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Thank You, Facebook


 

This post is related to the presentation I will be giving at the ASCD Annual Conference in San Francisco. If you’d like to come out, it will be on Saturday March 26 at 5:15 pm in room 113.

By the seventeenth century, the printing press was common throughout Europe, and, “was the core technology that gave rise to the Age of Enlightenment” (Jeff Chase, 2001). Academics and experts alike could share their knowledge and understanding with millions of people.

Late in the nineteenth century, fountain pens were mass produced. Suddenly, everyone could begin writing with ease. But, the audience would be small, isolated to a small group of people at best.

By the late 1990’s, internet became relatively common. Select individuals, with the know how, could create a website within a few days, maybe weeks. But, at this time, most people with internet access were simply consuming the information.

But don’t let anyone tell you that the biggest difference between today and 25 years ago is that students can access and consume the information of the world. While this is partially true, I believe that the most important distinction is that todays student is creating the information. With social media, everyone can be, and is, an important author.

How important? Glad you asked! The picture below is one of thousands of images, blogs and tweets from protesters in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. Average people, connected to the rest of the world through their cell phone cameras and blogs, have made waves by sharing information and rhetoric of the happenings in their countries. The revolution in Tunisia is largely credited to Tunisian use of social media such as blogging, Facebook and youtube to get their message out and gardner support of the world.

Social media was used to gain the support of the world in Egypt and Tunisia

So the question isn’t ‘Should we be allowing our students to use social media?’ The question should be, “How do we get our students to use social media effectively, so they can be change agents too?”

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