I recently read a blog entry on the frustration that more teachers don't use social media in their classrooms. The writer, a recent college graduate, wondered why? Why is this technology not embraced? It is after all our students' language. Why do so many schools say "power down" or "lids down?” Or some will say, “using social media has no place in schools. That’s playtime.”
I believe educating our educators is the only way to change the culture of teaching. Many educators fear the unknown or fear they need to be experts before they can implement something new. Or maybe they just feel that traditional methods are still the best solutions to learning. I know many feel so overwhelmed already with their work load, there just simply isn’t any time to implement new techniques. These are all very real and valid concerns.
However, the reality is that the impacts of technology and social media will only continue to develop and grow, and it behooves us as educators to find the time, or encourage administrators to help teachers create some time, to become more knowledgeable about the benefits in using this technology for learning.
One interesting rebuttal I heard from a teacher who has "tried" to use social media, said they read a student’s blog, and the blog referenced some YouTube links. “That's a problem you see,” this teacher mentioned. “YouTube is blocked in schools,” Therefore, they’re “not trying THAT again. What a waste of time. I don't want to have to constantly work around the schools firewall!” How sad. Giving up after only one try. Imagine if we accepted that from our students.
My social media solution for using videos in the classroom? Use SchoolTube.com, which is not blocked. All content published to SchoolTube must be approved by an educator, who is known as the moderator. SchoolTube is endorsed by every national school administrator organization out there; NASSP, NAESP, and so on. SchoolTube revolutionized the way I implement curriculum to publish student work. It has also influenced certain ways in which our district communicates with the world. And the best yet? Using SchoolTube has transformed some of my students college and career paths.
My solution for using other social media tools in the classroom? We use Facebook, Twitter and student blogs in my classroom, all with the tremendous support of our school administrators and parents. We also offer a full multimedia experience for our students, by partnering with our school's online publication Panorama. The #1 reason? Trust. They trust that my students and I are making the right choices. But trust is a tough trait to come by in public education these days. Tune into MSNBC.com’s Education Nation for those thrilling reports (he says with sarcasm.)
There is another fabulous resource which supports technology in the classroom as well. In fact, its been around for awhile, yet it is receiving a face-lift. iTunes U. A slew of new resources for K-12 learning will include; Designing and Creating Digital Content, Using Technology and Devices in the Classroom, Applying Digital Content in Disciplines, Administration and Leadership, Assessment and Evaluation and much more. Look for iTunes U to roll out these resources in the coming months.
Still need real, tangilbe, authentic ways to use social media? Okay, here's 100 inspiring ways to use social media in the classroom.
The push to have educators use social media is on, and I am happy to help any teacher who would like to join in. Although I don’t consider myself a traditional teacher, I still do believe in one popular traditional saying, which is very relevant today. The train is leaving the station. Either hop aboard, or be left behind.
Do you allow students to create videos in your class? If not, why not? Do you need support to incorporate video in the classroom? I can help with that. Follow me on Twitter @dgoble2001 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.