Saturday, March 7, 2009

Any Value to Social Networking?

So according to Will Richardson, "The world is changing because of social web technologies. Our kids are using them. No one is teaching them how to use them to their full learning potential, and ultimately, as teachers and learners, that’s our responsibility. To do that, we need to be able to learn in these contexts for ourselves."


Richard goes on to provide a reference: a piece in the Harvard Graduate School of Education magazine Ed. titled “Thanks for the Add. Now Help Me with my Homework.” As Richardson points out "Harvard" and "research" might be cause for notice.

Some points made:
  • A virtual creative writing boom among students spending long hours writing stories and poetry to paste on their blogs for feedback from friends, or creating videos on social issues to bring awareness to a cause
  • Skills students are developing on social networking sites, are the very same 21st century skills that educators have identified as important for the next generation of knowledge workers — empathy, appreciation for diversity of viewpoints, and an ability to multitask and collaborate with peers on complex projects
  • A survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers cited this spring in The New York Times found that more than half of employers now use SNSs to network with job candidates.
  • "Perhaps even more important than the impact of social networking on the classroom, however is the impact that the classroom can have on social networking, by teaching students how to be responsible "digital citizens" online. At their most basic level, these sites can be launching points to discussions on Internet ethics. "If we want kids to be digital citizens, we must model that behavior for them," says Greenhow. As it stands now, however, most schools do the exact opposite, actively discouraging student use of social networking sites by blocking them on school computers -- sending the message that they are dangerous or inappropriate. As Wiske says, "A lot of people can do a lot of damage driving cars, but we shouldn't tell kids not to drive cars."

There's MORE: Read the entire Will Richardson post The “Added Value of Networking.”

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