Social media = open media

Sarah mentioned on her blog the following:

Social Media is not part of my culture. To me, it only makes sense when I am participating in a closed environment where I know people – like in this class. The start and stop times, and the built-in time and place to get to know each other makes a difference for me. The concept of joining an ongoing conversation and social group is not something I am comfortable with…yet.

I am well aware of this feeling and it is certainly for each person to decide for themselves. I have also gone through this stage, and perhaps I am now not cautious enough about my presence on the internet. A lot of what I do has to do with trust in others who are also using these tools. Of course, you also have to be aware that everyting you say is documented and can be called up. This must have implications. I would say that this kind of openness can also promote politeness and a more selective choice of expressions.

When using these tools with younger pupils, this is also a topic that needs to be addressed. It is not something the youth worries about, and yet, it is an essential part of training, and I believe strongly that this is our jobs as educators.  They are most certainly unaware of the possible problems that an unreflected statement can have in their later lives.

10 Responses

  1. Quite an interesting quotation Illya. What I liked most from Sarah’s words was the final “yet”. And I liked it because it shows she is open to change.

    We may very well have thought in a similar way some time ago. Or we may no. Who knows? But we are all on the move and Sarah sounds as somebody who could join crowds 2.0. Why not?

    Now onto even more interesting issues: Young learners’ Openness online , Educating young generations not only for the future but for the present they are living. Most of them love interconnecting (mobile phones and the net are at the top of their ranking , aren’t they?)- But are they ready for it? Are they mature enough (don’t like the word responsible here) to deal with stuff that may turn out dangerous? Have they been shown internet safety measures? Have they got what that implies?
    I agree. THAT is one of our jobs as educators. One more role. But I’m proud of it.

  2. Addressing the problem of social networking for your learners is indeed a thorny issue. Much of the class work I do is via the British Council and the BC has “dealt” with the problem by trying to tie their teachers’ hands, to restrict the use of soical media by young learners to those that are organised and controlled by the BC itself. While I don’t think this blanket nanny approach is the answer, I am aware of the reponsibility I have as a teacher in being careful in my choice and use of web resources.

    One example, I’ve been looking for a site for one primary class where they can add caption bubble to photos. My initial thought was to use http://www.bubbleshare.com but read through the public comments on photo albums of young girls, so I’m still searching.

  3. Ann, I agree that blanketing the problem isn’t going to help anyone. This raises many questions for me, which relate back to Alecia’s final statement above – one more role as educator:
    What happens to our pupils when they are alone at their computers?
    How are they going to learn the difference between ‘good’ sites and ‘bad’ sites if they can’t compare?
    How are they going to learn how to avoid unsuitable sites if all you have access to are suitable ones?
    How are they going to learn to tell serious information from the BS?
    In an absurd action to protect the students, the school system has blocked youtube from the school network, but youtube has so much relevant and eduational material, including class videos put up by the teachers!

    This situation needs to be discussed at a higher level!

  4. Thank goodness the BC hasn’t stopped us from using youtube (yet)!

    But while I personally agree with many of your points, with my younger learner I’m in locu parentis and can’t assume that their parents’ ideas on learning how to use the internet coincide with mine. As such I feel very vulnerable if their children report back to them that they saw risky photos or comments while they doing work in one of my classes.

  5. […] of the Internet. I identify with Sarah and what she says in her post on these 2 points, and welcome the discussion that Illya has opened up on the […]

  6. Ann, point taken. I do understand that it would certainly be questionable to expose kids to such sites. Definitely need for a good internet filter. There are other qualities though, which are also important, such as sites that appear to give information, which pupils may use for reports,etc, that are in reality of highly suspicious, biased, or propogandistic nature. These were what I was actually referring to.

  7. The issue of teaching (young) students the skills of being critical thinkers when it comes to using information is definately complex. In a public school in the US, where I am, it falls within the realm of the school librarian. But typically, the librarian is the one who only maintains and circulates the books. I hope to write more about this…

    Regarding knowing how to help students navigate th digital landscape at home – parents could be the key. How to reach them?

  8. The issue concerning younger learners using digital tools safely is one of uttermost importance. In spite of being aware of this myself, I have the feeling I didn’t do enough about it with my students when they started using blogs at the beginning of this school year. I just told them not to reveal their personal details in the blog, like address or phone number. I also told them that it might not be a good idea to publish photos about themselves. But there is certainly more to be done within this subject.
    Although some students were already aware of some of the risks related to making personal information public, maybe because their parents had talked to them about it, it’s important to tell them about some rules of thumb when it comes to use Internet tools. I guess, I need to do a better job in this field next time.

  9. Here we complete the circle. Isn’t this what we need to teach? Don’t we need to teach kids how to use technology safely as well as more efficiently?

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