Saturday, June 06, 2009

Best Practices Make Best Perfect

The question of what constitutes "best practices" is addressed in terms of respecting copyright law in the video above from the Center for Social Media, but there are many other areas in Internet culture that the conventions about proper digital conduct may be similarly perceived to be unclear.

For example, recently I joined the group about Faculty Ethics on Facebook, which is trying to develop guidelines about appropriate behavior for faculty members on Facebook. As someone who teaches a course on digital rhetoric, I'm not sure that course tools from my university are always the best option for exploring subject matter related to social media. Jenna McWilliams has also suggested some tweaks to address the fact that it can be difficult to provide effective instruction without using the actual channels for communication in conjunction with the classroom experience.

The impulse driving guideline #1 is a valid one. It is, as Lynn Sykes, a teacher and friend, pointed out to me, a great big social networking world out there, and the minute we introduce social media into the classroom we also introduce the risk that learners will stumble upon material that is inappropriate for the classroom setting.

But ignoring this risk doesn't make it go away; indeed, it leaves many students ill-equipped to make intelligent decisions about what to do when they encounter this kind of material in real life, as they are certain to do. Learners who have access to social media and adult support for reflecting on their engagement with it in their homes will be prepared, of course. It's the learners with less access and less extracurricular support--in other words, the poor, the disadvantaged, the learners who have historically been left behind in school, in work, in life--who can most benefit from the experience of engaging with social media in the classroom.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home