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Business - Written by on Thursday, October 23, 2008 16:48 - 5 Comments

Social Media Classroom: The Classroom 2.0

As someone who went to teachers’ college, I’m always interested when the worlds of education and wikinomics overlap. Teaching has always been about finding, maximizing and sharing scarce resources. Applying some wikinomics to the equation can provide teachers (and their students) an opportunity to access and share resources anywhere in the world.

Enter the Social Media Classroom. The project, created by Howard Rheingold, describes itself as, “an invitation to grow a public resource of knowledge and relationships among all who are interested in the use of social media in learning.” The site is a series of Web 2.0 tools (it offers forums, wikis, blogs, chat, social bookmarking, microblogging, social video, curricular materials, resource repositories and an online community of practitioners – available as an install or SaaS) that help to facilitate collaborative, student-led learning across a distance. The value of this project is not simply the ability to slap a 2.0 paintjob on an existing system but rather as a means to enhance the learning process. Perhaps the website puts it best:

The greatest value that the SMC can add to a learning community is its ability to support a movement away from education as delivery of knowledge toward education as critical, collaborative inquiry—a student-centric pedagogy that engages students in actively constructing knowledge together, rather than passively absorbing it from texts, lectures, and discussions.

In an earlier post, Ian advocated the benefit of meeting the Net Generation where they live (and learn) by designing educational policies that allow for generational differences. Personally, I’m a big fan of whatever works to get kids learning. If social networking, blogs and other Web 2.0 tools form an effective component (yes, component – I happen to think there’s even a place for the old fashioned lecture), then let’s use these tools to make sure kids are learning the knowledge and the skills they need to be successful in the workplace of the future.

In education, there is a focus (and rightly so) on developing life-long learners. For me, this process is about developing a citizenry who are engaged and able enough to use the tools at their disposal to get the information the need to be a contributing member of society.


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Keri Pearlson
Oct 24, 2008 2:16

This is much more than developing engaged and contributing citizens. This is about a new paradigm for learning…learning 2.0 (or are we up to 3.0?). Learning where the student is asked to help create knowledge, rather than just absorb it, is always more interesting to the student. Funny, though, that it’s often less preferable to the teacher. During my experience as a member of the faculty at a major business school, I found that many of my colleagues preferred lecturing since it was a way for them to control what information was shared and what knowledge was created. They could plan what they would say and control what was done in their classroom. It’s is the easiest for the teacher, but the most difficult learning method for the student. How long can you sit in a lecture before you are bored and looking for a more engaging activity?

Danny Williamson
Oct 24, 2008 22:37

Keri, I think you’ve hit it on the nose. It is decidedly more difficult for the instructor to use learner-focused methods than to simply stand at the front and lecture. I wonder too, if it’s not somewhat symptomatic of our educational systems. For most of us that succeed through secondary and post-secondary education and then find ourselves in a teaching role, we learn to succeed in the “system” as currently constituted. I’m a firm believer that the biggest winners(even though everyone wins in a student-focused environment) are the students who struggle to succeed in the “normal” classroom and generally tend to fall through the cracks despite best efforts to see them succeed.

Nov 2, 2008 8:37

It is weird to write about Classroom 2.0 without writing about Classroom 2.0.

Danny Williamson
Nov 2, 2008 16:02


Thanks for the great link. Not one I had personally seen before.

Any other great links on education 2.0 out there?

» The Affordance of Social Media in the Classroom Digital Literacy Centre
Jul 23, 2009 13:26

[...] and students called the Social Media Classroom and Collaboratory (HERE). The Wikinomics blog (here) posted by Danny Williamson describes it [...]

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