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Should School Governors Be Pushing for Social Media in the Classroom?

Should School Governors Be Pushing for Social Media in the Classroom?

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This week’s Economist reports on a new school in New York where students will be taught largely through the use of computer games and digital media.

Quest to Learn, the new tax-payer funded school, has been labeled the “school for today’s digital kids.”

According to principal Aaron Schwartz it:

“… balances traditional academic needs with a belief that students today can and do learn in different ways, often through work with digital media, games, online networks, and mobile technologies. Kids today use digital media as part of their everyday interactions – their learning should too.”

‘Today’s digital kids’ have, by and large, grown up never having known a non-digital world. At the same time the tools that they use outside the classroom are almost exclusively off the menu inside the classroom.

Of course there are issues to be considered. Safety is one. Focus is another.

But the head in the sand approach is no longer tenable. The use of digital tools – including, but not limited to, social networking sites – is increasingly an essential business and life skill. To exclude these skills from the school curriculum is to potentially handicap our kids going forward.

It’s not likely that UK schools will be replacing teachers with Wiis and Playstations any time soon, but these are the kinds of conversations that need to be taking place.

What is your school’s approach? What do you think is stopping the use of new web technologies in schools?

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