Social Media and me:
For this post, I think I will start off not as a teacher or even an individual but as a mom. The reason being, my recent frustration with my 17 year old son constantly using Snapchat during his day. I was against it because I had read that is was a ‘sexting’ app. I even tweeted out to ask if Snapchat is only for the younger generation or could it be effectively used by teachers for teaching and learning purposes. I looked it up on Google and found a plethora of articles but I narrowed it down to how it could be used by teachers in schools. After reading a couple, I found that yes it can and IS being used for learning purposes in schools and colleges across US (not sure about the world). So my question is why aren’t the rest of us catching on to this bandwagon, specially when the students are so engaged with it? After all if we are going to create a community of GEEKS who are passionate about a certain topic why not use the platforms these youngsters are already using? Why not tweak it to benefit their learning experiences?
One word that I kept on hearing in the videos that I listened to was ‘ephemeral’. Today’s youth is living IN the moment. Snapchat certainly helps with that because these stories are online for only a short duration of 24 hours and then they disappear.
When we look back at any social media platform, weren’t the initial responses mostly negative? Isn’t that what happened with Facebook and Twitter? Would anyone have thought of making school or class accounts on Facebook or Twitter then? According to the articles, with the addition of Snapchat Stories, it is now possible for teachers to ask students to create and share their narratives in the best possible ways. Other examples of Snapchat being used by colleges is for scavenger hunts, test/exam results, campus promotions/updates, etc. Here is a list of snapchatters (there are some surprises in there as well) who are geeks in their own way.
I know I have talked about just one platform here but if we start using Snapchat, Instagram, Vines, Facebook, Twitter, Vlogs etc. for educational purposes wouldn’t that be ‘participatory learning’ where we as teachers would learn alongside our students. The ‘learning landscape’ is already changing. Using these platforms would certainly target the following two standards.
2.a: design or adapt relevant learning experiences that incorporate digital tools and resources to promote student learning and creativity.
3.b: collaborate with students, peers, parents, and community members using digital tools and resources to support student success and innovation.
Here I would like to share this video I found of Kim Cofino’s Disrupt Strand talk during Learning2 Conference. It is certainly very interesting and I had an A-HA moment.
I know we can argue about the appropriateness of these tools or platforms for building skills but aren’t these platforms providing collaboration on a global scale. It would also engage ‘collaboration by difference‘ since students would learn to respect others’ perspectives and expertise (aren’t we trying to build empathy and international mindedness). I have a lot to learn in terms of global collaboration and networking, so I think I will follow this:
LEARN. UNLEARN. RELEARN.
Youth building their PLNs:
Recently my son joined LinkedIn because I pushed him and two of his friends into it. I asked them to join groups according to their interests and join in the conversations. (Initially, of course my son retaliated saying he just did not have enough time. He is in Grade 12, doing full DP). Right now he is just ‘lurking’ around the conversations, but I am hoping he will build his PLN soon.
I myself have built my PLN around Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook (to some extent) by collaborating with colleagues who are no longer at AIS. But that is not enough because I have not yet extended that PLN or learning experience to my students. I have finally made my class Twitter account. YAAYY!!! Now I need to start collaborating with other classes around the world. Any takers?