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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A very interesting discussion. Makes me think of these things that much better, deeper, fuller.

I agree with David - learning intentions, purpose and expectations for collaboration need to be explicit or the contributor's role in sharing and contributing isn't clear. If these things aren't clear, then how do I as a contributor add meaningful value?

I really believe that not only do we have to have teachers learning the way we expect their student's to learn BUT to insist and be explicit about what outcomes and expectations will happen. Send them into the "ocean " of Web 2.0 armed with a specific aim and purpose.

Also, I think we have to choose our tools and applications well. Too often, I was instructing about too much! Nowadays, I choose 1 or 2 tools and really focus on that. It is the experience that counts. I really think that is the way. Not too much and focus on quality and enjoyment and the experience... this will transfer into their own teaching much better than a lot of coursework that is just "get the project done"....



Thanks for the reply. I really think my students are also digital immigrants. Unfortunately, I think I'm becoming a bit cynical..... I don't think the tools or the methods or the hardware or the software or the etc., etc. really matter. I just think the majority of my students, (freshman and sophomores), are not yet able to see themselves as teachers or professionals. I think they still see themselves as students and just want to know what they need to do to get a good grade. Folks like you, more "mature" as you said, have your "eyes on the prize."

John, This has nothing to do with anything but I heard a snippet on NPR the other day about teachers being trained like doctors where all the schooling is on the job with mentors and master teachers. I went back into teaching after 12 of raising my own kids--i remembered nothing of my formal schooling but ended up being a good teacher and teaching for 25 years--a career I'm ending in May!! :) btw.
I heard that story too, but can't remember where it was taking place. Do you know? I teach in the College of Education at Kansas State University. I came from the public school classroom not too long ago, but that is exactly what worries me, losing touch! I work hard to put myself out in schools and do tons and tons of staff development, but it really concerns me.

Sadly, there are so darn many folks teaching in Colleges of Education preparing teachers that have been outta the k-12 classroom for many, many years and some at this level that only taught a year or two. In fact, at a previous university I taught, there is an instructor that is young, went straight through for a PHD, has never taught in at K-12 classroom and is now preparing elementary majors to teach math and science. It is a crime!! How to you teach someone something when you have no experience doing that!! Just makes me crazy!!!

And then on the other side of that coin, we have politicians telling us how to teach, what to teach etc. That would be like me telling a doctor how to do open heart surgery!!! We have to get it together for our kids sakes and our worlds future. OK, enough of my soapbox this morning.
Cyndi, Soapbox acknowledged. I, too, worry to about the future of education. As I mentioned in my previous post I'm retiring this year without seeing so many of the changes I would have expected over the last 25 years. BTW, I read your newsletter and am in Shawnee Mission--we're neighbors.
Cool, glad you like it. Just feel so darn helpless sometimes. we'll have meet up sometime and meet in person!!
Let me know if you want to hire me to do something for you after I retire. I've got 25 years of gifted-ed teaching experiece and 8 years of national tech presentation experience. Just make sure it is something I can do in my PJs!! My inlaws live in Manhattan so we have a real connection to KSU. N
Just moved here last year after my husband passed. Has been good for me. KSU is the most positive place to teach. I love it. But my Kids live in KC so I come there all the time!!
Manhattan is an easy place to live---
I've recently taken a big step back and looked at the overall picture of what and how I've been teaching educational technology. During the Spring and Fall 2009 semesters, I focused more detail on specific tools, but less detail on assignments. I've provided more options for students to work and learn. As a result, I've received richer, more in-depth projects from my students. But, I've also come to several conclusions over these past couple semesters....

First, I've come to the realization that, in my opinion, my pre-service teachers are not digital natives, especially when it comes to social networking. My assumption that they were was wrong. Second, most of my pre-service teachers seem to have very little interest in the concept of life-long learning. Using class time for them to "explore" new tools is usually a waste of time, as they don't explore, they Facebook. Third and possibly most important, I've come to the realization that my pre-service teachers are becoming digital immigrants and I have provided tasks for them that begin to light a small spark in their life-long learning ambitions. Finally, taking a look at the big picture has reminded me of what I should expect.

Thanks to all of you for your great replies and please forgive me for not following this thread for quite some time. There are a number of you that I would like to contact about specific collaborative opportunities.
I have come to the same realization, my pre-service teachers are not digital natives either. And you are correct, they don't have that interest in life long learning as you an I do. I find this so sad and disturbing. I have stopped giving time to explore as well and find myself leading them down the paths they need to go more and more. It does seem to catch some of them along the way, thank goodness and they do begin to "get it." But, wow, it is a rough road for sure and not nearly as many "get it" as need to. I would absolutely be interested in some collaboration, I have tried many different paths and am still not convinced the best route. I teach Technology for Teaching and Learning at Kansas State University. My main website is and there is a link to my course site (DED 318) by semester as well. My email is
I used to be a pre-service teacher, until I switched to communications (but still ended up working at a school, haha). One activity that might be a good starting point would be to create a list of the technology that they use, and then to take it a step further and contact a sibling, a cousin, a friend, etc. that is still in high school (at least one), and at least one from elementary school and ask them what technology they use and maybe have the "digital native" provide a definition or explanation on how to use it. I think that it is important, particularly for new teachers, to not be afraid to learn from their students. Right now I am heading up an iPod Touch program consisting of 13 teachers, some of which have been teaching for a very long time. Some of the frustration they are encountering has to do with their students knowing more about it than them. One even made the statement "students should NOT be teaching the teachers, the teacher needs to be in control of the classroom". While it is important for the teacher to be an authority, when it comes to technology (particularly in the future) they will not necessarily be the expert. Additionally, many times students are unaware of the many different ways they can use the technology that is already in their backpack. I think it is the teachers job to think out of the box, to be creative.

One fun activity I did many years back had to do with creative thinking. We were given an object and had to pass it around a circle and come up with one use each. I think that would be a great activity with technology - write down on a flash card a type of technology (wikis, for example) and have them pass it in a circle each one coming up with something. To keep in light and to open up the creativity, I would have it be a blue sky activity where they don't need to think about limitations and road blocks. You can also make it competitive and put them in competing circles and time the activity, whoever comes up with the most in a certain amount of time, wins. While this is happening have someone be the recorder and write down everything that was suggested and then share with the whole group. It also creates a great jumping off point for class discussion explaining why some applications would work, why some won't, how would you go about implementing, etc. Hope that helps.



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