Thursday, December 15, 2011

Getting Social: My presentation to 9th grade students

I'm grateful for a job that gives me the opportunity to talk to young adults about social media and it's importance to their futures. Most of the talk in schools that I have seen primarily focus on the 'fear factor' and telling students what they shouldn't do. I wanted to talk solely about the positive possibilities of social media with the intention of opening up students' minds about the tremendous benefits of using social media effectively.

For this talk, I used CPS systems to anonymously poll members of each class. The slides with the tan background and black text are the questions for the 'clickers.'

The interactive nature of the talk gave me some interesting insights into the students thinking. Here are a couple of things I learned:
  1. Students have a fairly low regard for expert opinions. They had a strong preference for getting information from Google or people they know, but seemed completely disinclined to seek out an expert in a field. I will certainly follow up on this when presenting on sources and credibility of information!
  2. In one class only 1 of 20 students reported writing for their own blog, while in the others the percentage of bloggers was right at 50%. The class with only one blogger was also the least engaged and receptive to my message. To me this suggests that teaching social media in itself would be ineffective without addressing the students' writing abilities and confidence in their communication skills. 
I hope others can benefit from my experience and would love to here from other educators that are presenting or wish to present a positive message regarding social media to teenagers.

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