My Own Social Media Experiment
Yes, we all know Marc Prensky’s argument about Digital Natives vs. Digital Immigrants. And, yes, most would agree our students are good with computers to a degree. When it comes to FaceBook, guaranteed a student can teach you something about it you don’t know. Be sure to pay particular attention to Vicki Davis’s FaceBook Friending 101 for Schools. If you are a teacher, you NEED to understand this.
But, did you ever notice what happens when you try and introduce a tool or a technology concept for productivity & creativity? Sometimes, students push back. They don’t always understand how the tools can actually be educational and fun at the same time. At least, this is my experience. Reading and participating in a discussion on David Truss’s An Authentic Audience Matters prompted me to write this post because my students always respond better when they know there will be an audience beyond just me.
Sometimes, it is difficult to get students (or anyone, for that matter, but I’ll stick with students because that is what I know best) started in learning how to truly immerse themselves in the social aspects of technology. Technology truly does need to be as invisible as the air we breathe and it can be. So, here’s what I did. I started small. We recently rolled out Google Apps for Education school-wide. I set up a Google Group for my class.
Three weeks ago, I sent a message to all of my students via the Google Group that said, “Anyone who responds to this message and explains one thing discussed in class today gets five bonus points.” Of my roughly ninety students in this course, I got about seven responses. It should be noted, the Google Group message was sent out late on Friday evening that weekend and students had until Monday morning, before school, to respond.
I sent a message to my students via our Google Group around 8:00PM on Sunday night. This message said, “Need any more bonus? Respond to this message for two points. If you tweet it, text it, call your friends, post as you FaceBook status, and another student mentions they got word from you, you get FIVE points.”
Guess what? By 11:00PM on Sunday night, I gave out bonus points to over THIRTY of the ninety students. By 8:00AM today, I gave out bonus to an additional eighteen students. In just changing one thing I did, I just reached nearly half of my students. I could have said, “the first ten students to respond will get bonus,” in order to foster competition. But, I tried a bit of that several weeks ago. In Heidi’s words, “Competition 0, Collaboration 1.”