I was recently had a conversation with a college professor about the use of social networks in the higher education classroom. I mentioned that Twitter is an excellent tool for learning, but she disagreed, saying that is a waste of time. Instead of attempting to enlighten her, I heard her out because I wanted to understand how she perceives social networking as a teaching and learning tool.
Her main argument against using social networks, both in education, and in her life, is the invasion of privacy, or lack of privacy, and that very little useful information is actually shared on social networks.
I discovered that she doesn’t understand how social networks have dissolved the boundaries between teachers and learners in education. In addition, she doesn’t understand that social networks have become one of the most important social expressions of most, if not all, millennial students, which are those born after 1982.
She went on to say that she is not a “gadget” person. I was not bothered when she said that she doesn’t own a smartphone or iPad. But I was worried by her lack of curiosity about how these gadgets can be used to support professional development and as teaching and learning tools.
What concerned me the most is her lack of vision, especially as students and teachers continue to build relationships online. I question why professors like her are teaching.
Have they lost their curiosity about learning teaching? Have they become stuck in their ways and are coasting gracefully towards retirement? But more importantly, have non-technology faculty lost touch with their students so much that their teaching methods are not as effective as us “gadget” professors?
Tell me what you think about non-technology profs in your college or university. Are they still effective educators or are they a hindrance to learning?