Here’s a comment I made today on Scott McLeod’s progressive education blog, Dangerously Irrelevant. My response is to his question, “When will we view educators that opt out of the use of social media for professional learning as an aberration rather than the norm?”
As someone who embraces many social media technologies but who also considers himself an “old school” teacher, I think part of the problem is the ethos that’s intrinsic to many so-called connected educators.
Let me blunt: many of these educators and “education experts” are presumptuous to the point of arrogance. Just jump onto Twitter for a few minutes, and you are sure to find another homily about the magical qualities of technology and/or 21st century learning, and the failure/incompetence/fearfulness of those teachers who aren’t on the bandwagon.
I rarely see any credible evidence, and usually it consists of other “experts” who repeat the same philosophical beliefs. And, of course, the echo chamber gets so loud that evidence – including that which favours direct instruction [for example, see here, here, and here] – really becomes irrelevant.
I know many educators – secondary school educators I’ve directly helped onto Twitter and blogging – who go online for awhile, shake their heads at the insulting dismissal of their practices, and tune out. [I’m stubborn, however; I like being a gadfly.]
As Keith has said above, there are many great teachers in our system who do not use social media. Their excellence ought to be part of the conversation, but I’m afraid the echo chamber rarely allows for humility or the exploration of old truths.
Here are some of my previous education posts that you might find interesting: