each and every time with everybody?

Many skills are also an application of factual knowledge.  Are people suggesting we shouldn’t ask a student to demonstrate a serve in volleyball because we can look up how to do it on the internet?  Don’t paint a picture to demonstrate balance because you can just find one on the internet.  Don’t write a poem about beauty because Shakespeare’s been digitized. Don’t do any math question because you can find the answer on line.  Being critical or creative is an application of knowledge; many fine examples can be found on the internet, but surely there is value for students to do these independently.  Is it different with a content question in science? 

The organising of facts into a coherent answer is an application and a demonstration of mastery.  Like the above art examples, to have a student create an answer to a math or science question requires them to turn their understanding into the complex symbolic language of writing.  Even if it doesn’t involve opinion, it requires many skills, clarifies their thinking / understanding, and improves their understanding and memory for later application.

Implicit to the statement is also the assumption that it is better to seek information from the internet instead of class questions or discussions.  This is troubling for 2 reasons.  It is partial (at least) absurd, and it fails to appreciate the complexities of learning online.

It is partially absurd because it is such a generalization.  It has in its core, either the idea that information on the internet is always inherently better, or that learning this way is always inherently better.  Should students learn to speak from the internet?  Learn the letters and sounds?  Can they learn to turn the computer on from the internet-sure they can, but perhaps it would be less problematic to be told how to by a teacher, even if it can be googled.  I invite you to take a break now and go to Google.  Type in “how do i goo” and see the list of suggestions from instant search feature; don’t the suggestions hurt just a little?  There are many factual based content areas that are better learned from teachers or other interactions; how to share and why is sharing important are easily googled, but not easily learned from this exposure.

Many contents on the internet are hard for students to decode without context from the teacher first. “Is radiation good for you?” is a good question to ask and to discuss in class because a search on the internet will likely reveal to the student that indeed radiation is good for you (try it and pretend you don’t already know).  “Is global warming real?” is another great question to ask in class even though the answer can be googled.  This is because a student without factual knowledge beforehand will almost certainly come to the conclusion that it is fake (try it!).  “Evolution?”-try it! “Which religion is the best?” – try it!  Critical thinking without prior knowledge relies heavily on internal inconsistencies as you cannot spot the omissions without prior knowledge—that’s what makes the internet a dangerous place.

What’s wrong asking questions that can be googled?  To retell and repeat doesn’t just demonstrate understanding, it improves it.

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“Will I ever get to be a real little boy (on SM)?”

When I was 11, I met my grade 5 teacher at the grocery store.  It was a very exciting moment.  I felt 3 things: 1) I felt lucky and excited to see her; she was a favourite of mine and I struggled to be a favourite of hers. 2) Very awkward—without our familiar context, I didn’t know how to act or what to say to her.  3) Unsettling—I had to deal with the fact that my teacher was a real person who didn’t live at the school or cease to exist when I left.  This might not be universal.  If you live in a small town you might see your teacher outside of school so much that it is no longer exciting or surprising.  If you live in too large a city, you might never see your teacher in “real” life.  However, for some of us, particularly those of us who idealized our teachers (I certainly was one), seeing them as real people can be uncomfortable—it can challenge our perfect notion of them among other things.

With teacher’s increasing use of technology, my students are bumping into me more and more in the real world—how should we handle it?

At the faculty I was advised, if we were ever going to do something embarrassing or “inappropriate” for a professional, then we should make sure we do it hundreds of kilometres away from where we work(we all were, it wasn’t personal).  Well, that isn’t possible with social media; there is no hundreds of kilometres away.

And what if it isn’t embarrassing or inappropriate?  What if it is simply adult?  Back a few years, under memo s33 “how do deal with controversial issues in the classroom,” we had a concise guide of how to deal with our personal opinions—hide them!.  With the OCT’s recent(ish) discussion on using social media and other sources we have a directive to be professional and conservative with what we share.  But how far should we take that?

What ever flaws S33 had in what it regarded as controversial, and what ever opinion you have about the recent OCT comments, they have at their base an awareness of a teacher’s influence on their students.  They have an awareness of what sharing a teacher’s opinion might do to student autonomy.  If we share our opinion, students might not be able to critically assess it; they might be overly influenced by it—such is the supposed power of our position.  Much like the reading of Miranda rights in the States, checks must be used to insure we don’t suppress autonomy by our awesome presence!

However with students being able to access my real life–with my presence continuing in their lives outside of the classroom thanks to SM, what do we do?  I have shied away from taking about my religious beliefs, political beliefs, and say, drinking habits, in the classroom for the reasons above – need I exercise the same caution on social media?

