Messing about on social networks – the new learning

Another really interesting report released today

What’s it telling us – something educators know already at some level, but it doesn’t come to the fore until research like this points it out.

Some examples –

New media allow for a degree of freedom and autonomy for youth that is less apparent in a classroom setting”.

What freedom do students have in the classroom? The teacher is in charge, so the students are secondary. How many teachers would step back and allow the students freedom to be autonomous? At the very least they would be accused of not doing their jobs properly even if they are promoters of independent active learning.

“Their efforts are also largely self-directed, and the outcome emerges through exploration, in contrast to classroom learning that is oriented toward set, predefined goals”.

Exploratory learning towards goals that the students set themselves as opposed to pre-set goals set by a mysterious other with little or no input by the students. I wonder which students might prefer?

“Contrary to adult perceptions, while hanging out online, youth are picking up basic social and technological skills they need to fully participate in contemporary society”

What should education be about – preparation for the real life outside it, to be able to thrive in a chaotic modern world. Seems like our young folk are taking matters into their own hands, preparing for their own future and having some fun along the way. You cant argue with that.

“Erecting barriers to participation deprives teens of access to these forms of learning”.

What do many schools and colleges do? Deliberately block access to Bebo and Myspace and Youtube and Facebook, etc.

Who teaches the students about this technology? The answer: ‘trial and error, I guess. Whenever I learn anything with computers, I’ve taught myself’ “.

No-one is forcing anyone to learn and use these tools. No-one is telling students you must do this. It’s all voluntary. Why are students willing to spend the time to learn these tools in their sparse spare time? If students are willing to sit down and voluntarily learn something why on earth would we stop them?

“Youth look to each other’s profiles, photos, videos, and online writing for examples to emulate and avoid in a peer-driven learning context that supports everyday media creation”.

Peer learning without the typical peer pressure.

“Online groups provide an opportunity for youth to exercise adult-like agency and leadership that is not otherwise available to them”.

Students in charge of their own lives, practicing independence and leadership …. Self empowerment at its best – to be applauded and encouraged.


Posted on November 21, 2008, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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