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Time To Practice What We Preach

At the recent Tweetup at ISTE 2012, I had the opportunity to meet with the faces behind the minds I interact with throughout the year. With smiles and hugs abounding, those in attendance didn’t miss a beat in picking up conversations face-toface that had begun online.

Those that use social media for learning understand the power of connections and attachments made possible by the platform. Unfortunately, many of us work in schools and districts that have administrators and policy makers ignorant about how to use these platforms—making rules, policies, and guidelines that keep students stuck in the past.

They shake their heads, lamenting that allowing these tools will result in the inability of today’s youth to engage appropriately in face-to-face interactions. Of course, when you scratch just below the surface, the flawed logic is crystal clear. Did phone calls or letter writing weaken our ability to communicate face-to-face? No! Are folks making deeply meaningful connections using social media? Yes! Is social media necessary for success if you want to run a business, run for office, or change how things are run? Yes!

So, if adults are powerfully engaging in these worlds, but young people are banned from doing the same, whose to blame when students are not communicating at the level expected by adults?