Is ‚they are already there‘ a good reason for social-media activities in education?

„Pick the kids – where they are“ that’s a common phrase in Germany related to the design and activity in schools. It became a buzz word for things related to reform-pedagogics, differenciation and individual learning support. Anyhow @bonnycastle casted out a tweet, asking the question:

We don’t setup educational programs in the bar even if young people hang out there, so why do we try to use Facebook to educate. (Source)

Anyhow ist provokative and the same time stimulating reflection on this topic. In my opinion: Designing educational scenarios should not rely on the myth like: They are already out there.

In school and university we should reflect surpluses of open, networked, exchange based learning instead of the argument that social media have relevance in their all day life.

Just a small brainstorming on those surpluses coming up in my mind:

Using social media you (as student) can get in contact and establish the contact easily with experts of the field of your current interest.

You (as student) can use the moment of expressing, forming and articulating your interest as an entry point in the deeper dimension of it. Broad topic – small topic, cutting edge topic, buzzword- and trend-topic each of the topics gaining up in students mind are to be discovered, viewed by multilateral perspectives – social meadia can take it’s part through exchange and catching up the feedback.

You (as expert and as student) can turn interesting points out to questions, re-read and change perspectives of statements – deeper understanding of what’s the background of this and that.

(BTW Comment line is open for more suggestions from you @all)

Thinking so, social-media used in educational context can add value to the landscape – but it’s also a toolbox which can end having opened Pandora’s box. Event students may use social-media in their all day life, it may be totally different using it for open and public learning. (Remember the inculturation of video technology in classrooms – after the first motivation it’s totally different to watching movies with peers.)

So for promising social-media use (including microblogging services) those tools have to be carefully introduced, clearly communicated in advantages and disadvantages. That’s the minimum to start. The maximum is reflecting this tool’s use sequently and not fearing to stop those explorations.

Coming back to the tweet: If open and social media learning would only rely on the anticipation ‚the students use it‘  – without doubt i would tend to agree. There must be more benefit based on the use of web based social and world-wide learning.

And I’m sure it’s more than one reason fostering it! Curious about your’s.

Bis denne Andreas


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