Social Networking Blog

Guy Clapperton on the evolving new media

Twitter in education

Title page to Locke's Some Thoughts Concerning...
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OK, this one hit the headlines yesterday but I was out. It happens. Basically the story is that British schools are considering putting Twitter and other social media into the educational system and throwing out some of the old-fashioned history and stuff. There’s a great blog about it here on CNET, written by someone with scant regard for British education or the idea of traditional school subjects at all. He teases us Brits for inventing American Idol, the Dyson Vacuum Cleaner and all that stuff – I’m not going to start a war but thanks for McDonald’s, the Osmonds and all manner of other cr*p. We’re all guilty, OK?

What troubles me about this Twitter school study thing is that I don’t actually understand why it is necessary. I’m a 43 year old man, right? Right. I learned about Twitter and mastered it in a week or two (when I say ‘mastered’ I mean ‘started doing useful things with it’, not just entering the odd piece of text). I’m also OK on Facebook, LinkedIn and all manner of other social networks, much as you’d expect from someone writing a book on the subject.

Now, 25 years ago I started college and the study of children’s learning was one of the areas I had to look at in my linguistics degree. This was interesting – and I have a friend who’s a teacher, and she tells me the same thinking still applies. Children learn more quickly than adults. They just do. Miracle, no?

And now suddenly they’re going to be ‘studying’ Twitter at infant level. Studying? You enter a short message, people read it, what’s to study? I’ll look forward to seeing some substance in this proposal. But at the moment I’d rather kids carried on looking at their history books where there’s actually something substantial to learn. Social Networking, frankly, is too easy for them, and looking at their take-up of technology in general I don’t think there’s a problem with their existing learning techniques.

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March 26, 2009 - Posted by | social media trends | , , , , , ,

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