In my real life, I want to stand up and be counted for my political and religious beliefs.  I want to share these beliefs because these beliefs make up the real me–it is by my opinions and thoughts that I am knowable.  I want to share, promote, advocate but I haven’t as yet (much) because I am mindful of my students (once the invisible audience, now 22/24 follow me on twitter).  Must I be?  I have seen people like @mbcampbell360 talk at length in twitter about their atheism, political support of the Green party, and liberal use of profanity—but he teachers adults—can I join him?

Do I suffer from a lack of integrity for this hidden side of me like the Zuckerbergs suggest?  Am I being overly cautious?  Like Pinocchio I am asking, “Can I ever be a real boy?” and share my opinions more freely on twitter?  Where would you draw the line?

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The process we went through to start blogging

 So the class of 2012’s blogs and Twitter accounts are off and running. I want to take a moment to detail the process I’ve gone through before and with them to get to this point. I think its going to be a long one so I’m just going to write a step-by-step list with little rhetorical flourish.

Edit: I have left it vague; a rough sketch—if you want more detail about a specific step, just let me know…

Prologue:

  1. I was part of a committee that was looking at ways to improve gifted education in YRDSB a couple of years ago. Among other things, we explored the integration of technology and social media (shockingly:). I was pushed a little and encouraged to use Twitter with my class as part of the process. I was resistant, but I capitulated. I should not have; I was not ready. I was unprepared, and I don’t think that it was useful or even safe for my students. I continued to learn (by myself) because something in it appealed to me. It was a useful learning experience to me

  2. I became certain, and continue to maintain, that a teacher should not explore technology or any technique/content with students. You should explore it first yourself. If you are going to open a door to students, you had better know how, and you had better know what’s on the other side first. I have blogged this sentiment several times on this site.

  3. I learned more: I read articles from Techcrunch, GigaOm (specifically @mathewi). I read some Clay Shirky (“Here comes everybody”, “Cognitive Surplus”), I re-read Marshall McLuhan, Neil Postman. I read some Danah Boyd.

  4. I continued to use Twitter and other social media on my own. I started my own blog and made my own mistakes

  5. I had many conversations with my principal and vice-principal as well as board consultants. I developed my own robust permission/consent form/appropriate use of technology

2 years and some experimenting later, I was willing to try it again….the following are steps my class and I went through this year to get ready for January and February’s Journalism/Web 2.0/SM unit/ Public Discourse:

Part 1 – Exploring Media:

  1. we define media and explored some McLuhan and Postman. We explore a broad definition of what is media. We learn about how different media influence messages and have their own limitations. We learn about “hot” and “cold” media and the effect the receiver has on the message (but also how the media effects it as well).

  2. We explored Neil Postman’s “5 ideas we need to know about technological change.”

  3. We use it as a analytical framework for media using tools like: https://tuckerteacher.wordpress.com/2011/04/21/analytic-tool-based-on-postmans-5-ideas/

  4. We explore brand creation and its relationship to people’s self fashioning as we explored advertising. I would have liked to spend more time on ad techniques and audience interaction (next time).

  5. They work on a series of “Media Koan’s” to get them looking at media differently and critically (you can see some of them here: https://tuckerteacher.wordpress.com/2011/05/06/media-koans/)

Part 2 –The Moodle Years:

  1. Our class uses our moodle course quite extensively. From the first week they are building a community of learners and are using digital tools to help each other and extend their learning beyond the classroom. There are many wiki’s, forums, topics, and discussions.

  2. They are introduced to Tucker’s rules for using social media https://tuckerteacher.wordpress.com/2011/04/06/tuckers-rules-for-using-social-media/

  3. They practice the skills of digital citizenship before they are formally introduced to the topic (at least from me). Before the “blogging unit” the average student has posted well over 100 times on our course.

Part 3- The ISU

  1. As part of the gifted program at our school, students participate in an independent study unit loosely based on Bloom’s Taxonomy (not that I’m the biggest fan, but it serves-with a few changes)

    1. Students select a topic that has a controversial element and begin researching and learning at school and at home. We teach a parallel curriculum of research skills and note taking that I would like to make more robust next year.

