Monday, July 29, 2013

Social Media

4 Reasons Why Social Media Should be Taught in Our School Systems

by Kim Garst on the Huff Post Tech

I saw a story recently about a school, named Ngee Ann, in Singapore where a math teacher gave problems to students and asked that the answers be "tweeted." These tweets were then projected on a screen at the front of the room, in real time! (1) Now this was not just some rogue, social media instructor who decided to try something new. Ngee Ann is what the Singapore government calls a "future school" and teaching using social media is encouraged.

Think of that, teaching using social media is encouraged. What about requiring the teaching of social media itself in schools across the world? In 10 years will it be as common as teaching computer skills in school has now become? Should it be? Those that disagree typically site privacy concerns, safety, inefficiency and economic costs in their case against it. I will address each of those concerns below.
Now I might be a little biased, okay A LOT biased, but I want to give you the 4 reasons why I think that teaching social media to our children in schools is not only necessary, but critical.

Reason #1 - It is now, and will continue to be a social world. The top 5 social media sites combined have nearly 2 BILLION users (2). Smartphone users, on average, check their Facebook status 14 times per day. 79% check their smartphone for social media updates within 15 minutes of waking up (3). Social media and smartphone growth are both expected to grow at strong double-digit rates for the next several years (4). 80% of college faculty members now use social media and a full 50% of college professors say they use it in their classrooms (5). Enough proof?

Bottom line, social media is here to stay.
While there are certainly lots of ways to waste time with social media, nobody is arguing that you cannot use social media to engage and learn in interesting new ways. So, the argument that teaching social media to our students is a waste of time because it is a fad and will soon be gone certainly does not hold water. I promise, even if Facebook disappears or if we no longer call it social media, the idea of using the Internet to connect the planet on digital networks will not go away anytime soon.

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