However, I believe this was done intentionally. Many of my peers came into this class with fears; fears of technology, fears of breaching our new found standards of practice, fears of leaving behind a permanent mistake. It would not have been right to start the class off only reiterating those fears or misconceptions. Starting the class off with this advisory would have been a steep fall off of the ed tech bandwagon.
I also believe the process we went through, and the pedagogy of the technology we were exposed to steered us in the right direction. We were not driving blind, but had all the guidance and support of our peers, our teacher Zoe Branigan-Pipe, and all of those who joined us along the way developing our professional learning networks. We were in a safe environment to explore and learn about the technology, without the fear of making a costly mistake. We were exposed to the educational side of technology rather than the mere entertainment side.
One of my first posts was about the two types of users of Twitter and my hesitation to get an account. This hesitation was a product of the lack of knowledge of the tool. From this class I have now gained a full understanding of the power of twitter, have fully adopted the social network and participate in weekly chats, gaining and sharing resources.
My Twitter experience is what students need to experience. 21st century students are lucky to be learning at such an innovative time, but they need to know how these sites are properly used and how they can truly benefit from them. I still hear people discussing exactly how I used to feel about Twitter - why do people care what I am doing every second of every day? People do not understand the networking it creates, the amount of learning that takes place and the relationships made. Students understand how to work the machine, but they don't really know what the machine does. Integrating these social media sites and other technologies in the classroom can open students up to be always learning, always creating and always building. I find my school day never ends anymore because of all the social networking outlets I now have. I find myself feeling accountable and needing to research new ed tech tools to contribute to my network rather than just taking the resources from others.
If we begin teaching our elementary school students about networking, proper online etiquette, the power of Google Plus, the educational side of technology versus the entertainment side - imagine the networks they can start building. Imagine the possibilities these students will have when they graduate high school or university. Sheikha Al Mayassa on a recent Ted Talk discusses Globalizing the Local and Localizing the Global. Social networking has the capabilities to do so - if students start learning how to use the tools properly and effectively - now.