In my introduction post, I mentioned some social networking issues I'm having as an education professor and was intrigued and excited by the responses. It was suggested by Anne, that I create a New Discussion about the topic, so here goes...

I'm a college professor that teaches future teachers how to integrate technology. For a couple years, I've been teaching my students the awesome world of Blogs, Wikis, and other 2.0-related technologies, not just how to use them, but how to integrate them effectively as a teacher. However, even though they are digital natives of social networking, my students don't seem to recognize the educational implications. They don't see it, and the effective integration typically has never been modeled for them, (and I'm pretty sure I'm not helping very much). In addition, trying to take "I'm a student" thinking individuals and convert them into "I'm a teacher" thinking individuals in regards to social networking in education has been a battle that I seem to lose more often than I win.

Having said that, I'm looking for ways, places, sites, etc., that can lead me to better, more effective methods of teaching future teachers how to integrate social networking. I'm looking for ways to, at the very least, model the effective uses. This site, along with Ning in Education and others, may just be the place, the way, the site, for which I've been searching.

What do you think about pre-service teachers' skills and knowledge regarding social networking, as well as pre-service education on the same topic? I would love to read your comments, suggestions, and experiences.

 ~ John

Tags: pd, pedagogy, socialnetworking

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Hi John,
Just read your post, and I am sort of in the same boat, except in my case its teaching teachers how to integrate technology into various subject and grade levels. I am a visual and "learn by doing" type of person. For Workshops and PD with teachers I follow this same motto. I find that teachers have to be given time to experiment, to do themselves, what they hear someone else doing, and then assigned a mentor to help them, as they start these projects in their classrooms. And I agree, its difficult for students to place themselves in the position as teachers.. and I have found out throughout the years, that the reverse is also true.. teachers don't find it easy to slip back into a "student chair" especially when time is an important factor in their learning curve. So, again "Learn by Doing" would be my suggestion. Hope you were able to make some sense of my ramblings..
aledou, thanks very much for the reply! You definitely weren't rambling... or at least, I understood it completely. "I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand." This proverb has always been my motto. I've done a lot of teacher workshops as well as the undergraduate courses, and you hit the nail on the head... students have troubles thinking like teachers, and teachers have troubles thinking like teachers.

Thanks! ~ John
I am "you" at Kansas State University and also teach one class for another small university (Fort Hays State). I experience the same as you. Pre-service teachers for the most part don't get it. They do not see how things we are doing are going to impact their career. I have been using Ning in my courses for about 4 semesters now and like everything, some semesters are better than others. Here is the link for this semester. It is just the beginning and grows through the semester. Teachers from the Trenches join with my students into the discussions. The Teachers from the Trenches add the real meat and guts to the discussions.So feel free to join in and hove your students do the same. The more the better. Right now, just my FHSU students are participating, I have not introduced into my class at Kansas State yet, but will be doing so shortly.

I do find that at the end of the semester my students do admit they really learned from the experience, but it sure takes them a while. I would love to talk with you about your course, maybe we can collaborate on a project.
Thanks so much for the response, Cyndi! I did not see a link in your reply, but I love your "Teachers from the Trenches" idea. How great! As discussed in adelou's response, you may have a great way to get the student and teachers thinking about each others' roles.

I've done a lot of blogging, wikiing, and the like with my students and they too, state they learned alot. But I still don't think they "get it." However, most of my students are sophomores, so they are still closer to high school than a profession.

Thanks again and collaboration would be awesome! ~ John
KInd of amazing how many of us are trying to do the same thing and experience the same frustrations!!

Here is the link:
There was a good discussion last year at Classroom 2.0 on Digital Natives. You might want to read some of the comments, a lot of people had a lot to say. When teachers, admins and IT people talk about how tech savvy kids are today, in many cases I have to disagree. I think they do what they do well--IM, text, uploading videos to YouTube, download music to ipods, video games, etc. but many don't have some of the basics---they don't know how to type a paragraph, research on the Internet, cite sources, discern what is real online and what isn't. Could it be that part of the preservice problem? Could you be expecting what kids use outside school to be percieved as technology? Alan Kay’s definition of technology is “anything that was invented after you were born”. Maybe a paradigm shift is in order for the young kids?
Well it took me a couple hours to read the Digital Natives discussion, but what a great discussion. I would agree with you that many assume the younger generation is tech savvy, but many are not. The definition of technology that you quoted is very interesting, something I had not heard before. I don't think though, that social networking is something that has been around since before they were born. But I do think that it is a primary source of communication, so preservice teachers may not see it is a way to learn or teach.

Now, after thinking about this a bit.... when I was younger, it was common for me to sit in my room and talk with friends on the phone. If my college professor had tried to get me to learn by integrating the phone into my future career, I'd thought he was nuts.

Thanks for your comments.... please keep 'em coming!
~ John
I agree that some of these technologies are new to all of us but they are so integrated into teens' social lives they don't see them as "technology"! I do not teach in a regular classroom, I teach in a program for gifted students (top 1%) but I know from others in my building that there are lots of roadblocks for integrating technology in the elementary classroom--scripted reading and math programs, high stakes testing, NCLB, etc. It takes an exceptional teacher to play the elementary teaching game and integrate technology well.

Here's an example: The 6th grade reading curriculum demands that you teach text structures (they are on the state assessment) --- you'd love to encourage your high ability readers to read Huck Finn and record their finding in a class wiki but you have to make sure they understand text structures . You have no curriculum for the Huck Finn idea. Which is easier and the best use of your time? I might choose having everybody read along in the basal, too. I fight the same battles everyday trying to get teachers to differentiate for high ability kids, it takes a really skilled teacher to do it all.
Hi John,

I am in a similar position at the University of Rhode Island. I teach a freshman Intro to Education class and the senior methods block in secondary Science Education. Most of the assignments in both classes call for students to produce pages that populate our class wiki. My experience is consistent with what you've described: (1) Many of my seniors have difficulty thinking of themselves as teachers and (2) though they acknowledge that our class wiki is a useful resource, many of them do not see why they would use similar technologies with their students.

I am also interested in the possibilities of social networking, though I have not used Ning (or even Facebook) with my students. Instead, we communicate face to face, through a Google group, and through the class wiki. One reason that I started using a class wiki is that is afforded deeper collaboration and made all my students' work more meaningful. What functions do you see for your Ning site that justify using it instead of other communication solutions.?
Hi Jay,

Thanks for the response. In the next couple years, we are moving our technology course into the senior block. I am hoping that they will have less difficulty seeing the application of tech in their profession. Your experience doesn't sound like they do... :-(

I do not currently have a Ning site for my students, but joined here to learn more as to how to take advantage.

~ John
It is very interesting. We use our class wiki extensively throughout the year, and I require them to set up a wiki for their classes during their student teaching in the spring. (They can decide to what extent they actually use their wiki with their students, but I require them to post a brief agenda for each week's teaching.)

By the end of last year, my students valued the class wiki (according to the course evals), but as best I can tell, only two of the ten are using a wiki with their classes this year.

It maybe that during their first year, an online presence is too much to deal with.

- Jay

I have a Ning site for my Pre-service class, using it as a way to connect "Teachers from the Trenches" to my pre-service students. This is the 5th semester I have done this and it is very powerful as the semester moves along.

Come join in our discussions and feel free to invite your students into them as well.



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