In my quest to avoid becoming your grandmother's librarian, I signed up for a 21st Century Literacy Skills class for our district-wide inservice day. We talked a lot about social media and how teachers can use it to educate themselves (there are hundreds of educators sharing strategies and ideas on social media websites) and engage their students. Below is a fascinating video we watched called Social Media Revolution 2011.
The growing impact that social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have on the world is unbelievable. With this growth comes a huge opportunity for teachers. Where are students going to learn to be responsible digital citizens? School! As education blogger Brian Bennet states, "children will learn about social networking somewhere…why shouldn’t it be in school? That way, a responsible adult can help them work through things like their digital footprint, social etiquette, and the responsibilities associated with being a digital and global citizen. If we don’t take the time to teach or even model social networking skills in our classes, learners will be left to navigate the jungles of the web on their own, and maybe even make some mistakes that will follow them for the rest of their lives. I don’t mean to be heavy or alarmist, but that really is the nature of the world today" (http://www.brianbennett.org/blog/when-should-we-introduce-social-media/).
Wow! I read this and was absolutely gobsmacked. Every week we hear about another case of cyber bullying or sexting. How many of these cases could have been prevented with a little education? I'm not saying that these things are going to disappear if librarians and teachers start teaching their students about social media etiquette and their digital footprint, but it can't hurt!
We've taught our students for years how to be responsible and thoughtful members of society, but as social media becomes a larger part of their lives, we must also make sure we're teaching them to be responsible and thoughtful members of our digital society as well.