Jeff Thomas Technology

Tech for Educators

Educational Conformity & Social Networking: Improving the Conversation – Synthesizing Education Blog

Posted by Jeffrey Thomas on January 17, 2010

Educators are beginning to see the value of social networking with emphasis on sites and platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Nings. This is all for the betterment of our practice, but we must also be mindful that conforming our ideas to those who we have discussions with is not always improving education or an effective use of these social platforms.

I notice a lot of this type of behavior in education circles on Twitter and blogs. Obviously, I am not advocating for us to kick and scream like five year olds when another individual’s beliefs don’t align with our own. What I am saying is that we need to hold strong to our deepest beliefs while searching for answers and maintaining an open mind that will make all of our ideas better. Rather than drawing a “line in the sand”, it makes more sense for us to engage in more conversation that hi lights the positives of both belief systems and then creates a comprehensive answer out of these positives through integrative thinking.

Allowing for our own belief system to be jeopardized in virtual environments does not improve the conversation or bring new ideas to the table. Altering ourselves completely to attract more followers or gain friends in social networking sites is detrimental to the very reason we have all come together. On the opposite side of the conformist mentality is that of which the individual will not bend at all or engage in conversation.

If you hold strong to a vision or belief, then consider the opposing side and attempt to relate your knowledge and research to his or hers. At some point, we all need to realize that being right is not based on the degree we have earned, years of experience, or books that we have read. Much of this comes with realizing that no one’s system is perfect. Educators who maintain a traditionalist mentality where students should sit in rows, be talked at, and lack any kind of engagement need to realize that they are antiquated and should move on with life to another profession. Futurists who think that technology is the savior of all problems in education and kids will learn simply by placing their hands on a machine and absorbing information through osmosis need to realize they are out of touch as well. Regardless of how these two groups feel about each other, it is important that we are all conversing and articulating our rationale for our belief system. In the end, our goal should be to improve education; not promote our individual belief system so we can claim victory.

P.S. Agreeing with me on this post does not label you as a “conformist”. Does it?

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Exellent article about how best to use social networking. Some great thoughts here!

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