The students are starting to see that facebook is not really a place at all and that it is really no different than a wall. It serves the same purpose, however they are beginning to understand the reach and audience that social media commands. This is an important distinction that is not always easily translated to students.
Today as we talked about the facebook project I asked them to define the most important 21st Century skill. Many students described skills involved directly with technology. One student said interaction, while others mentioned searching and researching skills. After entertaining all of their responses, I quoted Alan November and said that the most important 21st century skill is empathy. I related how important this skill is in a global economy and an increasingly connected world. We then transitioned the conversation to a Google doc and came up with some great responses to several questions associated with civility, citizenship, empathy and maintaining and molding your digital spaces.
While this conversation was unfolding on the Google Doc, we were greeted by a group of administrators and teachers who were visiting Burlington. The students explained to our visitors what they were discussing on the doc and the crowd was impressed with their responses. My students immediately relayed the importance of maintaining their digital identity and how someday they will be expected adapt to and use these spaces effectively. Also, they started to see social media as an opportunity for their future as opposed to something that is deemed bad by many. It was one of those moments as a teacher that makes you very proud.
Today's living facebook project was not really about facebook at all. It was about students understanding their responsibility in a variety of digital spaces. Also, it reinforced how important empathy is in a global economy and an increasingly connected world.