Friday, October 2, 2009

Social Media: Participation in billions... except in schools?

This morning I had a chat with a teacher from Northern Vermont who explained that all social media access was banned at the school where they work. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, AllTop, Delicious. Run down the list and it was blocked. I was a bit surprised to hear that all blogs and wikis were blocked as well, but this one I'd never heard of before: The rationale was "some people here don't feel students should be able to access book reviews or view comments." I stopped asking what else was blocked.

I was asked how we approached/proposed changes to filtering practices here at BBA. I said the first step was to start talking about education and not about filtering.

After we finished our chat I took to the web for a few minutes to see what folks were publishing on 'social media in education' lately.

There are a bunch of 'Social Media Statistic' videos out there like the one below I found embedded in a post from UCLA from a Social Media and Marketing class. The participation statistics are staggering as usual. Give this a peek:

There's a slide in the video about Apple reaching 1 billion downloads in their App Store in just 9 months. One billion sales in 9 months! I remembered reading a few days ago in the NY Times that the Apple Apps Store (via iTunes) has just surpassed 2 billion downloads. The second billion took five months. We'll see how long it takes them to reach three billion.

Now, I'm not saying we should teach 'social media' in schools simply because of Apple's success.

What I am saying is that it'd be difficult to debate that we are not in one of the most collaborative times in the history of civilization. Participation in billions, revolutionary times in how we communicate. I can't count the number of times I've used this phrase on topics around technology: "Building skills using these tools seems a better way to go than 'denial of service' don't you think?"

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