One of the things that I love about the teaching and learning with technology track is how it has challenged so many of my prior notions on the use of social media in learning. It was not as though I could not see any benefit of its use, but rather that much of what I have been exposed to previously and/or much of my personal impressions of the use of social media up to this point have been less than positive. To say the least, I wasn’t a big fan. I’m beginning to change my mind.
It is not as though social media in and of itself is negative, but rather that the medium has the potential to be used in ways that foster and enhance learning or in ways which impede and devalue learning. It is becoming more and more apparent that one of the great challenges for adult educators is teaching adult learners how to utilize the features and applications of social media in ways which promote their personal learning and enhance and contribute to that of others.
James Levine, the famous American Maestro, is credited with saying, “Everybody blames the culture without taking responsibility.” As I read this quote, it dawned on me how relevant it was to my attitudes on social media. I can sit back and criticize what sometimes appears as a trivial and inappropriate use of digital media or I can take responsibility for learning more about the possibilities of utilizing the medium of social media in more positive ways. Instead of focusing on the liabilities, I can choose to look for the possibilities of creating a culture that is truly collaborative, enriching and rewarding.