Education, Meet Social Networking

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There was a time, not long ago, when having a cell phone on campus could land you in detention, or worse.

Now EdWeek reports that in some schools, students are texting their teachers, getting Tweets from the principal or logging onto social networking sites like Facebook and NING for homework and—shudder the thought— even in class.

And of course, kids love it. Not surprisingly, they are highly engaged. Perhaps surprising to some, they are learning quite a bit. And what they are learning may be highly relevant to the evolving work places students will be entering in the coming decades.

In Teaching with the Internet K-12: New Literacies for New Times, Leu, Leu and Coiro argue that the ability to access and use technology is a literacy.

Like reading and writing, technological literacy is a mental tool that transcends topics. As with traditional literacy, mental processes like identifying, navigating, evaluating, synthesizing and communicating allow people to to learn about the wider world around us. The texts have grown to include not only pencil, paper and printed materials but also hardware, software and (in this moment) the internet.

Teaching with the Internet K-12: New Literacies for New Times is replete with useful internet resources, classroom case studies and examples of best practices for using technology. The literacy perspective, which they call New Literacy Perspective, is a useful framework for educators as they think about incorporating technology and teaching technological literacy across the disciplines in schools and classrooms.

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