Social Media: It is all about the spark

A little while ago, I had a chance to meet with Bill Lemon, Principal at Preston High School. Bill had agreed to give a perspective about students using social media tools to support their learning. As I anticipated, it was a great conversation, and I captured a great video clip to use at the upcoming CASA conference.

There were two ‘bits’ from our conversation that really stuck with me, and I have reflected on this many times since the meeting.

Bit #1 – Too many people do the ‘social media drive by’ – a quick look, a quick reaction and too often a typical “this isn’t for me”, “what can you really learn/share in such a few characters” or “who would want to get involved with these tools”.

In conversation with Bill, we agreed that the ‘social media drive by’ is a problem. The tools are in fact very deep. You have to learn the tools and spend time using them BEFORE you will understand the potential and impact of social media tools. The ‘social media drive by’ short circuits this process.

Bit #2 – The benefit of social media tools is not necessarily in the short post or tweet itself, but that one connection leads to another, a connection leads to a fact or resource and a fact or resource leads to the next. Stringing these bits together provide the impetus for learning: ideas, content, a new way of looking at something, comparisons and things to research or investigate. It is that spark that often keeps the learning moving along an individualized path that simply would not have been possible without leveraging the use of social media tools.

Lessons learned: Avoid the social media drive by and embrace the potential to make the spark that creates to impetus to learn.


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