Andrew Trotter, a Washington, D.C.-based freelance writer, who has covered education and technology issues for more than 20 years, is guest blogger today, writing about his recent trip to the Consortium on School Networking. A major focus of the conference was how social networking tools like Twitter, Facebook, blogging, podcasting, Wikipedia, open content, curriculum wikis, online video games, and smartphones fit together with the traditional school staples of assessment, curriculum, student privacy and safety, budgets, and so on. You can read Andrew’s entire article here, but below is a synopsis of his comments:
The international symposium made clear that the role of social networking in education is a topic of concern among educators from around the world.
According to one panelist, Stephen Breslin, chief executive of Futurelab, a nonprofit group based in Bristol, U.K. that supports innovation in education, schools aren’t typically good at preparing students for three skills that are vital in today’s workplace: the power of conversation, the power of groups, and the power of the network. Schools are ill-equipped to teach those things because they are geared for assessing students individually.
Like other speakers, Breslin acknowledged dangers to children posed by Web 2.0, but believes educators should not be paralyzed by fears. People are responding to Web 2.0, just as to earlier digital innovations, “polarized between panic and blind digital faith.” He added, “The answer is balanced in between.”