Are we assuming too much?

November 17, 2010 § 2 Comments

Blogger Stephen Abram posted a video today about the changes in education.

While I whole-heartedly agree that educators need to change their tactics in order to reach and engage students, I would caution anyone who thinks that just by joining Facebook or Twitter, you will have instant success with the young ‘uns.

I would caution them for a few reasons. First, just because students have smart phones, and they check Facebook all the time, doesn’t mean they will think to use their smart phones for educational purposes, or welcome friending a teacher or professor. Some would even caution the teacher from this sort of social interaction.

Fascinating as it may be that they spend 12 hours a day with media (and only 25% of that watching television), simply making yourself or your information available through these media outlets will not engage the majority of students.

Students use lots of technology, but have no idea how it works, or the real power of it. Perhaps my experience is not typical, but from what I’ve learned from other librarians and educators, it’s not too far off the mark. I’ve talked with quite a few 18 -22 year olds that text pretty much constantly, and check Facebook religiously, but yet cannot navigate a Google results page satisfactorily. Some have still not heard of Twitter, or if they do, they have no idea why they should be interested in it. Many do not like blogs because “it’s just someone’s opinion,” completely ignoring the professional development opportunities the blogosphere presents.

So, my take on this whole idea is YES! Use technology, use social media! But make sure that you are educating your “media savvy” (note the use of air-quotes here) on the power of these technologies and connections. Otherwise, you will be ignored.

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§ 2 Responses to Are we assuming too much?

  • Thanks CL,

    I agreed with you that educators need to educate themselves on the powers of Web 2.0 Technologies first before trying to connect with students. It is funny how students are so connected to FB, twitter, but remain clueless on how to conduct a literature search. Perhaps more smart clips/videos need to be made to engage students on how to do research using their library catalogs and Google Search engine. All they need is one smart, tech savvy celebrity to be a spokesperson for using Web 2.0 responsibly. I enjoy your postings. G

    • Hi, VS,

      Thanks for your comment! I also thing that videos would be a smart way to “contact” students, and show them particular skills or ideas. This, of course, would require some social media smarts, but it is fairly easy to do, I think. I’ve been experimenting with the idea this semester, though I do not in any way think that I am proficient (or making wildly interesting videos).

      I look forward to reading more of your postings, as well!

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