Thursday, September 15, 2011

Social Media Is Here to Stay: Get Out of the Way or Become Roadkill!!

A recent 2010-2011 study by the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research had some interesting statistics regarding social media use in universities and colleges:

  • 100% of colleges and universities studied are using some form of social media (up from 95% the year before and 61% in 2008-2009)
  • 98% of the colleges and universities had Facebook pages (up from 87% the year before)
  • 84% had Twitter accounts (up from 59%)
  • 66% had a blog (up from 51%)
What the study also stated was that "unsurprisingly, Facebook and Twitter are the main social media tools for US higher education institutions." Yet, what are our K-12 politicians and education policymakers doing? They are banning the use of social media as a means to communicate with students and parents.

Instead of passing bans on connections between students and teachers on Facebook, and employing filtering software to block social media sites, the US K-12 public education system needs make a giant step in the 21st century and embrace social media tools as just one of the natural ways people communicate today. It is misguided foolishness to think that social media is magically turning teachers into predators, preying on our nation's children. That nonsense is driving school systems across the country to ban social media connections entirely between teachers and students. Unfortunately, those who do such things will do so. How about paying closer attention to those we hire as teachers instead? Blaming the medium for the problem never works.

Social media is here to stay. Education policymakers really only have one choice: accept it as a 21st century means of communicating, or be rendered roadkill. 

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