Today I delivered my first workshop of the year to a middle years/high school staff – a full day technology boot camp. Naturally I had an agenda that was way too full and we deviated from it part way through to meet an identified school need.
However some important conversations took place that helped me acknowledge an important stand that I need to take in my role as an educational technology consultant.
I can no longer offer the participation of educators in social media as an option. It is essential that teachers begin to understand the world in which their students exist and the only way this is possible is through the creation of personal learning networks that enable them to understand how social media works.
Today we had a rather good discussion around quotes from the MediaSmarts study, Young Canadians in a Wired World Phase III: Talking to Youth and Parents about Life Online. Teachers disagreed with the findings presented by the study and offered many examples of students’ inability to self-regulate or demonstrate resiliency and competence in response to online risks. I then asked who formally taught students how to use social media, manage their privacy settings or how to respond to inappropriate requests or online behaviors. Not one teacher raised their hand.
My observations are that teachers love technology when it allows them to be productive teachers; access to great resources, the ability to communicate with parent and students, and the tools to create handouts and worksheets.
However they struggle with the newer technologies that allow for connection, conversation, collaboration, and personal learning. They are not using the tools that have become integral to our students lives and therefore are unable to appreciate their benefits and only see the negative consequences of inappropriate use.
Today I said, without apology, without hesitation, without tempering my words, that it is the responsibility of every educator to participate in a variety of social media networks – for their own learning, to facilitate the learning of their students, to model appropriate use and to formally and informally teach students how to use social networks intelligently and ethically.
Not all liked what I said.