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    Education pioneers in the US embrace Social Media in Schools – Putting the brakes on wagging and flying the pro-online communication flag.

    Sam Mutimer

    As a child born smack bang in the middle of the Generation Y demographic (born between 1979 and 1990) I am rather lucky to have experienced life BI (Before Internet) and AI (After Internet). I remember only calling people at home and loving myself stupid playing “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiago?” on a PC the size of a tiny horse. I remember gasping in amazement at my friends’ awesome analog Ericson mobile phone – which was so heavy you had to hold it in 2 hands. Then everything changed when this Internet business came onto the world stage.
    At high school I remember we were encouraged to cart around our very own Toshiba laptop to classes, (which weighed similar to Encyclopedia Britannica or a slab of Corona) although heavy, these new contraptions were terribly exciting. Once the students had figured out the awesome online power of chatrooms and MSN, I could talk to my friends in the same room without actually talking to them whilst in English class. This was outstanding success for us but when the school caught on to this online gasbagging our Internet access was removed as fast as you can say, “mousepad”.
    This was before Facebook, Myspace, Blogging and the worldwide movement of “Social Media” but the fact is that students just want to be in a group with their mates whether it be online or offline. What do you imagine would happen if you were allowed to do both – At school???
    Well my friends, this leads to me to reveal the topic of this week’s blog – A startling revelation that there are schools in the States that are beginning to embrace and encourage students to utilize Social Media within their educational curriculum. Gasp!
    Their message is Social Media encourages student collaboration and importantly communication. Upon research into several articles there are a handful of influential teachers that have created web-based blog platforms thus creating a social media community within the school. Students then post their assignments, blog videos, creative writing, and opinion essays that are public to the class, and allow their peers to post comments and create discussions about the topic. These platforms are monitored by teachers however encourage group discussion, collaboration and education SOCIALLY. These are examples are free: http://kidblog.org/home.php and http://www.edmodo.com/ and super easy to use. These secure social networks are:

    1. Secure and trusted environments
    2. Social learning for Classrooms
    3. Platform to share ideas, files and assignments
    4. Allows mobile phone access and messaging

    Gone are the days of writing an assignment on a piece of paper and handing it in to the teacher, but be aware that “The dog ate my MacBook” doesn’t really float either.
    Some schools are even making a note of students mobile numbers to send reminder texts to chronically tardy students reminding them to get up and come to school, amazingly these “Texts on Time” improved chronic absenteeism by about 35%. “Well Goodmorning Miss Pringle this is your principal – I know you are thinking of wagging, don’t even think about it and get your lazy backside to school, NOW” – um yep I think I have had that nightmare…
    When you encourage students to communicate online and share a community the results are increasingly positive. I think this is a very exciting time for the education system and I only hope that it is embraced here in Australia.
    So Thinktank developed a internal social networking platform called CommunicateHQ (an Intranet if that makes you feel more secure) that can be accessed by teachers, students, parents– all class notes, assignments, videos of classes can be available, if students are ill, or need a little extra help all of this will be available with the click of a button.
    CommunicateHQ … Connect, Share, Collaborate.

    CommunicateHQ is thinktank media‘s ground-breaking answer to internal communication using the powerful & infectious method of delivery that is Social Media.

    What is CommunicateHQ?
    Its everything you need in the one simple online environment

    Front End Website with full Content Management System
    A powerful yet secure front end website system which allows you to create and edit content quickly, secure login facility for students, teachers or other users , calendar & events system, file storing, Assignment and Topic forums, shopping cart system for your textbooks & more.

    Powerful Intranet System where the sky is the limit!
    This is where it gets mind blowing – CommunicateHQ is an internal communication platform that can do absolutely everything that you would ever need a from an intranet, however where it is different is it a fully functional internal Social Media Platform.
    I believe this is an excellent grounding and should be compulsory for preparing students for University and their paths after high school.
    Interested in hearing more about what Thinktank can do? Hit us up @thinktankmedia
    Happy Monday y’all
    @CazPringle
    I found my info here folks:
    http://mashable.com/2010/09/29/social-media-in-school/
    http://kidblog.org/home.php
    http://www.edmodo.com/