Learning About Social Media


Aviva Dunsiger’s latest post included a number of questions.

How do we help students safely make mistakes and learn from them? When it comes to children, should an offline social life be the way to go (at least for anything not school-related)? What have you tried and what do you suggest?

They’re in red and so those of us in education know what that means…this needs your immediate attention.  So, I responded immediately on her blog and I’d like to flesh it out a bit more here.

For me, it started with Apple’s 1984 commercial.

More recently, Microsoft has this commercial throwing a dig in Apple’s direction.

The rules of advertising seem to have changed.  There was a time when advertising was just a matter of fact discussion about how your company has a good product.  Now, in a world with everyone with a computer and media skills, the landscape is crowded. To be successful, you need to shout louder than the rest and be outrageous to catch everyone’s attention.  The mindset does trickle down to everyone who wants to have their voice heard.

Including students.

That’s where I think that Aviva asks a very important question for the classroom teacher.  In a world with this mentality, and so many tools, what’s a teacher to do?  What’s the key to success?

In my opinion, it starts with the humble blog.

There are so many options. You could create a blistering video.  You could do a dynamic podcast.  You could talk up a story 140 characters at a time.

Or, you could blog.

For the classroom, I see the blog as the perfect first steps towards addressing curriculum expectations and also dealing with the questions that Aviva poses.

  • We all know that what’s on the Internet is there forever.  However, in golfing terms, blogs do offer the chance of a gimme.  Once you send a Twitter message, it’s gone.  A blog remains in student control and can be edited at a later date.
  • A blog offers the perfect platform to support the writing process.  There’s a lot of good “Do’s” as I blogged earlier.  Blogging is generally a respectable, serious tool for social media.  There’s no excuse for the one or two letter acronyms needed at times to fit a message into 140 characters.
  • Blogging has the reach that social media promises.  You can reach into parents’ homes, get opinions from experts, work collaboratively with other editors, and comment on classmate’s works.
  • With respect, it gives the student all of the tools to completely express an opinion, offer their own insights, and stand out from the crowd.
  • Blogging does provide a platform for the discussion “What if?”.  What if you get a nasty comment?  What if someone tries to bully you?  What if you make a spelling mistake?  What if …?

I do believe that there are all kinds of advantages to making blogging your first social media platform.  It offers a great starting point.  Assembling a class collection of blogs immediately generates your own newspaper.  It is writing and can offers all kinds of opportunities to fully discuss and develop an expertise in social media.

Once students understand how to use the media responsibly, then they’ll be well equipped to master what’s next.

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OTR Links 03/03/2014


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.