Sunday, August 23, 2009

Blog #5 Social Media

"He was so learned that he could name a horse in nine languages; so ignorant that he bought a cow to ride on.”

- Benjamin Franklin

In an earlier blog I talked about media literacy and mentioned social media literacy. Since that time, summer vacation ended and I rejoined my teaching community (a 4,000 student high school). And sure enough, I got involved in a discussion about media literacy and social media literacy – or lack thereof. I thought the conversation was educational and worthy enough to continue.

Media literacy and social media literacy are not the same. Media literacy is about due diligence in researching the creditability and agenda of presentations that are trying to convince you of a point of view or to some kind of action. Social media literacy begins with media literacy and then moves on to social interaction wisdom.

Media is the vehicle to get your message out. Social media is more about networking out to engage others in conversation with an idea. Social media is the vehicle to build communities. Social communities. Learning communities. Professional communities. And to be effective in these communities requires some social media wisdom.

For PEW/Internet, Alexandra Macgill (2007) reports that 93% of youth (ages 12-17) are online.

According to Amanda Lenhart (2009) there is also a growing majority of teenagers using online social networks. These teenagers have created online profiles and use them to send messages to their friends. Many of them do so daily.

While many of our states are not formally teaching in our schools to be media literate, even fewer are teaching students to be social media wise.

The conventional wisdom taught to us by our parents, ‘do not talk to strangers’, is difficult to apply here. There needs to be another approach. Fortunately, there are teachers willing to engage with students using social media technologies and teach their safe use. Better yet, they are willing to use the same technologies to share their methods with other teachers. Now that’s a conversation!

Sue Waters, for example, on The Edublogger asked her readers to share their guidelines for appropriate online student behavior. Fran Lo replied and shared the Online Discussion Agreement she uses in her class blog for online discussions. It is a blend of personal accountability, scholar integrity, good citizenship, and commonsense protection of privacy.

Media literacy and social media wisdom are important steps to teaching students to create their own personal learning networks and engaging them online in a learning community. The potential this brings to expanding education is worth continuing the conversation. Help me further this conversation on The Neos Network Project blog.

The Neos Network Project is based on one of my thesis ideas. I’m noticing that there are still not enough educators comfortable with emergent technologies in a collaborative culture to use them with students. It seems that they do not feel fluent enough in their use to apply the technologies in teaching. The purpose of the project is to encourage helpful and creative conversations in using emergent technologies to build learning communities that will guide these teachers into applying their use with students. Thank you in advance for your support.


Lenhart, A. (2009 April 10). Teens and social media: An overview.

Retrieved from

Macgill, A. (2007 October 24). Parent and Teenager Internet Use.

Retrieved from

No comments: