Dreaming Up Ideas and Thinking of the Possibilities
In case you missed it, the website Mashable ran a great article recently about a teacher in Portland, Oregon, who uses social media in her classroom. The article,
“The case for social media in schools” (http://mashable.
com/2010/09/29/social-media-in-school), got tremendous
response, mostly from those lauding the teacher and others expressing envy because blogs, wikis, smartphones, and
other social media tools were not available when they were
One commenter, however, pooh-poohed the idea of us-
ing social media in school:
Wow. As a reasonably educated layperson, not an
educator, I could not DISAGREE more with this argu-
ment. Basically, “online social media exists therefore
we should use it in our classrooms as an educational
tool.” Just because something exists in popular culture
should that be a justification for use? Educators should
be developing curriculum NOT pop culture.
The article and comments were fresh in my mind when
I read a post on The Student PLN Connect blog (http://
thestudentplnconnect.blogspot.com). This blog documents
a PLN/Web 2.0 class that Shannon McClintock Miller
from Van Meter, Iowa, teaches with Bill Brannick, principal at Archbishop Prendergast Catholic High School in
Philadelphia, 1,000 miles away. Connected by Skype, Miller
and Brannick teach this elective to students at both schools
in grades 9–12. The class focuses on building a personal
learning network (PLN) and supporting it with Web 2.0
tools, such as Twitter, blogs, Google Docs, and Skype.
In her post “It’s More Than Just a Class…It’s a Revolution!” Reanne Maskart, a student at Prendergast, writes
about how the class has enriched her learning. Her enthusiasm would make any educator weep with joy.
After the first meeting I was SOLD! I started dream-
ing up ideas and thinking of all the possibilities that
stemmed from this. I was thinking how exciting it
would be to work with peers in Iowa, and how great
it would be to use the Web for everything it’s worth!
Later that night, I was Skyping, texting, Facebooking,
Twittering a whole lot of my peers in Iowa and think-
ing, Wow! This is great! Even better than I expected.