Teachers learn about social networking

February 23, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
San Francisco teachers will get a lesson on Tuesday morning that's not part of the usual teaching curriculum, but some experts say it's essential in this day and age. Now social networking is finding its way into the classroom.

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There's the old way of doing things and then there's the new way. San Francisco Unified School District has decided it's time for teachers to catch up with their students.

"This is Web 2.0 this is the wave of the future. Our kids are already there," said Patricia Theel, from the San Francisco Unified School District.

San Francisco Unified will hold a seminar to teach some of its teachers the finer points of blogging, podcasting and social networking -- and to help them integrate it into their classroom.

"Let's learn social studies in a new innovative way using Web 2.0 tools," said Theel.

The hope is that if a student is having trouble raising his hand and asking a question, then maybe he'll feel more comfortable reaching out to his teacher on his MySpace page.

"I think it's going to unleash a renaissance in teaching," said Heidi Browning, an executive from MySpace.

Executives from MySpace will be there to guide the teachers, along with representatives from Google, and YouTube. Industry experts say it's about time teachers try to communicate with the kids their way.

"It's better to understand what's going on there so you can be more informed and learn how to incorporate it versus just ignoring it because it's not going to go away," said Browning.

But connecting to the digital generation may not be as easy the teachers think.

"I think it will be weird because the teachers will add their students and I think it will be awkward because then they'll get into their personal life," said Yaro Malev, a high school senior.

"I think it's pretty scary. I mean everybody is like texting now and I'm not sure if some teachers will get it," said Uche Okochi, a high school senior.

They're certainly going to try. School administrators will also incorporate cyber safety into the lesson and then they'll turn the teachers loose into the wide open cyber world.

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