I recently read a post titled Why Social Media Curriculum is Critical in Schools. I read it because I actually do wonder about whether social media is worth including in the curriculum. Whether it is "critical" is something I question. This comes from someone who will be teaching a graduate course this year on social media. But, that course will examine the use of social media in the larger/business. Using it in the classroom is very different.
That article is concerned with K-12 classroom which have their own issues with using technology and especially with social tools. Many schools have policies restricting not only access to sites online, but also teacher/student interaction. The majority of schools try to prevent access to the sites students use to communicate socially, thereby banning the use of these sites to communicate in an educational setting.
One unfortunate result mentioned in the article is that "most schools have banned students from accessing authentic communication hardware or software, positioning school as a place where socialization is kept to a minimum, learning is teacher directed, and conversations are teacher, rather than student, driven and/or maintained."
There already is a social media "curriculum." But, it's outside schools and it is being "taught" without the involvement of teachers
Is there really a "don't ask, don't tell" policy in schools when it comes to social media? That policy extends into higher education where many educators also look the other way when it comes to their students communicating, collaborating, and connecting online.
Back to the starting question: Do we need a social media curriculum? Looking through the comments on that post, you can see both answers on both sides:
Would things be the same if we replace the words "social media" with "after school activities"? Would the concern be the same if we replaced "Twitter" with "skateboard park" or "Facebook" with "shopping mall"? Why is is that educators are thinking that just because this is where the kids are spending time, that suddenly we have to be there as well?
I will stand firm in my belief that unless there is A CLEAR EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVE teachers should not "friend" their students on MySpace, Facebook or Twitter and even then it should be with special account reserved for that purpose.
Thank you for the article. I shared it with my staff, but had to use email since Facebook is, of course, blocked at school. I've come to believe the mantra for schools is, "We block any site that might be of any interest or use to anyone at any time." Social skills can be effectively developed by a face to face classroom conversation, involvement in community events, athletics teams, arts, musical ensembles, and many co-curricular activities. These skills are transferable. Lets educate for enduring knowledge and skills; knowledge and skills that are not limited by present or emerging technologies.
Well said - integrating social media will really do wonders in engaging the students. Another great point - it's not about the tools, it's about the process. Whatever the actual tool may be, the point of the curriculum should be to show students how to use new collaboration technologies in the future and manage themselves online.