Engagement is the Mantra of Social Media, Why Not the Mantra of Schools, too?

Social Media For Schools

Guest post by by Ivana Sendecka

For last ten and half months I am closely watching trends of educational system, both in my homeland (Slovakia) and world-wide via my online networks. Listening and talking to students is allowing me to get clearer picture about what is going on with education in 21st century. I am out of school for 5 years and yet I am very concerned about “school issues”, because I believe that our future depends on how we will prepare for it today.

In the beginning of this year, I have done an “investigation” via poll on my blog, when I have asked following question: Have you ever cheated on exams in school? Results came out to be pretty alarming: 77% of respondents have confessed that they have cheated during exams…

Therefore I did follow up on the topic and I have invited my friend Tyler Shores, who is a graduate student at the University of Oxford, to elaborate more on the topic of cheating through education.

Tyler said in the part one of his hilarious guest post following:

The ease of click, copy, paste is an obvious trouble that can enable some to misappropriate the ideas of others as their own

(Look up whole paragraph called: It’s technology, stupid! )

I do totally agree with Tyler.

What matters is, what do we do with new inventions and technologies, which are available for us.

I believe that every invention can be used for good or bad purpose. Airplane can take you to your holiday destination or it can carry nuclear bomb on its board as well or you can copy-paste Bachelor thesis, which is posted online or you can do amazingly creative things thanks to the same online tools.

I am a positive “half-full glass “kind of a person and I trust, that students will engage into honest usage of technologies, social media and internet. We just need to offer them a bargain, why to do so and provide them a platform where they can share their ideas and create valuable stuff, while learning.

I have been puzzled a lot when I have found out that majority of the schools (high schools and universities) in Slovakia have not changed ways how they teach from the times, when I have been a student. Teachers are not aware about current technologies or social media tools at all, so it is obvious that schools cannot provide their technology savvy students platforms where they can be engaged and where they can express themselves

Therefore my mind is quite occupied with thoughts about how can we transform our schools 1.0 into schools 2.0? Brisk comparison of differences between schools now and then, have naturally brought up following question:

Why schools did not change the way they teach their students, even though everything around have changed enormously?

Few simple examples only confirm those obvious differences:

We search and share information differently (Google, wikis, social media)

We organize and store our work differently (USB keys, hard drives)

We document and capture our memories differently (cell phones, digital cameras)

We have an access to the world’s top thinkers and teachers (TED talks, youtube videos, blogs)

Our classrooms can become global with just one click of “video call” button on Skype…

If I could talk to Department of Education, I would ask them:

Why cannot we deliver our school assignments in a form of blog posts, instead of handwritten essay? Why cannot we create a wiki pages with the facts, which we have learned in the class instead of reading old-fashioned books? Why are schools signing contracts with providers of email services and pay lots of money for it, if every kid now is having their own free email address? Could not we utilize those money elsewhere?

I believe there are great opportunities in store for us laying behind technology revolution, which might still be quite spooky for many teachers.

Let me conclude with a quote by Clay Shirky from the book Here Comes Everybody:

“Young students don’t have to unlearn thousands of things, which people born before 1980 have to.

So, let us re-learn and let us paint the future together, for us and for next generations to come.

Guys, I would love to know your take on the topic. Which new ways of learning would you propose to be implemented in schools? How can we truly engage both, teachers and students to make learning an exciting and creative experience?

See you in comments!;-)

Ivana Sendecka is:

Lifelong Learner | Business consultant | Coach | Blogger | Reader | Listener | Passionate about life & about unfolding talents in people| “Talk walker”|Person who cares| Living “Curiosity on steroids”|

She runs a project NGLS – Next Generation Leaders of Slovakia. She is “shipping” blogs and vlogs for Inspiring Shipments blog. She facilitates inspiring community around her blog, which is known as SCG – Super Cool Gang. Ivana’s “Live CV” will tell you more about her journey in moving pictures. You can follow her on Twitter @IvanaSendecka or simply “feed yourself “with Inspiring Shipments RSS feed.

  • Vishal

    Well said ivana.. with total change in the way we gather information .. (google instead of libraries) the existing education system needs to harness the power of technology rather than staying aloof from it and imagining itself immune from the impact of technology.
    Students should be encouraged to make use of available technologies in an honest way. A new wave of evolution is happening since humans evolved from apes. IT has changed everything and world is now more even playfield with everyone having equal access to same information (thankfully there is no Google premium search 😉 )

    Nice reading ivana

    • IvanaSendecka

      Thank you, Vishal!
      Indeed, we should be totally open to new technologies and encourage others not to be “afraid” to dig into it as well;-)

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