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Thank You, Facebook

March 26, 2011 Leave a comment

 

This post is related to the presentation I will be giving at the ASCD Annual Conference in San Francisco. If you’d like to come out, it will be on Saturday March 26 at 5:15 pm in room 113.

By the seventeenth century, the printing press was common throughout Europe, and, “was the core technology that gave rise to the Age of Enlightenment” (Jeff Chase, 2001). Academics and experts alike could share their knowledge and understanding with millions of people.

Late in the nineteenth century, fountain pens were mass produced. Suddenly, everyone could begin writing with ease. But, the audience would be small, isolated to a small group of people at best.

By the late 1990’s, internet became relatively common. Select individuals, with the know how, could create a website within a few days, maybe weeks. But, at this time, most people with internet access were simply consuming the information.

But don’t let anyone tell you that the biggest difference between today and 25 years ago is that students can access and consume the information of the world. While this is partially true, I believe that the most important distinction is that todays student is creating the information. With social media, everyone can be, and is, an important author.

How important? Glad you asked! The picture below is one of thousands of images, blogs and tweets from protesters in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. Average people, connected to the rest of the world through their cell phone cameras and blogs, have made waves by sharing information and rhetoric of the happenings in their countries. The revolution in Tunisia is largely credited to Tunisian use of social media such as blogging, Facebook and youtube to get their message out and gardner support of the world.

Social media was used to gain the support of the world in Egypt and Tunisia

So the question isn’t ‘Should we be allowing our students to use social media?’ The question should be, “How do we get our students to use social media effectively, so they can be change agents too?”

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Categories: Presentation Tags: ,

How Social Media Can Develop 21st Century Skills

March 25, 2011 Leave a comment

Saturday from 5:15 pm – 6:15 pm, Moscone Centre, Room 113

Bring Your Laptops!

In a few more than 24 hours, I will be presenting at the 2011 ASCD Annual Conference with my colleague, Susana Gerndt. The title of the session is “Written Conversations Develop Minds for the Future”, with reference to Howard Gardner‘s recent work. The session might have been called “How Social Media Can Develop 21st Century Skills”. The session description we submitted a year ago doesn’t do justice the importance of technology and social media in modern learning environments, but, the session will. Here is a taste of our introduction:

Looking specifically at the meaning of the word social and then the meaning of the word media allows us to come up with our own understanding of what social media is and can be in our classrooms.  Social media can be cordial, gracious, informative, popular and neighborly. It is created by people for people. Individuals become active participants in a communal understanding that is not limited to their own thoughts, or the thoughts of a select few individual ‘experts’. Individuals are linked to the understandings of the world.  Social media is therefore the information of the community.  Would you rather leverage one person or dozens, hundreds, thousands, even millions of people?  Social media engages students because it gives them a platform to leverage many individuals as opposed to just the teacher.

If all works out, we will run a backchannel using twitter hashtags #ascd11 and #1437 (session number). Tweets will be aggregated on todays meet, here: http://todaysmeet.com/1437.  So, if you plan to come (and we hope you do), bring your mobile device!

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