Another dot in the blogosphere?

Oo, you’ve got to be kidding!

Posted on: May 27, 2011

I’ve borrowed that phrase from this tweet:

My reply to that tweet was it was doubly wry because I interpret the “Oo” to be a reference to a local journalist’s surname and “kidding” a reference to his child-rearing.

What am I talking about?

In the 25 May issue of Digital Life, Oo Gin Lee critiqued Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement that those under 13 should be able to legally get a Facebook account in the name of education. Gin Lee did not see the point of using Facebook in education (see excerpt below).

I am not here to argue whether Zuckerberg was being altruistic or if this was a shrewd business move.

I will say that Gin Lee is an “ultra-conservative fuddy duddy dad”, but he is entitled to be that if he practiced that as man of his house. And only in his house.

But he is also a journalist and he has a very broad platform from which to project his opinions. Opinions that the layperson might not distinguish from fact. He is a writer of all things tech and I thought he should know better.

Or should he?

Maybe Gin Lee has a point: That is how a layperson (or even a teacher) imagines how Facebook might be used in education. They bring their own personal experiences like posting mundane comments to their walls as something that will also happen in an educational context.

I see some teachers using Edmodo (education’s equivalent of Facebook) like an LMS. Why? Content delivery or following the rigid structure imposed by an LMS is what they know and transfer.

Gin Lee also opted to block Facebook for the reasons he mentioned in his article. Why stop there? Block Google and YouTube too if the point is to shield little eyes and ears.

But doing that is taking the easy way out. It is also myopic. You lose teaching moments like learning how to analyze and evaluate information you come across. You lose opportunities to model and pass on positive values. You can’t stop a child from growing up and you can’t stop them from learning how to circumvent your barriers.

Some newspapers thrive on controversy to sell their rags. Where there is none, they create it; where there is little, they stir things up. This article certainly got me thinking.

But I wish that more of them would not just publish what people want to hear but also what they need to hear. Don’t just reinforce ideas that Facebook is just for social leisure. Try to educate the masses on how it might be leveraged on for social learning. That would be an article worth reading and a paper worth buying!

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