What social media in school looks like

By Anne Collier

If any of my fellow parents think social media in the classroom sounds absolutely crazy, watch this video. In a little over 3 minutes, a student explains how her “paperless” 7th grade science class uses blogging, online games, Google docs, videoconferencing with scientists in the “real world,” social notetaking, and a digital poster tool for posting text, photos, and video in a Web page (the digital poster’s shown at about 2:00). Calling it her PLE, or “personal learning environment,” aka “networked learning,” she says her class has the freedom to choose how to do their work and when, which gives her a greater sense of responsibility to do it well, she says. Could this be because it’s more their own work? But some of it’s collaborative too. Seems the teacher has found a workable balance between personal and collaborative learning. This student also seems to suggest that doing her schoolwork online this way is having a “responsibility effect” on her extracurricular social media use; she mentions her Facebook use a couple times in this video. [Award-winning professor Michael Wesch, who teaches anthropology at Kansas State University, shows how utterly engaging teaching this way is. Here’s a much longer video of him speaking at the University of Manitoba about how he uses social media (extensively) in his undergraduate and graduate-level classrooms.]

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