There is a belief out there students are digital natives and most teachers/adults are digital immigrants. This belief suggests that use of devices especially in the areas of learning and communication comes naturally for all students. This belief generally assumes that all students know the proper use of the device in their hands and all the challenges and opportunities that come with it. I find that although students can texts and snap they do not really understand the power that is at their fingertips. Social Leadia delves into the positivity and potential that is available though social media. This medium should not just be an opportunity to talk about digital citizenship (which is important, but should not be a ‘ one and done’ deal though), but take the opportunity to lead on social media. Share learning, promote others, champion causes that they are passionate about – in short be the change. In order for this type of higher-level learning and social justice opportunities to take place, teachers need to embrace, model, and create the environment for this to take place. One topic I struggle with is the basic availability of cell phones for students. Is your device helping or distracting you? The book poses this question and one I have asked my own students many times. The skill of self-regulation is one that I have had whole class and individual discussions. I have not given in to the temptation of banning devices from my class. Many colleagues have banned devices, I have seen the distractions, and I have been frustrated with student choices, but I see the potential, I have seen some great use, and I know that this tool can redefine students learning, so my quest to help students self regulate and unlock the potential that a device can bring continues. Thus, I try to lead by example by have my own strong social media presence, create a trusting environment in my classroom, and encourage the use of social media and other apps to engage and empower student learning. One of my goals this school year will to create more opportunities for student to share work and thoughts on social media. I feel I owe it to my students to provide them with opportunity to grow, use social media as a powerful learning tool, and create positive experiences that will leave them with a positive digital tattoo. Social media like many technology advances is not going away and I feel we do students a disservice by not embrace the reality that is our world. We can embrace the change and the innovative opportunities that are available or ignore reality, stay status quo, and not provide students with the tools and skills necessary in today’s world and in the future.
Dean Vendramin. Educator for over 20 years. Currently Education Leader for Math/Science at Archbishop M.C. O'Neill Catholic High School. Have a passion for all things in education with emphasis on technology integration, assessment, professional development, and 21 Century Education. Posts are articles he has written for the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation monthly newsletter The Bulletin, Saskatchewan Math Teachers' Society The Variable, blog requests from memberships he is a part of, and his own thoughts.