Saturday, February 6, 2010

Off the beaten path.... Proper use of Social Media

I've had this question stewing in my mind for the last couple of weeks, so I thought I would write about it.  Now, I know this isn't about formative assessment or standards based grading like my blog is supposed to be about, but hey... this is my space, so I can write what I want!  :)

Anyhow, back to my thoughts on the proper use of social media in education. Much has been written about using twitter as a collaborative tool: here and here thanks @plugusin.  I can't agree more! Twitter is a great place to share, collaborate, and learn about numerous things. There are so many resources, ideas, and challenging questions shared daily. For me personally, I have learned so much about teaching, learning, and leading from the various people I follow and collaborate with.

My dilemma, if you call it a dilemma, is the different ways people treat twitter. For some, twitter is a strictly professional tool. Their tweets are all about education. Others see twitter as a very social tool.  A place to kid, jab, and have a good time with each other. Many more, fall somewhere in the middle, they like the professional learning, but also develop relationships with people from across the globe that they would have no other connection with.

Now, you may be wondering what the dilemma is... well, let's say that I'm demonstrating the powerful resources of twitter to a room full of teachers at my school (On a side note, I'll be doing this on Friday February 12th if you'd like to shout out! @EricTownsley). This may seem like an easy task, but imagine the embarrassment when across the screen of my Tweetdeck feed a tweet with foul language appears. This wouldn't be good, but I can't control what others are saying. My admin goes into a tizzy and shuts down my presentation and the possibility of numerous teachers joining the conversation is ruined (hypothetical situation here, hasn't happened yet).

The tweeter (is this the right term here?) that sent the foul language tweet has no idea that I may be showing this tool to the staff at my school. I follow this person because at times, they share some great resources and we have some great conversations. However, at times, they share things I don't want to know or care to hear about.

How can I distinguish, how can I filter? Now, this hasn't happened to me. I haven't been embarrassed in this way, but I could, and so could you. But I can't control what others are saying, so do I stop following and learning from someone just because of the risk they may say something I don't want to read?

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