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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Education & Social Media

School Room originally uploaded by Rob Shenk.
School Room by Rob ShenkHave you considered the educational ramifications of social media marketing and communication tools becoming fully adopted? [See "Blogs are now mainstream media."]

I hadn't - not really - until I came across this article about the UK school system titled Pupils to study Twitter and blogs in primary schools shake-up. It got my attention.

Imagine. Primary school students would need to learn about Wikipedia, Twitter, podcasts and blogs "as sources of information and forms of communication."

By formally exposing students early on to the tools of social media, they are better able to effectively incorporate them into the workplace later on. Makes sense especially since we know that the concepts of social media marketing and communication aren't going away.

For those on the opposite extreme of the education and social media spectrum, the solution has been learning-on-the-go as these examples illustrate: Mayo Clinic's Lee Aase, the DC Goodwill Fashion Blog, and IBM's Sandy Carter.

But, what about those not yet in the workforce, but beyond primary school? How do they become educated about social media?

PRWeek published in its August 2009 issue an article titled Lessons for the future: universities and social media which describes how universities are integrating social media into the education program, not just to facilitate collaboration and communication, but also to teach strategic skills making use of the tools. The range of concepts implemented is truly exciting.

The schools mentioned in the article include Auburn University, Georgetown University [where Rohit Bhargava teaches a course titled "Global Communications in the Age of Social Media"], Syracuse University's SI Newhouse School of Public Communications, Boston University, The University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communications, and Howard University.

The educators, though, come from the industry.

And, the overriding lesson has to do with learning how to apply the tools of social media marketing and communication strategically and practically.

What do you think? How are you becoming educated about social media? How do you teach those around you? How to you ensure that social media tools are implemented strategically?

Added 10/7/09:
Social media skills to to head of the class from PRWeek.

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  1. As someone that works in a school system at the administrator level, I found your blog fascinating. How do schools determine what age groups of children need to know about social media tools? As you said, we know they are not going anywhere, so perhaps starting them in the primary grades is a good idea. However, are we then glossing over those things like language arts and reading in favor of things like Twitter and Facebook, which seem to apply much more readily to today's "real world?"

    I myself am fairly new to the world of social media and do not have all the answers. I am just excited to see the conversations that are happening out there about what our future can look like!

  2. Heather, thanks for commenting on this post. You ask great questions. I found the UK article fascinating in the detail it offered; it seemed to want to blend the disciplines - altho perhaps that was simply being diplomatic?

    I'm interested to see how my daughter's schooling will integrate social media. So far - 2nd grade starts next week - nothing altho she knows I blog!

    Thanks again and welcome to this marvelous world!

  3. Great post, and thanks for the mention. The post I did today on creativity and education is related:

    Maybe if schools incorporated more social media training they wouldn't squelch so much creativity.

  4. Thanks, Lee, and also for the link to your post which looks fascinating!


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