1. I want to take issue with the student’s statement in your graphic in this post!!! Many students, if they had their way, would see the alternative to drowning as having someone TEACH them how to swim.

    Think about that: TEACHING someone how to swim… Taken literally, I hope you’ll agree the likelihood of someone knowing how to swim by being taught is small. That teaching might likely involve the learning of the arm, leg, body movements to stay at the water surface and move forward; it very likely would involve watching videos or watching in person others swimming; and possibly other information delivery. I maintain the probably of the learner going to a pool and being able to swim is pretty small!!!

    A few students would decide that they can ‘teach themselves’ how to swim in order to enjoy the water without drowning. The chances of them learning to swim well – to be able to save another kid who’s about to drown for example – is not that great however. And becoming an increasingly better swimmer without feedback is not great either.

    Ah, but how about this: Suppose a swimming instructor showed the non-swimmers a really basic video on swimming, asking those non-swimmers to ask questions or share concerns or express ideas they get from the video. And suppose then the instructor takes the non-swimmers to a safe (shallow) part of the water complex, helps them to be comfortable getting their faces wet. And then the instructor demonstrates the basic swimming effort, after which the non-swimmers attempt to repeat that effort – with the instructor giving individual feedback. These interactions continue with individual learners being introduced to upgraded efforts, practicing each level on their own, getting instructor feedback, until each reaches the level determined for them to be useful / adequate for their expectations.

    In this “swimming” analogy, it makes clear for me at least that this THIRD option is far better than drowning (better:stay out of the water) or being TAUGHT to swim: scaffolding the levels, actually trying to swim, getting good feedback, practicing, self-motivating via individual goals, aligning with ‘standard’ framework from the instructor, demonstrating progress by doing, ….

    AND SO I’M ASKING: Presuming everyone agrees that this approach works for swimming (and playing baseball / softball, driving a car, baking cookies, building a house, ….), why isn’t it the OBVIOUS way to facilitate students’ becoming Effective Learners???

    • William Chamberlain

      Some may need scaffolding, others may simply need a conversation about acceptable use. A few may simply want to jump in and see what happens. It seems there is a bit of hubris involved to be so certain of what works best for all.

  2. Stephanie

    The student quote above says, “Social Media is like water. You can either let us drown , or teach us to swim.” I am a very newly connected educator and the growth that I have made just in that short amount of time has been huge for both me and the students I serve. I think what Mr. Couros is saying is that we can either leave kids to learn about that connectedness on their own, which may or may not end up being positive, OR we, as educators, teach them how to make those connections safely while gradually releasing the responsibility for those connections to the students. I have read his posts before and I don’t believe that he equates “teaching” with a lecture that doesn’t involve the student’s active participation. He is saying that this teaching about connectedness and the use of social media to accomplish it lies on the shoulders of every educator, not just one or two and that it is necessary for ALL students to have access to that learning.

  3. William Chamberlain

    As I continually state, the real value of the internet in the classroom is the connections students can make through it. I don’t necessarily think we need to teach students how to connect (although we may need to introduce them to the tools), but we may need to remind them of how to be nice. Honestly though, I have to remind them of that occasionally with face to face interactions as well 😉

    Thanks for the shout out in the post, George.

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