Should Schools Be Teaching Social Media?

Comments: 15

  • I do not think Social Media is going to go away, it will probably just get bigger and bigger. I think there should be a certain aspect of teaching/advice built into say I.C.T education.
    Our ‘little’ generation need to know the correct way of social media for it to grow. They need to know the ‘dangers’ and how to spot them, and understand the consequences of making inappropriate posts.

    Social Media – ‘The correct way forward’ should make an appearance in schools, perhaps not as an ongoing subject but at least in a day long workshop as part of I.C.T and online safety for little people.

  • Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Kate. I see social media education as something that maybe students take an introductory course (much like we used to take “Intro to Typing”) for a semester or half a semester. Then maybe something a bit more advanced later on (as an elective or not). To fill in the gaps, I think teachers could continue to incorporate social media into their subject areas and help students build upon those basic skills. As you said, workshops are also good.

    I know a lot of teachers think it’s a pain to learn it, but it helps them get on their students’ level, making them a more effective teacher and ultimately (we hope) things are easier for them, classroom management-wise.

  • “we could begin preparing students as early as elementary school to one day engage a global community”

    Sometimes small semantic differences have HUGE implications, and I like what I saw in this quote! Too often the implied notion of “going global” is that our kids should use new social media and “Flat Classrooms” to master the world, rather than to find their place in it. I firmly believe EACH student has a gift to contribute, and that NSM help them expand their ability to do that, when taught properly.

    Kudos to you, Renee, for your careful choice of words!

  • Thank you, Tim! Glad it struck a chord with you. You’re absolutely correct that kids should be using NSM to find their place in the world rather than master it. I really like that point.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. :)

  • Of course, many schools (including mine) are doing this. There are good programs in place such as the e-safety tools that allow teachers to prepare kids for this type of activity. When they hav done this (and are old enough to sign up for accounts according to providers’ TOS, many schools are engaging with blogs, microblogs, wikis and VLEs to demonstrate how tools can be used to form collaborative communities of practice. Where tools are deemed inappropriate (Facebook is a common example) schools introduce students to Edmodo to demonstrate social networking. The GCSE ICT popular qualification and covers this topic well, on situated contexts so that students can apply their knowledge. The Byron Review set the scene for much of the opportunities to argue FOR the intergration of this good practice and I use I alot in my training to encourage schools to participate in education around the use of social media. For more on the GCSE, see here
    Have a look at my site for comments on social networking and grades:
    Would welcome your thoughts :)

  • I think that the GCSE model is an interesting one, and that’s along the lines of what I would like to see more schools adopt. Here in the US, we have some schools asking teachers to incorporate social media while others are actually making it illegal for teachers to interact with their students in those platforms. There’s no sense of uniformity, which I think the students desperately need. We need some standard of social media education because it’s not going away. It’s the future, and if we’re preparing students for the future, we’d be remiss to leave that part out.

    Most teachers are slowly but surely including technology into their classrooms and lessons, which is great, but it still feels like there’s something missing (in a lot of cases, it’s consistency because of that lack of standard). I agree that Facebook is kind of touchy, but I think that, especially as students get older, they really need some training in the social sites that they could be using for work (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook Pages, [Next Big Thing]).

    Thank you for this thought-provoking comment and for sharing your thoughts, Pete! I’m going to check out your site right now :)

  • Maureen,

    Thank you for your comment and for the link to your post, which I enjoyed. I think you’re absolutely correct that upper elementary students can begin engaging in guided social media. It’s a great way to get them used to working with the tools we have currently, which will hopefully make it easier for them to adapt to new and emerging technologies in the future.

    It’s refreshing to see teachers like you embracing social media in the classroom because it helps skeptics to realize that it isn’t a fad. This is the future that our students will inherit and those who say it’s a waste of time don’t understand how powerful it is.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts *and* for all you do for the kids :)

  • Nice post. I don’t follow a lot of writing about education, but this is certainly the first thing I’ve seen about incorporating social media into the educational process. It seems so obvious though, once you spend a moment thinking about it. It’s such a growing force in many professional fields that for schools to either ignore it or portray it as necessarily a negative can both be potentially damaging and wastes a really good tool for teaching kids in a way that’s creative, engaging and relevant.

  • Thank you for the comment, Kristen! I’m glad you enjoyed the article.

    Your point about how damaging and wasteful it can be for schools to portray social media as a negative force is spot on. Like you say, social media is growing. It’s the future, and as educators, our job is to prepare students for that — to be successful either in higher education or in careers. Social media will play a big role in either scenario. Those who say it’s a waste of time and students don’t need to learn it don’t understand how powerful it is, I don’t think.

    I think it would be really interesting to see numbers in districts that would adopt such a policy. Would bullying/cyber-bullying decrease? Would students be willing to interact outside of their cliques and groups? There are so many possibilities, so it seems like a shame that schools aren’t doing more (on a bigger level, anyway).

  • Hi Renee,

    The question is should school children be teaching businesses. In my experience, they have an infinitely wider experience of what Social Media and the internet can achieve than most business owners and managers.
    We should be teaching it in schools, but from a perspective of expanding their knowledge rather than directing it.

  • Schools should definitely be teaching Social media. One of my friends is an advertising major who is about to graduate and now his degree is almost obsolete since none of it included the use of social media in advertising. Considering the increasing use of social media by companies this is unfortunate for anyone who studied advertising at the same time as him. For right now, social media remains a self taught discipline. Thankfully there are more and more books coming out that give advice and tips on how to manage social media. My university is trying to engage students through social media. So far our efforts have been very effective but we are constantly trying to improve. Our next project is to foster academic conversation through blogging as well as highlighting professors and their interests, topics, research etc. We want to break some of the boundaries between teachers and students. I hope that Social Media becomes something that is taught in the future.

  • Awesome! There are a number of really interesting educational social media sites out there. It’s just getting the schools to embrace them. Glad your daughter’s school is doing that and that you’ve had a positive experience! Rest assured that it will help prepare her for the future.

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