Sunday, December 6, 2009

'Educational Networking' - Lightbulb

Ok, so I've been struggling for a while with the idea that we should be using social networking because that is what the "kids are doing these days." I have totally bought into the idea that we should be communicating and collaborating with social networking and teaching students how to leverage those platforms but I was still struggling with saying that we needed to teach social networking.

I don't think that making Facebook a school content management system is the way to go. But did that mean I wasn't supporting the "get the kids where they're at" mentality? I want to tap into the desire of the students to share online but in different spaces. Then I read something by @mrchase about how we need to respect Facebook.
"If my teachers had started trying to teach me to diagram sentences whilst I was hanging out in my clubhouse when I was a kid, I would have built a new clubhouse."

I totally agree. So, I knew I wanted to use social networking to help engage and encourage students to share their ideas and learn from people around the world but I still felt uncomfortable saying I wanted to teach social networking.

I had heard the term social learning before but that wasn't doing it for me. It wasn't the head-fake I was looking for. I like to trick kids into learning. Make them think they are just enjoying what they are doing, having a discussion and then at the end walk out and realize "dang it, he tricked me into learning something again."

Then this morning, I read Chris Lehmann's wonderful article on the National Association of Secondary Principal's site. And he nailed it for me with this quote.
Social networking has changed the landscape of society. High school reunions are being planned on Facebook, so this is no longer simply a “kid” thing. But it is not enough for educators to simply be aware of social networking; they have an obligation to teach students the difference between social networking and academic networking. Students can be known for more than just photos they took on their latest vacations; they can be known as serious evolving scholars. Educators can help them understand how to paint a digital portrait of themselves online that includes the work they do in school and help them network, both locally and globally, to enrich themselves as students.

Lightbulb goes off in my head. The clouds part and I have clarity. That's it, "academic networking (I may prefer educational networking, still pondering). That's what I want my teachers to be doing.

My next thought was "I wonder if my wife would move to Philly." Then I shortly realized, no I don't need to move to Philly (nor would they hire me at SLA), I have wonderful educators here and I just need to keep moving towards teaching educational networking. The more schools out there doing it the better off we will be. So, thanks for the clarity Chris and the rest of my educational network for helping me to a little more clarity.

1 comment:

  1. Congrats!!! Blogging is really lots of fun.
    For me it represents a way to reflect and articulate my ideas not just keeping them in my head.
    Thanks for this excellent posting. I have shared the article (and your posting) with our school administrators, keeping my fingers closed that it actually lits their lightbulbs:)