The presentation by John Finch sparked a very interesting topic for us to consider as we plunge into the ever-exciting world of education. We are at the forefront of change that will surely arouse debate and controversy among students, parents, and teachers everywhere.
The question is, should we use social media as a tool for learning? Unfortunately, the answer is about as clear as the Assiniboine River - reminiscent of chocolate milk. The potential for misuse is ripe, and there is probably a very thin line between useful educational tool and ultimate chaotic distraction for students. However, the reality of the situation is that virtually all of our students will be seasoned internet (especially social media) junkies, and it would behoove us to take a good hard gander at what we can do to harness this behaviour for educational purposes.
In my opinion, there are many advantages to incorporating social media into the classroom. As part of John's presentation, we were asked to do an internet search for examples of schools and teachers that are currently experimenting with social media in education. During my browsing, I came across a particularly interesting article entitled "100 Inspiring Ways to Use Social Media in the Classroom" - http://www.onlineuniversities.com/blog/2010/05/100-inspiring-ways-to-use-social-media-in-the-classroom/ . There are lots of good ideas and links to specific examples of where the method is being used.
I look forward to trying some of those ideas in my classroom, and I think my students will enjoy it as well. Hopefully all school divisions will realize the benefits of using social media as an educational tool. Students live in a world centered around social media, so why not allow them to interweave education into their technological matrix? As the old saying goes: if we can't beat 'em, we might as well join 'em.