The link below is to an interesting post from an individual who is having trouble (I think) figuring out creative ways to use the newest media and technology as part of the educational process–like math, science, social studies, English, etc. And I think the quote below sums up his feelings about this.
If it’s simple—even mindless—to use or create with new technology, then we must question the pedagogical value of what we are doing.
True, mindless application of the newest technology probably won’t result in learning. But think about the uses of social networking for students to instantly carry on group projects on an assigned topic in a “closed” and safe environment that a teacher can monitor, if s/he wants to. Social networks offer all sorts of options for closed group communication–and that’s where educators can truly extend the school day.
Overall, I get this blogger’s concerns. There are times that I have to step back and take time to discuss with others the possible applications of the newest social media “toy” because I can’t see its usefulness. For me, this occurs when I am sort of afraid of a new program or site because I haven’t had the opportunity to actively explore it. When I do so, suddenly I’ve got a million ideas, some of which might actually be do-able! But all my pedagogy is so much a part of all my teaching and learning that I would have to think about the pedagogical concepts behind the applications I’ve come up with.
So, while a year or two ago I would not necessarily have “discovered” educational uses for Twitter and Facebook (and Pinterest and WordPress and …), I’ve changed my mind. I’ve learned how to use these–good grief; what does one call a site that’s also an application?–instruments, and therein lies my attitude shift. Social network sites and tools can be used for group projects, for students staying in touch over weekends and school breaks, for communication among remote group members as each checks out a separate activity or place or what-have-you, for help with homework, for sharing a new school-related idea, for learning and explaining concepts, for–well, you get the picture.
Bottom line for me: Simple technology does not make it mindless; and “mindless” technology can have rich applications for educational purposes. It’s the willingness of the educator to explore quickly and, simultaneously, critically. It’s always been my experience that if you can’t get students to stop doing something, find a way to work that something into the curriculum.
Read on and decide where you stand on this issue.
Here’s the URL, if you can’t get the link above to work: