Social media in school

On the Ask a Teacher blogJacqui Murray asks the question:

What do you think of Facebook in school?

I thought this was a great question that should be teased out.

In her post, she says that her school has banned access to Facebook, Youtube, Flickr etc. Yet these sites have kids excited about learning & excited about technology.

What I thought was interesting, is that Jaqui included a link to two youtube videos on what Social Media / Networking is.  But more on that in a moment.

My first reaction was to identify what would be banned in a school and should be banned.  There is no doubt that even soft porn has no place in school.  Even sites like Break (which has scantly dressed women and guys being kicked in the nuts) should be removed.

So what is the purpose of banning sites?  I can understand the argument that Facebook and Twitter offer limited (if any) educational value.  They are “fun”, but do they offer anything more meaningful?

But have a look at the two youtube video’s Jacqui linked to.  CommonCraft describe themselves as a creator of three-minute videos to help educators and influencers
introduce complex subjects.  (RSA have also done something similar).

To say the study of a businesses (and industry) that  just did not exist 5 years ago has no value in our schools is just crazy.  I think that if you are involved in media studies, art or even an english teacher and you are not using this medium, then you are doing your students a disservice.

Then again, there always will be someone willing to get kicked in the nuts!

Seth Godin's 2%

Seth recently put up a post on 2%

To summarise, Seth suggests that regardless of what you do (crystal clear instructions, ALL CAPS) 2% of people will still stuff it up!

He finishes with:

Technologists hate this choice, but it’s true. We have to plan for human failure and part of our job is to have the resources and back up to allow these people to remain in our tribe even though they’re unable to follow a simple instruction.

To me, you can read this one of two ways.  Put your Microsoft hat on.  Windows Vista has 15 different ways to turn off the machine.

Now put your Apple Mac, iPhone or Facebook hat on.  What is the 2% there?

How do they plan for failure?  What does “failure” mean for a Twitter user?

The difference here is that the “barrier” for use is so low (open a web browser, make a phone call, update your Facebook status).  2% for a Facebook user seems very very high…