by Briana Campbell (@MsMatchGirl)
Social media tools are everywhere. In every country, to some extent, around the globe. They have become a part of our every day. A part of our culture. In fact, in a February 2011 study, Colombia was ranked in the top 8 amongst countries on Facebook. And overall usage of social media in Latin America is on the rise. So why not use these tools, that we all use every day, to enhance and improve education?
In 2010, the US State Department launched an initiative called Exchange 2.0, with a mandate to help teachers use the internet to reach out globally. This program encourages engagement and provides students with a world view, so important in our increasingly digital and global age, beyond their front door.
“. . . [I]n this interconnected world, our country risks being disconnected from the contributions of other countries and cultures. Through education and exchange, we can become better collaborators and competitors in the global economy.”
— US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s speech to the Council on Foreign Relations, May 26, 2010
The conversation about how and when to engage with social media in the classroom opens a Pandora’s box of questions and complications. Critics will talk about how it is too easy for educators on social platforms to develop inappropriate relationships with their students. Many wonder about the safety of younger students engaging in such platforms.
But with appropriate education, supervision and security tools in place the use of social media can only enrich the classroom experience for today’s children who are, frankly, digital natives. More and more kids have social media profiles and spend more and more of their time online. Why not use the tools they are already using in their out of school time to engage them educationally?
A great 2010 article in Mashable makes a strong case for using social media in schools. The main takeaways being these: It’s not going anywhere. Social media is here to stay; Social media encourages collaboration (not cliques); and what has been proven by educators time and time again – when kids are engaged with a subject, they learn better.
As part of our Social Media Week programming Juan Daza will be leading a conversation about the growing role of social media in the world of education. What do you hope to learn?