Social Media in the classroom
It is a fact that today’s students are virtually anywhere, at any time 24/7 a week. Their new ‘playground’ consists of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat. With the risk of cyberbullying, sexting, identity theft, I can understand that parents and teachers are reluctant to include social media in the classrooms.
I think that it is important to understand that social media are part of everyday life and that teachers need to teach students how to navigate and to use them for their advantage. Equally important is to take into consideration that social media can either enhance students’ engagement in class or can just be another distraction.
Similarly, it is utterly important that teachers teach students how to be responsible digital citizens and have an understanding of some of the risks of sharing personal information online.
However, I believe that if teachers model good digital citizenship and students know ‘best practice’ and how to use Social Media responsibly, it can enhance any learning experiences. Depending on the platform teachers are using, it will enable them to set up a classroom account and have students upload their projects that they can share for peer review or tweet about a certain subject that they would otherwise hand in as a word document.
Quite often students will be more engaged in the learning process, be more creative and interact with their peers differently than they would in the classroom. I think that in the near future, Social media will be an integrated part of the classroom just as language apps and YouTube are now.
Digital Citizenship and why should I care?
Students relate to each other via social networks, mobile applications or chatrooms like never before. All these platforms rely on public or private networks that move personal data and are accessible to everyone. And thus, personal data is easily shared and readily accessible to online predators, bullies, marked researchers, employers, friends and family and anyone who has an interest in learning more about you.
Because of this vulnerability, it seems to me evident that educators need to emphasize the ‘Ethics’ of digital citizenship and provide students with clear ‘best practices’ when working online or sharing personal data on social media. In essence, Digital Citizenship is teaching how to use technology responsibly, understand digital literacy, cyberbully prevention, online safety, and digital health & wellness.
With Social Media being more and more used in the classroom and integrated into the learning process, I think that teaching about Digital citizenship will be equally important as teaching students traffic rules.
Exciting times ahead in the coding world
The idea of teaching coding at schools has gained over the past 10 years, and countries like the UK have made coding mandatory from K-8.
There has been a new trend in terma of web browsers and according to Kas Perch, a developer at CloudFlare and robotics author, Web Assembly the next AJAX for all browsers, it is the future. WebAssembly is a compilation target for other languages to compile to such as C/C++, Go, C#, Rust or even GoLoang.
Coding trends in educations lean to be more ‘project lead’ focused, in such that the content is project-based and are real-world applications. There is a high emphasis on communication and collaboration that was never before. New programming platforms are emerging that are much more user-friendly, visual and have select and drop features. To sum it up, the trend for including coding in the classroom has been growing over the past 5 years and students learn computational thinking and coding practices from early as Kindergarten to grade 12.