The National School Board Association—with support from Microsoft, News Corp, and Verizon— published Creating and Connecting, which examines the potential for social networking sites in schools. And the heavy hitters weigh in . . .
- David Warlick says the question is no longer “should” but “how”.
- Will Richardson says that the survey findings of teacher use of these tools doesn’t match the reality he finds in schools in which he works.
- Tom Hoffman asks for better definitions of social networking sites and questions the value of schools facilitating such sites.
The traction for these tools in schools is gaining. Web 2.0 is one session in our state’s Media / Tech August workshops. Lists of edubloggers abound. And LeaderTalk is a sharing model worthy of emulation, especially at local levels and to gain student perspective.
The point is clear. If we are to leverage these with students, we must first leverage them with ourselves!
The recommendations from the NSBA report are as follows:
- Explore Social Networking Sites.
- Consider using social networking for staff communications and professional development.
- Find Ways to harness the educational value of social networking.
- Ensure equitable access.
- Pay attention to the nonconformists.
- Reexamine social networking policies.
- Encourage social networking companies to increase educational value.
There is something in these recommendations for everyone. I am intrigued by #5—
Pay attention to the nonconformists.
The survey findings identify this group of students as highly engaged and skilled at social networking and as an influential leadership cadre among their peers. Yet they seem to be lukewarm about traditional schoolwork and academics, perhaps because the allure of social networking is more compelling than traditional ways of learning.
By reaching out to these students and tapping into their interests, educators could yield a double benefit: a heads-up on the next new things that many other students are likely to gravitate to online and improved academic results for the nonconformists.