Tag Archives: connected learner

Let Them Choose

During my ongoing curation of articles about learning, digital tools and social media, I recently came across this article exploring perspectives on  social media in the lecture theatres.  Although the article was primarily examining post secondary perspectives, I would argue the same discussions are relevant in K12. The discussion was centred around various viewpoints on whether or not students:

  • be allowed (by profs) to bring technology to class
  • are distracted by having access to social media  and
  • experience benefits?

Two interviewees interviewed commented that “… because the students are most likely taking notes. Many don’t use pen and paper, and rely on their devices. She says students are old enough to decide if they are to learn or not.” andMy view is they are old enough to choose and multitask (and choose to fail too),“. Meanwhile, others choose to dictate “no access”.

SM choices

Now, if I put a personal perspective on this and let you observe my learning mode,  this is what you would see. Typically I use 2 devices … taking notes on my iPad using notability – not just for notes – adding audio recording, and insert photos for context for a more complete package.  On the second device I organize lists, todos, ideas and share via social media, typically Twitter but this could easily be a Facebook group, G+ community, LinkedIn or open Google doc. I reiterate – this is MY style. This is how I learn best. Paper and pen doesn’t work for me.

device choice

Why not let students choose what works best for them – student voice. To me,  letting students choose what tools they use and how they organize shows a strength based approach to student learning. What benefit is there in forcing students to function in a way that may not be self directed and self optimized?

Weigh in:  Where do you stand?

~Mark

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Social Media as a Writing Tool

The other day I happened to catch a segment of The Current CBC broadcast as I was driving between school appointments. The topic was big data based the book Dataclysm, which certainly captivated my interest for a variety of reasons.

Dataclysm book cover

              Image from Amazon.com

I happened to tune in just at the moment the discussion was focused on analyzing data written in social media, Twitter in this case.   While many view social media communications as somewhat inane,  an in depth analysis reveals some interesting facts.

140-1

  • writing tends to be more sophisticated
  • word length is 20% longer
  • lexical density ,  the proportion  of meaning carrying words, is  higher than in many other forms of writing (email, magazines etc.  – perhaps opposite to what you would think)
  • with a limitation on the number of characters per message or post, 140 in this case,  people learn to improve word choices
  • in turn,  this improves editing skills

In the interview,  Christian commented that this type of analysis can and has been repeated.   This is not an isolated ‘one time’ look at this area.

When one considers the writing benefits summarized here,  I believe there is a strong case to incorporate  the social media writing medium in the school system.   Of course there are natural connections to digital citizenship, engagement, real world audiences etc.

140-2

As a classroom educator,  if you are already doing this, keep going!  If not,  consider giving it a try with an age appropriate system, a collaborative document with simulated limits  or even  offline.

Related Resources

Listen to the  CBC Podcast  with Christian Rudder on Dataclysm

Book:  Dataclysm  by Christian Rudder

Have a comment?   Please share.

~Mark

Learning at CATC Camp Day 2

~Mark