Social Media Threat to Education?

CNN Sees Facebook as Major Competitor” says Mashable’s writer Jennifer Van Grove in an article today. Even though it seems reasonable at first “well, people are getting their news first on Facebook”, media giants like CNN should look deeper into social media platforms as OPPORTUNITIES to reach more people with their news. Similar to what Mashable and many others already do, publishing their feed on Twitter, Facebook and many other channels. Readers will most likely read short blurbs from their friends about news of interest on social networks and, if the news are really interesting they will go to major websites to find more details about it. If the news giants already have their feeds going into popular social media channels, people will actually retweet, respost, spread the link, taking readers back to the main news site. CNN seems to miss the point…

And so do many people in charge of K12, Higher Education, eLearning departments at corporations, and other “authorities” in Education: they see social media as a threat instead of an ally in doing what Education is all about, constructing communities of practice, taking knowledge to the masses, letting people construct knowledge, reach out to other learners… Many times when they use social media, they simply clone a popular service inside walled gardens, missing on the wealth of knowledge already out there.

Educators fail to see even major services like Facebook, Youtube and Twitter as learning communities and channels for knowledge creation and distribution perhaps because their policies are based in “old school” (pun intended) paradigms of authoritative learning. “What will happen when we admit Wikipedia can be a legitimate source of knowledge?” “What will happen when we let our learners loose on video sharing sites?” “I don’t even understand microblogging, how can I use it in the classroom/as the classroom?” and other questions are asked by friends of mine in Education all the time. Let’s not forget our roles as “facilitators” in the new media era…

What are questions and answers YOU might have about using social media in Education?

Why don’t we see more of social media applied to learning experiences?

Where have you seen it? Have YOU used social media to facilitate learning?

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