Tag Archive: Chicago

Virginia Glass, Technology Director at Bannockburn School District 106, Bannockburn, IL and I had the privilege to facilitate a roundtable discussion that focused on the Use of Social Media in Education at the TechForum – Chicago 2012 hosted by the Technology & Learning magazine and website.   I want to give a heart-felt thanks to Virginia for all of her collaborative efforts!

The roundtable had approximately 25 participants that represented all domains in education including but not limited to administrators, Instructional Technology Coordinators, Teachers (across a variety of disciplines), and educational consultants. We had approximately 45 minutes to have a conversation about the use of Social Media in education.  The discussion was lively and new questions were generated, reflections on personal and professional experience grounded the participants for their contributions to the conversation.

We started the roundtable with a set of open-ended questions to get a conversation started on the how might the use for Social Media’s impact education.  (Describes the roundtable facilitators incentive for the question)

  • What is the ultimate goal of schools? (looking from the value with the end in mind)
  • Is education adapting to today’s digitally savvy students? (Are we keeping up with lasting and evolving societal influences?)
  • What is Social Media? (working with a common understanding)
  • Is the use of Social Media a breakthrough in helping students engage with content or is it a distraction that undermines traditional forms of discussion? (What is the impact of Social Media on learning … if there is a benefit does it out weigh the potential risks?  Even if there are risks is that a reason to shy away from Social Media in education?)
  • Does the use of Social Media provide a more authentic learning experience? (intended to compare and contrast the in school learning experience to the out of school learning experience – i.e. gap analysis – where are we … we do we want to be, the difference is what needs to done)
  • Does Social Media give students a voice to be heard? (Is student work and opinion part of the collective discourse? If it is how does it impact the quality of student work?)
  • What does the use of Social Media look like in your school today? (If Social Media is used in you classroom or your school … who is using it and how are they using it)
  • Does it/will it make a difference in the learning experience? (what are the participant’s opinion regarding the use of Social Media on a student’s learning  based on the end in mind established in a previous question)
  • What should it look like in the future?  (Based on the gap analysis what should/could Social Media in education look like?)
  • What are the apprehensions about its use? (Another look at the comparing and contrasting pros and cons of Social Media)
  • Is it worth the effort?  (Even if there are risks is that a reason to shy away from Social Media in education or is it an obligation based on the use of it in society and the value with the end in mind)
  • What is necessary for Social Media to be widely used in your school? (If it is deemed important {essential} … what do we need to close the gap?)
  • How important is it for your leaders to embrace its use?  What should that look like? (If essential, how should Social Media be promoted as a core value to education … how can we insure that it has a systemic sustainable presence, therefore an expectation for all to be well versed in its use as a tool for learning and communication … how do we assess the competencies of faculty and students in their use of Social Media in their teaching and learning?)

We created a couple of Social Media Roundtable Prompts to act as prompts for our discussion.  As I look at the tone and tenor of the discussion it was apparent to us that the participates recognized that Social Media is a vital part of the fabric of the world around us and that those savvy in its use will have advantages in being successful in a global information society.  That being said it was apparent that as educators there is an obligation to prepare our students for the world outside of the school, therefore tooling up our students to have a high comfort level and willingness to engage in Social Media.  This includes participating in the dialogue for theirs and others learning and providing information to be consumed by anyone in the world.

The conversation never veered far from the acknowledgement of the critical role the teacher plays in the development of the skills and perspectives of the student in the value and use of Social Media.  There was recognition that students experience a much different world outside of the school than inside.  Also acknowledged was the need to provide more authentic experiences that take advantage of these external experiences and this generation’s ability to multi-task to increase engagement and interest while at the same time prepare for the reality that exists outside of the school.

Getting teachers to see the value of a Social Media use in their classrooms and to   achieve common threshold of expertise and comfort with its use points to a serious professional development need.

We shared how Social Media can:

The roundtable time flew by much too quickly and the conversation could have continued and hopefully through this blog it can and others can join the roundtable that did not attend TechForum.

Since the roundtable I have been connected to other resources from my PLN about Social Media that can add to the conversation.

Are we ready?  Are our students being prepared for the world in which they must function and find personal and professional success?  Let conversation continue…


Food for Thought

Some Food for hought