Teachers all over America are faced with this challenge of keeping students engaged in the classroom when their world outside of school is one of constant engagement and stimulation. Knowing the world outside of our institutional walls is only one step in addressing modern learning styles. How to act and adjust schools today is the next step in making the classroom of today ready for tomorrow.
That we have evolved our favorite forms of communication is obvious without more than simply watching our students walk through the hallways. It would be easy to demonize social media and each medium that it provides for human interaction. But it would be educationally valuable to embrace it, turning it into an opportunity for our students to develop an appreciation for the advanced cognitive skills they employ on a daily basis. Why not study the highly visual communication models connecting the thoughts that mean the most to them with the social networks where they live their lives?
danah boyd (she doesn’t capitalize her name) is a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research and a Fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center, where she looks at how young people use social media as part of their everyday lives. She has a new book out called It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens, and she’s made it available as a free PDF. On her website she writes, “I didn’t write this book to make money. I wrote this book to reach as wide of an audience as I possibly could.