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3 Developing Professionally Responsible Social Media Practices

William M. Ferriter Solution Tree Press ePub

As we have seen in the first two chapters, using social media to communicate with constituents and connect with colleagues in new digital spaces is gaining traction with a wider audience of school leaders, experts, and educational organizations. Negative stories trumpeted by media outlets, however, continue to slow adoption. It is difficult to expect educators to completely embrace services like Twitter and Facebook when they are constantly surrounded with headlines like, “Teacher Loses Job After Commenting About Students, Parents on Facebook” (Heussner & Fahmy, 2010).

As a result, the majority of schools and districts are overly cautious about the role that digital spaces can play in their own communication and professional development plans. As coauthor Jason Ramsden, chief technology officer for Ravenscroft School in Raleigh, North Carolina, explains, “I understand the excitement and hesitation that comes with conversations about using social media in our schools. In my experience, most educators think social media means social networking on Facebook. While Facebook is certainly one tool that can be used, there are many other tools available, each with its own set of positive and negative factors that need to be considered” (Ramsden, 2009).

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Chapter One Managing Information in the 21st Century

William M. Ferriter Solution Tree Press ePub

One key point often forgotten in conversations about teaching in a digital world is that the core instructional techniques of most classrooms remain unchanged. Students are still crafting written reports and position statements on topics of personal interest and global importance; powerful conversations still give students the opportunity to polish foundational beliefs; teachers still continue to expose students to the content of their curricula in the hopes of challenging preconceived notions; hands-on experiences are still an essential component of engaging classrooms; and information still stands at the center of meaningful learning experiences.

That’s where the similarities between learning yesterday and today end, though. While the students of previous generations interacted with information by poking through card catalogs, manageable handfuls of books from the local library, or sets of encyclopedias purchased one volume at a time from the local grocery store, iGeners are surrounded by seas of online content. Considering that Google had indexed thirty trillion unique URLs on the Internet by March of 2013, it is easy to see how too much information can become a serious problem for iGeners (Koetsier, 2013).

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Introduction

William M. Ferriter Solution Tree Press PDF

Introduction

One Really

Competitive Skill

Let’s start with a simple truth: in a world where the Internet and the rapid pace of change have made remembering basic facts redundant and irrelevant, being career ready depends on a heck of a lot more than what a graduate knows. Instead, the most successful companies are interested in what their employees can do with nearly ubiquitous access to information and opportunities. They are looking for graduates who can think critically and solve complex problems that cross domains. They value ethical decision making, teamwork, and the ability to apply knowledge in real-world settings (Hart Research

Associates, 2015). To the modern employer, adaptability combined with leadership, initiative, and strategic planning matter just as much as explicit knowledge (National Association of Colleges and

Employers, 2014).

For most practitioners, there is nothing fundamentally surprising about these demands. Progressive educators have long pushed against the notion that mastering explicit knowledge determines success. The thinking of scholars like former Massachusetts Institute of

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Appendix Technology Permission Slip

William M. Ferriter Solution Tree Press ePub

Often, teachers and administrators feel uncomfortable about introducing digital tools to students because of Internet safety risks that are widely reported in the media. These fears are completely understandable! In fact, moving forward with digital projects before articulating specific actions that parents, teachers, and students should take to keep safe online would be nothing short of irresponsible. Teaching students strategies for self-protection is a basic requirement for any educator interested in using digital tools to facilitate instruction.

This document outlines both the reasons that digital tools should play a larger role in classroom instruction and the behaviors expected of parents, teachers, and students in 21st century classrooms. It can be used as a permission slip to generate commitment to Internet safety before digital projects are started.

Dear Parents,

Perhaps the greatest challenge facing parents and teachers is preparing students for a future that is rapidly changing yet poorly defined. New content and information is constantly being created, new partnerships developed across global boundaries are becoming commonplace, and new tools are connecting workers who once would have remained isolated.

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Chapter Four Exploring Collaborative Dialogue

William M. Ferriter Solution Tree Press ePub

Working at CERN—a physics laboratory employing thousands of people from around the world—in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Tim Berners-Lee had an all-too-common 21st century desire: to be able to effectively interact with coworkers regardless of their location, the types of computers they were using, or the format of files they were creating. Efficient interaction, Berners-Lee figured, would make everyone smarter because they would have access to shared information. Efficient interactions were impossible at that point in time, however, because there was no single standard for communication between computers and no easy way to meet with everyone individually. Determined to build a system that would enable connections to both information and individuals regardless of the devices that they were using, Berners-Lee created the World Wide Web (Gillies & Cailliau, 2000).

At first, Berners-Lee didn’t have global intentions for his invention. His initial goal was simply to create a solution for the communication challenge he was facing in the workplace. “There was never a feeling of ‘Heh, heh, heh, we can change the world,’” he said in a 2005 interview with the Telegraph. He said, “It was, ‘This is exciting, it would be nice if this happened,’ combined with a constant fear that it would not work out” (“Three Loud Cheers,” 2005). It didn’t take long for Berners-Lee to become convinced, however, that the World Wide Web had potential that could change the world in far more meaningful ways. He noted, “I’d like to see it building links between families in different countries . . . to allow us to browse people’s websites in different languages so you can see how they live in different countries” (“Three Loud Cheers,” 2005).

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