To what appears to be a guest blog by Muireann O’Keeffe on socialbits
The ability to examine digital sources in terms of voice, agenda and authority are skills we have to give our students, and much of education in digital literacy allows students to read the meta language surrounding a webpage or site, however education is now as much about the pipes as the repositories. Social media is a pipe skill. In addition to the critical abilities above we need to make our students effective digital plumbers by giving them skills for improving the signal to noise ratio in their online data streams.
Most secondary teachers know that Youtube is a great educational resource, few would claim that unlimited access to it in the classroom would benefit their students educational goals.
Twitter is a great source for educational information (I came here from there) but unless tamed by an aggregator such as paper.li, it becomes an asynchronous source of distraction.
Social media present great opportunities for education within and beyond the classroom. We can crowd source information, participation and engagement; but unless focused and scaffolded there is a high risk that student classroom interaction with social media will be in a non educational social space which the new media have transported there.
Its easy to be critical and to gainsay, but we mustn’t forget that just as social media can bring the external world into the classroom as a distraction, it can equally well bring the classroom out and allow students to study any time, any where as the impulse strikes them.