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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Social media to be required in UK schools?

UK kids may soon be taking a big leap ahead in media-literacy training. A proposed overhaul to Britain's elementary school curriculum - the biggest in a decade - was just leaked, The Guardian reports. The draft does include "traditional areas of learning, including phonics, the chronology of history and mental arithmetic" but also requires British students to be "familiar with blogging, podcasts, Wikipedia and Twitter as sources of information and forms of communication." It divides the curriculum into six core learning areas instead of 13 subjects - a little closer, it seems to me, to what education reformer Sir Ken Robinson proposes .The plans, reportedly written by "Sir Jim Rose, the former [UK regulatory body] Ofsted chief who was appointed by ministers to overhaul the primary school curriculum, and are due to be published next month. Could this have anything to do with Birmingham University's plan to offer a master's in social media, as The Telegraph reports (probably not, but the timing's telling).

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Blogger narrator said...

I have developed this theory - surer of their own history and "who they are" - anchored as they are by a culture filled with tradition, the Brits are much less afraid of innovation than Americans. You see it in architecture, in theater, in literature, in journalism, and in education.

Americans are unsure and frightened. So any change seems dangerous.

- Ira Socol

5:23 PM  
Blogger Anne said...

Very interesting theory, Ira. I don't know enough to comment on that, but I also think there are upsides to having a more manageable national system governed at the national level (when the gov't is innovative!). Our educational system can't even really be called a "system" it's so big and unwieldy, with both top-down states and bottom-up states. I loved Pres. Obama's analogy when talking with Turkish university students this week - how long it takes to change the direction of the ship of state. I thought, "Especially THIS ship of state!" It's not even a single giant container ship or oil tanker. It's not even a flotilla!

But that's no excuse. We have GOT to get social media used in school more in order to close what Henry Jenkins calls the "participation gap," don't you think? Social media is now a vital tool of participatory democracy, and we can't afford a participation gap, I don't think. I just got appointed to the NTIA's (Commerce Dept.) new Online Safety Working Group, and I do want to try to make that point in the coming months. Thanks for you comment!

7:30 PM  

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