    2. Students demonstrate understanding of their topic in a interview

    3. Analysis (we think it should be 3rd before application-even if this violates Bloom’s). This year we skipped this because of time but it involves laying out, in an organization web, all the facts relevant to a topic (well within reason)

  2. students brush up over the winter holidays and first week back in Januray to hopefully have a good grasp of their topic before the blogging starts

Part 4.. “Corporations are people,” and “The news about the news”

Since there is so much talk about “free” services out there, I try to break down that barrier so they can see these business for what they are-businesses

  1. We talk about the driving ethics of business- for profit, branding and niche marketing. We look at Unilever and its strategies for the Dove and Axe brands.

  2. We look at types of news and the purpose of news from different stakeholder’s perspectives.

  3. We analysis the problem of corporate media control and SM as a possible counter force.

Part 5 – What is the internet really like?

Running parallel to parts 2-5 above, we start our social media/journalism/web 2.0/public discourse unit (some of the below items run concurrently)…

  1. We pre-teach vocabulary and concepts

  2. We discuss business models of “free” services like Zynga

  3. We discuss in detail issues of privacy. (for example: http://www.danah.org/papers/talks/2011/PDF2011.html (“networked privacy”) , http://www.guardian.co.uk/tedx/cory-doctorow-privacy?CMP=twt_gu , http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/technology/digital-culture/trending-tech/free-sucks-i-want-my-privacy-back/article2128006/ , I discuss elements of: Why Privacy matters even if you have nothing to hide: http://chronicle.com/article/Why-Privacy-Matters-Even-if/127461/?sid=cr&utm_source=cr&utm_medium=enBy by Daniel J. Solove, with them as well

  4. We explore the concepts digital footprint and digital citizenship. We host discussions on our moodle and bring in an array of sources.

  5. We discuss related internet issues that the students find and bring back to a moodle hosted discussions

  6. We discuss the effects of networks and being part of a community (and the production of hyper-local news

  7. We talk about the “Who owns the digital you” series by Tim Chambers

  8. We talk about how Twitter and SM are publishing and broadcasting networks and how they are different from a conversation. We learn about the implications of Danah Boyd’s work: 4 ideas of the internet persistent, replicable, searchable, scalable (“Social Network Sites as Networked Publics: Affordances, Dynamics, and Implications.” In Networked Self: Identity, Community, and Culture on Social Network Sites (ed. Zizi Papacharissi); the dangers of the invisible audience; and http://m.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/08/why-facebook-and-googles-concept-of-real-names-is-revolutionary/243171/

  9. We have discussions about some of the following (dependend on time or where we menader arround:

    1. real name policies: http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Who_is_harmed_by_a_%22Real_Names%22_policy%3F , http://gigaom.com/2011/10/18/for-twitter-free-speech-is-what-matters-not-real-names/ , http://gigaom.com/2011/06/20/anonymity-has-real-value-both-in-comments-and-elsewhere/ , “Real Names” Policies Are an Abuse of Power http://www.zephoria.org/thoughts/archives/2011/08/04/real-names.html , http://m.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/08/why-facebook-and-googles-concept-of-real-names-is-revolutionary/243171/ (again) , and http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/27/randi-zuckerberg-anonymity-online_n_910892.html

    2. other issues as discovered by their earlier serachs and conversations

  1. Other safety

    1. http://canadasafetycouncil.org/child-safety/online-safety-rules-kids (especially the 3rd in the list)

    2. And corollary issues like: http://socialmediacollective.org/2011/08/11/if-you-dont-like-it-dont-use-it-its-that-simple-orly/

Part 6 –Their turn?

  1. I introduce them to the complexities of Twitter and some of the issues: reinforce the 4 Danah boyd principles and the invisible audience, Spambots, etiquette, offensive content, and how to use twitter well. We gather and look at sources for twitter and blogging. We talk about the different uses of twitter and the like. We primarily use twitter to build an audience and advertise blog posts to drive traffic to our discussions

  2. Students decide which strategy they want to use for entering public discourse from here: https://tuckerteacher.wordpress.com/2011/05/07/7-archetypes-for-entering-public-disources-through-social-media/ They are also free to make their own moodle course and mimic the process if they feel they are not ready (given the time spend on caution, I don’t feel I can make it mandatory…this year 2 students chose this option…we made them teachers of their own moodle course and they use that as a website to host their classmates or others they invite into discussions on their topic).

  3. Students make their first 10 tweets, and I review them carefully. We discuss clarity, long term consequences, digital citizenship issues. Once their first 10 are vetted, they are approved to tweet at will!

  4. Finally, the part that the public sees: Students begin to build their own posts or comment on the posts of others depending on their chosen strategy, tweet to drive traffic to their posts, build audiences, engage in discussions, and learn….

