History Can Wait

Recently, I heard a case for allowing students to use social networks such as Twitter and Facebook in the classroom. The claim is history can be shown being made in real time by those involved. While the argument is a good one, I am not convinced it justifies allowing students to use popular social networks in school. 

A better solution is to allow teachers to use  Facebook or Twitter, which I believe is a better solution, to search for the information then show it to the students. This gives teachers time to prepare for discussions and filter out anything that should not be seen or heard. For those who still believe students should see the information on their own, post a link or RSS feed into a learning social network such as Edmodo or Schoology.  Again, this the teacher better control over what the student sees. 

The recent wave of anti-government protests that have swept across northern Africa are a great opportunity for students to see events unfold in real time though social network postings. However,  teachers should be cautious in how these postings should be used. There are still many administrators and parents who would not be wild about the idea of students being allowed to Tweet or Facebook at school. In my own experience, I would spend lots of time discipling students instead of teaching if they were allowed to go on Facebook by their own admission. Great teachable moments still need some measure of planning and control. With this planning and control the educational experience will be better for everyone involved. 

A Three-Nook Family

Nook Colorphoto © 2010 þä½ | more info (via: Wylio)
I have to say Santa was good to my family this year. I got my usual coal but with gas prices being what they are my annual present could be valuable. The only odd thing is that for the first time in family history both my wife and son wanted the same thing for Christmas: the Nook Color. Now I have been an original Nook user since February and I love it. However, the other two members of my family always turned their noses up whenever I asked them if they would like a Nook for themselves. Guess they were waiting for something better to come along like the iPad.

The latest Nook adventure started when my wife asked for an iPad. She belived a tablet would help her as she surfed the Internet and check-in Facebook more often (something her family and friends have been on her case about). I asked her what she exactly wanted to do with a tablet. "Surf the Internet and read books" she replied. I told her there was another device we should look at, the Nook Color. When we went to our local Barnes & Noble a sales person gave my spouse a demonstration of Barnes & Nobles' latest e-Reader and what it could do. After the demonstration my wife turns to me and says I want one. Now! We make the purchase and go home.

When we arrive our son asks to look at the new reader. He had seen one before and knew what it could do. He ran off with it to his room. A couple if days later I asked my wife how she liked her Nook Color. "I love it, if I ever get my hands on it" she told me. Apparently a struggle over who got to use the new device developed between mother and son.

A few days before Christmas my son issued his latest Christmas wish list. At the top was a Nook Color. Arrangements were made with Santa for a Christmas Eve delivery. My son likes to have his Nook Color close by in case he needs to look something up quickly while doing homework or so he says. My wife finds the reading experience enjoyable. As for me, I am enjoying peace back in our house. We are all eagerly awaiting to see how Barnes & Noble will develop their new device in the coming year. Perhaps we will become a three-Nook Color family in the future.