On or Off Line: a Perspective

I happened to come across  Aviva’s  post yesterday, titled
online-offline-where-to-draw-the-line.  Aviva makes that point that “students need a safe place to make mistakes, and I don’t know that social media provides this safe place.”  Check out  the comments from some of the readers  [here].

We do live in interesting times for sure.  Perhaps this is all a lesson in media literacy (& life).   From my perspective,  there are a few important points in the mix.

In my view blogs are indeed a social media tool.  In today’s world, you DO have a voice through a variety of social media tools.  One’s actions in a social media environment have reach and impact.  This begs responsible and ethical use: do good, ask good questions, ‘poke’ at things in a respectful manner.   It is likely safe to say that not all real life experiences  will have these characteristics, and from this perspective,  Aviva’s blog post raises a great point when considering the learning environment.


In response to Aviva’s post,  Doug Peterson wrote a great blog post this morning  called  Learning about Social Media  in which he  makes a strong case for using blogs as an excellent entry point into this world.  I certainly support Doug’s view that blogs are indeed an excellent starting point.  I also think that  the K12 educational experience needs to move beyond this.  Our  students live in a world where new online tools and platforms are ‘born’ all the time and having some appropriate experiences  in new arenas is also important.  I like the idea of gradual release of responsibility (age appropriate), and I am excited about the positive experiences I am seeing WRDSB students having within programs such as the Futures Forum Project (FFP).

I don’t think one can underestimate the power of positive role modelling.  Do you see this as an opportunity for educators? or perhaps a responsibility?  Either way, social media is here to stay.  Reach, impact, connections, relationship building and establishing trust are all important aspects of this digital world in which we live, and important areas to develop in young people.

Great topic.  Please weigh in.  I welcome your thoughts on this discussion.  Leave a comment or connect in some other way.


4 thoughts on “On or Off Line: a Perspective”

  1. Thanks for continuing the discussion here, Mark! I think that this is a very interesting discussion, and one where we need to continue to talk about and examine options. I’m kind of torn on what to do here. I use many social media tools in the classroom with students, and I see them using these tools very responsibly. They do tend to be using them for an academic purpose though, and this is different than when they go home and use social media for more personal interactions. How do we support students with these personal interactions online? Even with the gradual release of responsibility model, are elementary school students ready to share their private lives in a public forum? Should they be? I’m really not sure here. I’d be curious to hear what others have to say.


  2. I agree with your assertion that we need to have students explore and use other forms of social media responsibly. My origina thought was that the blog was a good and safe starting point. Where do we go from there? I think that falls onto the comfort level and abilities of the teacher.

    The other concept that I tried to address in my post is the “shock value” that we’re seeing in social media. A Twitter search for #neknomination will lead to the underbelly of social media where the goal is to outdo the next person. Internet users are exploiting the power of social media to engage in activities like this. Like so many things, if we’re not teaching responsible use in schools, are we prepared to let students decide where the dividing line between the acceptable and the unacceptable lies?

  3. Your points are well taken Doug, and I do concur that blogs are a great starting point. The notion of “shock value” you raise is important in our digital online world. One does not always see the type of responsible use that would be classified as exemplary digital citizenship. ~Mark

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