Part 7 – Their learning log:

  1. Students record their activities and their thoughts about them on their learning log (hosted on the class moodle) which I monitor, continuously assess, and eventually evaluate

That is the sketch…I feel I’ve left a lot out….might have to update. But in the meantime please consider following one of my student accounts and commenting on their posts. They can be found here: https://tuckerteacher.wordpress.com/2012/01/18/student-twitter-account-roll/

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Our bid for Best Buy’s “The Best in Class Fund”

Best Buy has a program of offering grants to schools to be used on digital technology.  Our school went through the process and was awarded $20,000. Many thanks to Stephen Hurley and others for starting and encouraging the thinking and exploration that led us to this point.  We still have other areas we are continuing to focus on based on this article: http://www.designshare.com/index.php/articles/great-learning-street-debate and two posts by Stephen Hurley that I continue to lose the links for.  Hopefully, he (or someone else) will respond below and post the links to his blog posts on “imagination rooms” and “invigorating the front entrance to a school.” Both posts I believe are on hosted on the CEA’s website.   Here is the text from our successful bid.  

Best Buy Essay Contest

Question 1: How do you plan to use the technology with your students to inspire and enhance their education? Please be as detailed as possible (500 words).

We plan to use the technology to enhance our students learning experience at Glen shields in four areas:

1) We plan to invigorate our front lobby as a communal learning and sharing space that promotes student learning and community/parental engagement. Our plan is to create a space that can be used by students, teachers and parents to meet communally to interact and work on their own projects. We envision a space that encourages collaboration and welcomes a school’s diverse set of stakeholders to met and share in learning. We require computers, technology to support video conferencing and video editing, and a television to broadcast announcements for this space.

2) We wish to create an imagination room in a section of our library resource centre. This would offer a student center where they would be free to pursue self-directed and collaborative learning activities with a focus on critical thinking and inquiry through a lens of creativity and innovative exploration. We require computers, tablets and an LCD projector, technology to support video conferencing and video editing, Livescribe pens (allows you to digitally record everything you write and say) and other experiential learning kits (like circuit boards, robotics, etc.) available in this space.

3) We are interested in filling some of our public spaces around the school with social learning centers. Similar to the imagination room, these would be hubs of self-directed social learning and inquiry. We want to include computers and other technology resources dedicated to supporting an interactive and inquiry based learning experience.

4) We’d like to augment the technology already available as part of the classroom program. We require additional LCD projectors, computers to increase the size of our portable laptop/netbook labs, etc.

Together, technology in these 4 areas would allow us to offer diverse learning experiences to our students that would otherwise be impossible. Given the limitations of our current resources, technology has primarily been dedicated to classroom use and the instruction of students. We would like to dedicate this new investment in technology to further promote student learning and experimentation. This would allow us to offer the following experiences more efficiently and effectively to our students: virtual field trips to increase their understanding of the world in which they live, skyped connections to others – to have our students not just learn about others but to learn from others in an innovative and interactive way; work with all stakeholders (parents and students) to create videos to facilitate flipped classrooms; access a school Moodle course to foster an internal learning community and access points to develop learning communities outside the school through the integrated use of social media.

We feel that such opportunities will raise the level of engagement of some of our students experiencing learning challenges and provide valuable outlets for our more independent and creative learners. Independent access to learning tools and social learning contexts will provide a voice in our school community to groups that have been traditionally silenced or lacked voice as they access the rich environment offered by social media through digital technology.

Question 2: Tell us more about the students that would be directly impacted and how they would benefit from the grant. (250 words)

Our school is a microcosm ofCanada. Our school is an incredibly diverse school; this offers the same advantages and challenges of Canada as a whole. We service a community that includes a high number of recent immigrants and ELL learners, a diverse array of socio-economic realities, a large visible minority community, and gifted learners. Many students in this school have only limited access to digital technology, the Internet, social media and independent self-guided learning. Digital technology will help us service the diverse needs of this group. It will allow us to provide both a common experience of base instruction and learning, and it will allow us to focus on each student’s specific needs and interests.

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technology can no longer be ignored; sharpen your pencil!

There’s a lot of talk out there on the Twitterverse, and other digital places, to the effect that teachers have to use technology.  This statement is either painfully obvious or a complete hyperbole.  If the term “technology” is being used appropriately, then the  statement is painfully obvious; chairs, lighting, the alphabet, clothes, and deodorant at all technologies that a teacher really needs to use in the course of a school day.

