Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010
Educators need to face facts that addressing social media in schools is an important part of ensuring students are ready for the real world as a digital citizen, according to an Australian elearning education expert.

eLearning Industry Association of Victoria’s education spokesperson Peter Evans’ comments come on the back of the association’s annual Excellence Awards, which have this year demonstrated the resounding success in ‘technology based teaching’, including social networking.

Winners in the 2010 awards included Monash University and Box Hill Institute, both who have moved to technology based teaching - rather than the traditional ‘chalk and talk’ methods.

Student participation and engagement rates have skyrocketed, with Box Hill saying it has had the best update of any new program the TAFE has undertaken.

Evans says despite the widespread success at a University and TAFE level, and an increasing move towards technology driven teaching at this level, many schools are still lagging behind.

“Recent statistics show that children start using the internet between six and 10 years old with almost four in 10 visiting social networking sites*.”

He says inappropriate or ill-informed use of social media carries its own risks, and it’s time we realised social media does have a role in our schools to ensure students are aware of these risks and can then use it appropriately.

“Some schools worry about cyber-bullying and the consequences, while others worry about the perceived waste of time by allowing students to access social media and block access, but the technology is there and will be used by students.

“Avoiding the task of educating them about the correct ‘social media morés’ is abrogating responsibility.”

He says schools need to instead ensure they’re educating students about simple factors like once they put something on the internet; it’s there for all time.

“They need education about the difference between appropriate business use and social use. It’s our responsibility to ensure they know what is right and wrong in regards to social media use now and equally they need to know how to interact in these environments so they can cope when they’re moving into the real world.”

Monash University’s research head Dr Katharina Franke says the so called ‘chalk and talk’ style of teaching is not always resonating with this generation, who are often on some form of mobile device in the classroom.

She says by using it, instead of banning it, it had 89 per cent of students saying they felt more engaged, while teachers reported improved understanding of content.

She says their move to a technology style of teaching is also having significant positive impacts on academic staff.

“Staff have reported improved understanding of content and perhaps most importantly, reflection about approaches to teaching.”

To interview Peter Evans, Dr Katharina Franke or for more information on the eLearning Industry Association of Victoria Excellence Awards please contact:

Kirstie Bedford
KDJM communications
T: 0437 455 001
E: [email protected]

* released Sensis® e-business Report

Contact Profile

eLearning Industry Association of Victoria

The eLearning Industry Association of Victoria’s vision is to see Victoria recognised world-wide as a centre of excellence for e-learning.

It was created in 2006 and represents developers, producers, distributors, suppliers, consultants, advisors and the end user.

The association conducts research, hosts a website, organises events, collates and distributes all relevant industry information, represents the industry at relevant forums and is owner of the premier industry awards – the eLearning Excellence Awards.

For more information see: www.elearning.org.au
Kirstie Bedford
P: 0437455001
W: www.elearning.org.au/html/s01_home/home.asp


education, social media, online, schools, social networking



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