Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Why is social media relevant to education?

This 17 minute (TED) presentation by Clay Shirky recorded at the State Department in D.C. last month seems a compelling explanation of why social media is relevant and important in the 21st century. If it is important to society than it should be relevant to teaching.

(You can also watch it with subtitles at the TED site.)

Shirky claims and supports that we are currently living during the "largest increase in expressive capability in human history".

He says social media makes the Internet the next media revolution because it's global, social, ubiquitous and cheap. The other four periods in the last 500 years that qualify as a "revolution" were during the creation of the printing press, telegraph and telephone, recorded media (other than print), and radio/tv broadcasting.

I also particularly like this quote from Shirky: "These tools don't get socially interesting until they get technologically boring." While he is specifically talking about social media, I think this generally applies to effective use of technology tools in education. It's not about the tools. It is about how they are used.

Thanks to Wesley Fryer for bringing this to my attention via his blog post.