I think, however, people are generally referring to digital technology and some web 2.0 / SM tools. This of course is a complete hyperbole.  This position is supported by such   statements as: teachers can no longer afford to ignore tech (sic); or it’s insane to 
ignore tech (sic); or teacher’s who are uncomfortable with tech (sic) are doing such a disservice to their students that they should retire or be forced out of the profession (this one’s paraphrased).  These statements are fairly common on such micro-blogging sites like Twitter. To these statements and others like them, I’d like to say in very general terms, “calm down, relax, and be reasonable.”

Calm down: I really like digital technology and SM but it’s still not everyone’s focus.  20% of Canadians don’t even have internet connection, Twitter is used by just 3% of the world’s population and a mere 50,000 individuals account for 50 % of the traffic (that’s ¼ of 1 percent of Twitter users).  How many of your personal followers are no longer active?  How many Twitter users have rejected Twitter?  It’s great, but digital technology is still a minority experience.  Let’s not invalidate so many people’s lives by pretending we have all marched to an omega point of technology and social experience.

Relax: it still remains to be seen if this is a digital revolution we are experiencing.  We might be in a revolution, but we might not. If most if your public discourse is in digital mediums it is hard to maintain perspective.  Will it be adopted by the majority? Right now, voices ringing with the need for digital technology are still a minority; is 
this a  revolution or is it the Bay of Pigs.  How big is this movement? Is it growing faster then the resistance to it?  Is it unreasonable to suggest even the possibility that society might actually reject SM? No one thought that Rome would fall either.  It remains to be 
seen whether SM will be evaluated as a liberator or conqueror.  At what point will digital tech fall; when will the next revolution start and what will replace the current technological environment?

Be reasonable: there is plenty of good, useful, necessary learning to do outside of SM.  We used to suggest that there was room for diverse techniques – in teaching and learning.  Some educators might actually choose to reject SM for valid reasons; is there no room for professional judgement here?

There is lots of great stuff you can do with digital technology in the classroom; however, you need to stop justifying yourself at the expense of others.  Your hyperbole doesn’t help
your position.  Whenever one side doesn’t allow for legitimate opposition to even exist there is a problem.

I use digital technologies in my class quite extensively, though not as extensively as some.  I think that teachers should explore the possibilities and decide how best to use them (even if that is be not using them).  I don’t care what people’s decisions are – use it or don’t, its up to you, after you have informed yourself.  I don’t want to ne at a point where we tell each other what must be done; how to do it; and pretend there is no other way to be a good teacher.

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Learning to use social media shouldn’t be like learning to ride a bicycle, it should be like learning to drive a car.

 

 Learning to use social media shouldn’t be like learning to ride a bicycle, it should be like learning to drive a car.

Generally, children start to be taught to ride a bike when they are physically able to learn. We start by doing. We don’t worry too much about them going too fast or too far as they are still young and are watched by their parents. They are also small so going too fast is rarely a concern. We don’t worry too much about the rules of the road; those come later. The rules aren’t that important to their learning process because they are, again, not going far, not fast, there’s always a parent around. Often, the rules of the road are immaterial as they are learning on paths, parks or parking lots. Eventually, we teach them all that as they begin to go farther away from a parents gaze. Eventually, we fill them in about the dangers and the we warn them about the rules. Maybe we wait so we don’t dampen their enthusiasm; maybe we don’t want to worry them. In any case, it doesn’t really matter, they have plenty of time to learn the rules as they go. There is little danger in learning to ride a bike this way.

Learning to drive a car is a radically different process. First, we wait until we think they are old enough to handle the responsibility safely. Teens are physically able to drive a car long before we begin to teach them; obviously, we feel the dangers / responsibilities are a more important criteria then mere physical strength. When they are finally viewed as old enough, we still delay their participation in social driving.

First, we teach them the theory. Either by studying a book and taking a test, or by taking classes, or most often by doing both, we are finally ready to take them on guided lessons about driving. Then, at least in Ontario, they go through a 2 year probation period before we give them full access. As a society we take learning to drive very seriously. We are proactive in mitigating the risk. We have professionals who are aware of the dangers, not just the advantages of driving, teach them to be safe. No instructor says, “wow, look what a car can do – explore! Test the limits!”

Even though they grew up in a culture where cars are the norm, even though they are natives in a driving culture and can’t imagine a world without it, we take the time to make sure that they are ready before we let them drive on their own.

I think we should be as responsible and serious about teaching them to use social media; I think pretending its like a bike is irresponsible and harmful.

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