19 October 2008

Social Media Classroom introduces "participative pedagogy"

This weekend I came across the Social Media Classroom, a free online service packaging Web 2.0 and social media tools for students and teachers.

The Social Media Classroom is an open source Drupal-based web service including online forums, blogs, wikis, chat, social bookmarking, RSS, microblogging, video, and more. For a video preview of SMC, check out this post on ReadWriteWeb.

According to founder, Howard Rheingold, SMC includes curriculum and training materials to help students learn "the rhetoric of social media."

Rheingold advises: "Today, alphabetic literacy and visual literacy are not enough... The co-evolution of technology, media and collective action hasn't stopped, it's gone into hyper-drive."

With initial funding from HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Advanced Collaboratory) and the MacArthur Foundation, SMC offers its web service to anyone, including businesses and non-profits.

While SMC will enable students to blog about class, share photos from a field trip and "tweet" questions in real-time, its potential is much greater.

For example, one SMC sponsor commented, "Imagine a mixed reality game in which high school students from Los Angeles and Cairo learn about real-time impacts of air pollution in their neighborhoods."

Super cool! Will SMC prove Disney right? Is it really that small a world after all?


Bret Clement said...

The Social Media Classroom is interesting, thanks for the heads up.

On a side note, Drupal is interesting platform for building communities. Folks like Rheingold will probably manage it well. Folks like Aaron Novak at Mzinga (in this Mashable video at the 2:50 mark: http://tinyurl.com/485baj) and Deloitte's study from this summer (http://tinyurl.com/5ub5t5) say many communities aren't providing much value due to lack of leadership. The technology is there, like Drupal. But leadership isn't there to make it strategic and successful.

Rheingold and Drupal probably make a good match here though.


I agree - I think visualizing how different tools can work together and rolling them out together will help, but Rheingold makes a good point when he advises teachers and students to learn the literacies that drive these tools rather than just the tools themselves.

I think Rheingold is saying that re-learning how to interact, collaborate and create is necessary before any one (or few) technology(ies) will raise the bar.

Thanks for the extra examples.