At the same time, I am a also firm believer that the New Zealand Curriculum is the jewel in our education crown, a world-leading curriculum that arguably still has so much freedom and potential almost fifteen years since its introduction.Increasingly at the same time, I see the provision of digital citizenship and competency as much a social justice issues as an academic requirement for all of our students now and in the future. We need our future adults and leaders to be doers and thinkers, followers and leaders, consumers and producers. For the belief to become reality, it is essential our students are set free by the teachers. In order for such freedom for be provided quickly, sustainably and safely, teachers must not individually “recreate the wheel” but instead work not just in schools collaboratively but also globally in person and more realistically, online.
It is surely beyond argument that the learning process for both teachers and students up to and including most of the last 10-15 years have been singularly-led by one “expert” and delivered via for the most part, through one-way transmission from educator to recipient, consumer. The advances in society and in our workforce have rendered such education practice redundant and without relevance to an increasingly digital over industrialised economy and a growing, global lifestyle. Our students at secondary school have understood online social networks arguably better than any educator. It might therefore be a little hard to swallow but if we want to learn the “flies and dies” of online interaction, it is essential that we look and learn from the genuine experts; our students (Seely Brown, 2008).
Robbler et al emphasise the need for educators to have a clear distinction between their personal and professional online existences. In doing so, they argue “when the education profile is differentiated from an individual’s online personality, collaborators are more likely to engage with another, regardless of personal admiration or knowledge” (p139, 2010). For this reason, my personal Facebook profile is completely private while on Twitter, I never post or contributes to anything other than work-related matters or discourse. I have also found it increasingly easier to debate educational philosophy and practice with teachers world-wide, even if I do not know them personally or face-to-face. In this light, online social networks enable education over people to be robustly but genuinely debated. As a result, we all win through moving forward collectively and collegially. Arguably the exponential sharing and caring online empowers us all to take the online into our own classrooms and our learning processes for the benefits of our students here and there, now and in the future.
Connect and network on, I say!
Roblyer, M. D., McDaniel, M., Webb, M., Herman, J., & Witty, J. V. (2010). Findings on Facebook in higher education: A comparison of college faculty and student uses and perceptions of social networking sites. The Internet and higher education, 13(3), 134-140.
Seaman, J., & Tinti-Kane, H. (2013). Social media for teaching and learning. Babson Survey Research Group. Retrieved from http://www.onlinelearningsurvey.com/reports/social-media-for-teaching-and-learning-2013-report.pdf
Seely Brown, J. (2008). Open education, the long tail, and learning 2.0. Educause review, 43(1), 16-20.