Educating Twitta’

Student Twittucation.
Twitter is being used in many different ways. For business, news, and just plain fun, it has become the default sharing engine for many of us. We are able to create our own little information bubbles based in the topics we’re interested in, and tailor conversations around each of our points of preference.

But how are we preparing our next generation to harness this resource? In 2006, I started working with the Intel Education Foundation team showing teachers around the globe how to incorporate emerging technology into their classrooms. While developing ways to reinvent established pedagogy to include emerging and evolving advancements, I discovered Twitter. And Blogger. And a number of other services we now take for granted. 

It seems like every day there’s a launch of another resource which could make our education system better. As long as we use them. The highly motivated among us can gather Ph.D.-level knowledge and skills with nothing more than a Wi-Fi connection using tools like iTunes U and YouTube, and Codecademy.

Are these resources being incorporated into the de facto education systems we force onto our youth? The question is becoming more and more important as our unemployment rate remains at difficult levels while potential employers are desperate to fill skilled jobs. We need to make sure that we are creating workers for the next economy, not just creating students who can fulfill some politically motivated standardized testing quotas.

In a few weeks, NPR‘s “Tell Me More” will host a live forum in conjunction with member-station WLRN in Miami to talk about the state of education in the U.S. The broadcast, part of the compelling StateImpact project NPR has been producing, will air 10 October, but you can participate in the lead-up to the show right now on Twitter. Host Michel Martin has invited listeners to begin a conversation before the broadcast using the #NPRedchat hashtag. If you’re interested in participating, let them know now. 

We should all be doing more to make sure that we are building the right kind of education system for today’s students and tomorrow’s innovators. And in this election season, now is the time to make sure those who are responsible for implementing changes are hearing what we are saying. If you have thoughts, don’t remain silent. Our progress depends on your participation. 

Gather your ideas. Post them on Twitter. Share them with your friends, family, and elected officials. And we can talk about them more when I see you on the ‘morrow, on the Web.

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Author  Stephen R. Fox