Teaching the Facebook Generation

I came across this post today via Twitter from @pmcash.

The article covers the use of social media tools with in Australian schools. Based on the article, the general approach seems to be cautious about allowing access. Concerns raised include safety, teacher awareness of how to use the tools and online relationships between teachers and students.

In my Board (WRDSB), we have been making great strides in moving forward with the use of social media tools. Facebook and Twitter (and other tools too) are open for use to support curriculum delivery. These tools offer incredible opportunities to connect, collaborate and access real world information and events in real time. Teachers are finding many exciting uses for these technologies within the classroom.

Currently, teachers are using Facebook for:

  • fan pages to distribute classroom resources to students (& parents), raise awareness of issues etc.
  • study and enrichment groups
  • online writing (poetry, character analysis, debates/discussion re current events etc.)
  • opportunities to share student work (within groups)
  • online galleries (artwork, student created music and videos etc.)
  • teacher feedback and peer review
  • ‘ask a question’ homework groups
  • casual writing for learning second languages
  • teaching digital citizenship in a real world context

It is critical that staff and students understand the importance of having their privacy and security settings set up appropriately. This must be part of the education process.

In terms of staff/student relationships in this environment, it is business as usual in many respects. Any online relationship must follow the same professional conduct as any situation whether it is in the classroom, on the playground, on a school trip or in an extra curricular situation. Relationships must be kept at the professional level. No one should put themselves in a risky situation.

These social media tools are powerful — we need to leverage their power to support curricular delivery, while educating staff/students about appropriate use and maintaining the required professionalism within these environments.

~ Mark

Up next: Demonstrating Twitter to our Trustee group on March 7th.