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Is This The Right Room For An Argument?

March 25, 2008

Learn2.0I had a really unpleasant experience recently when I was called on to defend Learning2.0 in the face of some very harsh and flawed criticism. Whilst my protagonists had some good points, they were also profoundly lacking in knowledge of the read/write web and its potential…

I only wish I’d known about Marshall Kirkpatrick’s January article about objections and responses to Social Media Adoption as he makes a very persuasive case for why the tools are worth investing time and effort into them. Admittedly, he is looking at them from a business point of view, but the points he discusses are equally as relevant in the field of education. I was especially taken with his fourth point:

4. Our customers ‘pupils/students/teachers’ don’t use this stuff, the learning curve limits its usefulness to geeks.

Possible replies:

You might be surprised to learn how many of your customers ‘pupils/students/teachers’ do already use these new tools. Even more will do so in the future.

The best designed tools are designed like good games – you can get small rewards right away and then learn more advanced skills to win bigger rewards. Among online services that are intended for general audiences, only poorly designed ones are too geeky.

Many of these tools provide value vastly disproportionate to the literal number of people they reach. These are like high-value focus groups where you’ll gather information and preparation to engage with the rest of the world.

As I have done above, by replacing the word ‘customers’ with pupils/students/teachers as necessary, we get right into the education debate. The problem we have is convincing others that the tools are worth pursuing, but Kirkpatrick correctly points out that ‘Some of these things, RSS and wikis for example, aren’t passing social fads – they are emerging best practices and the state of the art.’ (My emphasis) Isn’t this what it’s all about? Sharing best practice and modeling cutting-edge solutions?

If you want some points to make to your colleagues and managers, you could do worse than read and adapt Kirkpatrick’s article. Well worth the time it takes to read it…

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Marshall Kirkpatrick permalink
    March 26, 2008 12:21 am

    Thanks! Glad you liked it! Very glad to hear it could come in handy.

  2. March 26, 2008 9:45 am

    Marshall, thanks for looking in!
    At times, Education seems to be even further behind than industry when it comes to adopting social networking tools, though there is a growing number of educators who see the potential… all of which is, of course, irrelevant because the pupils are using the tools anyway. The question we need to be asking is whether we can afford (on any level) to leave them to it without any guidance or advice from ourselves…

  3. March 26, 2008 3:55 pm

    I’m curious, Neil (read: nosey!) – were your protagonists teachers or a different species?

  4. April 2, 2008 9:04 am

    I had a similar experience yesterday. Somebody criticised Glow for being too similar an idea to Bebo. He wanted to keep such things out of his school. The idea that this was already a popular tool for children and we should try and harness it for education was lost.

    Social Networking is not a fad and is here to stay, although I do see Bebo etc evolving and changing with time.

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