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July 09, 2008


Dan Meyer

What on Earth is social media? I mean, what does that even mean?

Christian Long

Sorry, folks. Dan wins the top prize on his slapshot numero uno. All other contestants will have to vie for a dusty old NPR coffee mug I have out in the garage.

Guess "social media" is something that can be tagged in Google Earth, cross-linked in a wiki held up on a laptop screen in the front row of a UStream prezo, and ultimately given some Twitter love at the next edublogger cafe.

Or does it merely identify skinny middle schoolers trying to get their pre-adolescent groove on as someone hijacks the DJ booth with a retro music rush through Air Supply land, all while being recorded on someone's used Betamax camera?


More seriously, Dan, I'll call it "fungo bat" if that's the common lingo (for a few weeks, anyway)...but I'm pretty comfy with the fact that my kiddo will have an 18 year head start on the majority of his peers when it comes to crafting his story when the "to school or not to school" college question pops up in the admissions office.

Oh, and he'll have more to submit than his "What I did this summer..." essay and # of community service hours stuffed in the final semester of his 12th grade year, too.


Finally, will you sign my yearbook?

It's not really an example of up-to-date "social media", but it does look good hanging out on the bookshelf when I come home for holiday.

Will Richardson

Um...it only counts when your kid starts doing it for himself. ;0) This is like you gathering all of the research, putting together the outline and writing the first draft of his dissertation. Wait...is that collaboration or cheating???

Christian Long

Short answer:


Oh, and "collaboration" vs. "cheating" is a matter of the marketing spin we embrace given what we're really talking about here.


Long answer: I suppose by that equation, Will, that providing a kid with a school bus or a Trapper Keeper 3-ring binder or a hot lunch would constitute "cheating" on the parents'/family's part if it aids in accessing their learning, esp. if another child was not given the same assistance?

Or even the access to a trusted family friend, old college buddy, neighbor down the street, 1st job contact, or Twitter contact happy to answer that pesky research question that allows them to find a job, apply to college, build that science fair volcano, get that volunteering opportunity, etc, right?

Heck, even making sure that one is living in the 'right' neighborhood or has applied to the 'right' school or have signed up for the 'right' summer program to provide the 'right' learning environment for one's kiddo would also constitute "cheating" by the parents/family, no?


As an English teacher who often has to face the "Did my student's parent actually write this draft?" question when grading time swings around, I'd suggest there might be -- just maybe -- a difference between that end of the parental assistance spectrum and what I proposed above.

Note: there was a clear "hand-off" statement that underlies everything:

Step 1: Build something for him (admitted)

Step 2: Shift to a co-building, co-learning process (also pointed about above)

Step 3: Get out of his (or her) way (whether I want to or not, no?)


[Note to self: Will did add the cute winking smileycon after his first line? Wonder if he knows I picked up on that? Heck, why don't I give him one back so we all realize the smile/nod is still implicit in both of our inquiries here. Good. It's a plan.]


Dan Meyer

Sorry, man, I'm just tetchy 'cause danmeyer.com's taken.

Christian Long

Dan: I've been grumblin' for a few years now that I learned someone had already been using christianlong.com, forcing me to only recently buy the .net and .org versions.

Nodding my head in empathy, fella.

Now, buck up and get back on that video episode saddle!

A. Mercer

I started a blog for my son (http://leepea.tumblr.com/). I've offered him IMBEE, but he likes the blog. He's not prolific, but every now and again asks to write a story, and usually picks out a picture from Flickr (CC of course). He has a really great visual sense for a 9 yo, and his writing using a keyboard is 1000x better than he can manage with paper and pencil. The photos of him and family members are largely taken by me, but the rest is all him.

This is a BIG deal since one of his IEP goals is writing. His RSP teacher has a mini computer lab in her room, and the kids do writing there. The school has had their alphasmart carts ripped off twice, so that is not an option. I'm discussing sending him in with an ASUS or XO or AlphaSmart of his own next year with dh, because keyboarding is so much better for him with writing.

In case Dan is worried about his math, like most spectrum kids, his computational skills are just fine, it's just his writing that is a little hard to read on problems.

Christian Long

Love, love, love seeing your son's emerging work here, Alice especially given what is possible as he matures.

Gives me even more confidence to keep moving in the direction I have been with regards to developing a sight that my own son can co-publish with me for a stretch (when he's 3-5+ years old) before he takes the reins (with me over his shoulder, lovingly) or kicks me to the digital curb so he can go fishing or play baseball. (wink)

Thanks for the chance to see what your son's up to. Cheers on that!

A. Mercer

Can I suggest an environment like tumblr that is maybe not so "social" to start (although what will be hot in a few years, meh?). I'm still helping with the embeds, but he is going to take that over soon.

I don't know if Leroy will EVER want to chat, or have comments like you and I do given his personality, but ya know, that's okay for him. He will likely NEVER fit Mr. Richardson's ideals for blogging. I'm more concerned about his lack of conversational skills f2f.

If he was another child, I would either add a disqus chat, or move him over to edublogs/tumblr over time.

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