What place does social media have in the classroom?
What place does a teacher saying, "I don't know" have in the classroom?
What place does a teacher suggesting that we "ask the mob" to answer that unanswered question have in the classroom?
Welcome to "The SpaceFish Project"
Let's start here - with this Tweet from a class Twitter account at Colinton Primary School in Edinburgh, Scotland: "What would happen if you took a fish into space, would it float out of the water? Please help us with the answer because we don't know! (JG)6:53 AM Oct 8th from web" The teacher had allowed the children to crowdsource the issue. Put it "out there." See what they could discover.
It was quickly re-tweeted by someone in my network: "@tombarrett What would happen if you took a fish into space, would it float out of the water? Do you know of anyone that can help? (FB)7:12 AM Oct 8th from web in reply to tombarrett" and I and others attempted answers (mostly incorrect). But then I, intrigued, used a combination of my social networks to help find an answer.
I have an old friend who is a director at the New York Hall of Science. And we've worked on a few things together, and I've gotten to sort of know some of his staff - some of whom maintain the museum's public place on Twitter. So I re-sent this Tweet, linking it specifically to @nysci.
Very quickly we had answers, and links to the behavior of water (if not specifically fish) in zero gravity and in vacuums.
And soon we had the possibility of American scientists dropping - via web-video technology - into a tiny Scottish primary school to talk to the students about science and space.
Now, where would these students have been in the old days? Where would they have been if the teacher had dismissed this as "a silly question," or had attempted to answer it based on our typically limited knowledge of non-terrestrial sciences? Where would they have been if the teacher had been afraid to break through the walls of her classroom, and offer her students access to this century's knowledge web?
Well, they probably wouldn't be incredibly excited about science, space, or coming to school next week.
People ask me all the time if I'm "kidding" about wanting social networking tools in primary grades, and 1:1 computing, and mobile technologies. They simply can not imagine the value. In their primary classrooms the teachers talked, the kids listened, and this is what they know of education.
But at Colinton Primary School they have a better idea. And their kids are better off for it. What's going on in your kids' school?
- Ira Socol
- About Ira David Socol
- Freedom Stick and Firefox Accessibility
- The Change.Org Posts
- IdeaChat 11 February 2012
- Counting the Origins of Failure
- Technology: The Wrong Questions and the Right Questions
- Today's "School Reformers" vs Real Change for Education - I
- Today’s “School Reformers” vs Real Change for Education - II
- The Toolbelt and Universal Design - Education For Everyone
- "Evaluate that!" - Schools for Children