The web of interconnectivity that we and our students live in today offers incredible opportunities … and poses what sometimes seem to be intractable challenges. Following on last issue’s theme of mobile learning and how it increases the very same ubiquitous interconnectivity we’re talking about, in this issue we look at the social, sharing aspects of this phenomenon. How can social media aid and abet learning? How can we be sure it is facilitating and furthering learning, not distracting from it or derailing it?
Our main feature is, for us, a discovery rather than a creation. Creating a Safe Social Learning Environment to Improve Student Success (page 8) is a previously published piece from the staff at Schoolwires, a company focused on tools and services for building and enabling entire K–12 communities. When we discovered it, it so closely fit what we were hoping to have a writer create that we sought, and received, permission to republish it rather than reinvent the wheel. We’re pleased to give the piece further distribution through the Internet@Schools magazine and website. Reading its well-reasoned, thorough overview on using social learning environments will be a welcome exercise in discovery.
The social media platforms we all know and use in everyday life have been adapted for and adopted by education, of course. Victor Rivero takes a look at some excellent examples from services such as Skype, LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook, and more in his Tools for Learning article, Meaningful Connections: What’s New in the Social Media Sphere? (page 14). Learn, for example, about LinkedIn’s University Pages, YouTube for Schools, and Skype in the classroom. Sure, there are potential pitfalls, but as Victor notes, “Social media in education certainly has its problems on the student level, but it’s not going away. So why not use it to confront the future of learning and education on an educator level?”
And for more specifics on Skype in the classroom, Charlie Doe has it covered in depth. Check out the reviews section of this issue starting on page 28.
Internet@Schools in 2014!
Here’s a quick heads up, by the way, of our developing plans for Internet@Schools next year. In a nutshell, we’ve decided to bundle it with publisher Information Today, Inc.’s Computers in Libraries magazine. More to come on this next time, but know that, starting next January, subscribers will be getting Internet@Schools’ K–12-focused ed tech content and CIL magazine’s complete coverage of library information technology. A grand bargain!