How Critical Is A Social Media Curriculum?

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.


Trackback specific URI for this entry


Display comments as Linear | Threaded

No comments

Add Comment

Enclosing asterisks marks text as bold (*word*), underscore are made via _word_.
Standard emoticons like :-) and ;-) are converted to images.
BBCode format allowed
E-Mail addresses will not be displayed and will only be used for E-Mail notifications.
To leave a comment you must approve it via e-mail, which will be sent to your address after submission.

To prevent automated Bots from commentspamming, please enter the string you see in the image below in the appropriate input box. Your comment will only be submitted if the strings match. Please ensure that your browser supports and accepts cookies, or your comment cannot be verified correctly.