If you know the Common Core Standards you know that “The need to conduct research and to produce and consume media is embedded into every aspect of today’s curriculum. In like fashion, research and media skills and understandings are embedded throughout the Standards rather than treated in a separate section.” Common Core Learning Standards for ELA & Literacy, Key Design Considerations
Innovative educators know that when used in the right way, social networks and other online technologies are great tools to conduct such research and gain knowledge. Not only do they leverage resources students already know and love, but they can also encourage learning in a way that is less restrictive and more open and natural. For example, collaboration in an online group creates relationships “in which people from often widely divergent cultures and who represent diverse experiences and perspectives learn and work together” as called for in the Common Core Standards.
Think of how access to personal learning networks created via places like Twitter, Facebook, and Google Hangout can expose students and teachers to “other perspectives and cultures through reading and listening, and they are able to communicate effectively with people of varied backgrounds.” Think about how these groups require members to “evaluate other points of view critically and constructively,” as is also called for in the Standards.
Unlike when we were in school, our students have access to the internet which has democratized the ability to access, evaluate, organize, and make meaning of what is found. With all this information however, comes a new issue: