In the concluding thoughts in my book, Social LEADia, I call upon my favourite poem by Robert Frost to talk about the decision that stands before us in Education when it comes to using social media:
So it seems to me that stand before two roads diverging in a wood.
Some stand and don’t choose a road. They shake their heads and bemoan the woes of living in a digital age. They cite privacy issues and big data, and hope that everything will resolve itself or that miraculously social media will go away.
One road is well travelled. It is one where fear and negativity prevail, and the path is so worn that we constantly try to fix the potholes. On this path, our lessons cannot include social media because it is blocked and banned and students are left to navigate digital spaces on their own . We know inevitably where this road leads because so many have been down that path before.
The other road is less travelled. It is somewhat “grassy and wants wear” because not as many people choose that way. But it is one that the teachers and students featured in this book have travelled. It is one where we think differently and act differently when it comes to leveraging the potential of social media. It is being led by the next generation of changemakers with positivity, creativity, and hope.
Just today I experienced several things that tell me that more people are longing to travel or are travelling the road to positivity than we think!
First, I was looking at new publication, ISTE Standards for Students So many of the standards for students require us to think differently about teaching and learning. In particular, when we consider the criteria for Empowered Learner, Creative Communicator, and Global Collaborator, as well as Digital Citizen.
Along with the ISTE standards, came a magazine called, “Empowered Learner,” also published by ISTE. In it, CEO Richard Culatta shares the following quote that pops out in the sidebar:
“I worry that too many digital citizenship conversations focus on what not to do, and that’s not very compelling. It’s much more compelling to talk about what we should be doing and how we could be using tech tools to make our communities and the world around us a better place.” (page 10)
He then goes on to say,
“So in addition to helping our kids recognize the things to watch out for, we encourage them to be leaders in the digital space to encourage other people to use that medium to do good.” (page 10)
YES. YES. YES.
This is exactly the premise of Social LEADia, inspired by the definition of Digital Leadership from George Couros (2013) and which 17 year old Najha Marshall explicitly states as well:
“Adults keep telling us what not to do, but they never tell us what we should do.” (Social LEADia
It is so awesome to hear the CEO of ISTE express similar sentiments!!!
I also read an article by Emily Weinstein, found in the ISTE Digital Citizenship Resources, who draws from her experience at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Common Sense media to write, Debunking 5 myths about kids and their tech.
I am so heartened by this growing movement towards making sure we balance our fears of technology with the incredible power and potential it has for our learners! It is definitely about time!
If you are at the ISTE conference this year, please consider coming to my talk and join us on the road less travelled.
Source: “Interview: Richard Culatta: ISTE CEO shares his vision for ISTE, previews coming attractions.”
Empowered Learner. ISTE Publishing. Arlington: July 2017.