Saturday, September 19, 2009

Social Network or Networking?

Just viewed an excellent video of a talk given by Dana Boyd at the Teaching & Learning with Technology conference at Penn State University where she talks about her recent research about the use of Social Network Tools by High School students.

Hey it turns out that kids are basically the same. The dislike authority, they like their friends and they just want to hang out with them. Additionally, they don't like everyone and they talk about those they dislike behind their backs. The difference is that they have cooler way to do it! When we grown ups think they are "networking" they are just using the network. We are imposing our values upon their behaviours. It makes sense and when you think about it...pretty much what I see whenever I enter a school.

Her research has found that the Digital Natives aren't wiser than we "Immigrants". They still need our wisdom to guide them. It's just a different landscape to negotiate. She states the disruption is that we have to re-think our power as adults. We need to dialogue with our students and ask them to teach us how they use tools like face book, youtube, MSN and wikipedia. Then we need to talk about things like ownership of information, bias, supporting resources and references. Hey we need to provide a scaffold to engage CRITICAL THINKING to make sense in a broader world!

Students need to have guidance in the use of internet resources, taught how wikipedia works, the importance of appropriate online presence (ie pics). Parents are worried, teachers are afraid...who should take the lead? I'm thinking that educators need to get with the program and administrators need to ensure they are on top of this and staff their schools accordingly. Perhaps a Teacher Librarian??

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