Saturday, August 5, 2017

connectED

I had an opportunity to participate in a panel discussion about the impact of social media in education this morning on the campus of the University of Michigan at Flint. Students in their graduate program for Educational Leadership met this morning to discuss how social media has changed professional development for educators.  And, Saturday mornings are the perfect morning to discuss this!  I got to mention how awesome #satchat has been for growing my PLN and exposing me to new and innovative ideas in education.

I also was excited to share how I use social media to amplify my students' voices and connect them to other thinkers around the world. Our world has been flattened by technology.

But this is old news.

Instead, I was surprised to hear about the level of push-back that these future administrators faced. Many of the educators in the room spoke about their districts having strict policies against connecting with parents online.  Connecting with students online was out of the question, as the districts they currently worked in had clear board policies against using social media in the classroom even at the secondary level.

Perhaps it is because I have immersed myself in technology and love sharing how social media has connected my learners with authors, experts, real readers, and classrooms around the globe that I forget that there still exists fear about how young people are using connective technologies.  I am not naive. I know that students need to be taught digital responsibility and that irresponsible behavior online can have dire real-life consequences, but locking the box on social media is not doing anyone any good.  How can we teach digital responsibility if we do not allow our educators and students to access it?

I hope that I was able to share today ways in which social media has helped make the walls of our classroom more transparent. I loved sharing some of what I have learned from Joe Sanfelippo (he's actually in town on Monday for MACUL's Mindshare!) and Tony Sinanis's work: "As lead learners, administrators, and educators, it is our responsibility to transform the thick brick barriers surrounding our school buildings into clear, transparent walls of glass." Social media helps teachers and administrators connect with our most important stakeholders.  It also helps us clearly articulate our story. The story of our schools.


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