The Next “Killer App” in Education Technology?

At our recent planning retreat at the Hawai’i Prince Hotel, our Kamehameha Schools EdTech team was tasked to present new web tools and trends in a “smackdown” format. After some thoughtful reflection, this is what I came up with….

No, really. I believe that Facebook is it. Here’s why….

Everyone has an account. It’s ubiquitous. And it’s free! Furthermore, training issues, costs, etc. are very minimal. Facebook has conquered the world. The numbers are simply staggering. It has obsoleted (or at least diminished) many web apps. For example, no one reads this blog anymore. (Fortunately, I have an RSS feed to my Facebook Notes.) It has relegated MySpace into a music site and Second Life into an adult site. It is now my primary channel of communication, surpassing email, phone calls, and texting. Facebook has changed the world and the way we live.

Facebook is robust, and has the necessary tools for communication and collaboration. It may be the most powerful learning tool in the history of mankind. Most schools choose to block it.

Teachers can download a how-to pdf document at this link. It includes tips on management and safety.

There is a perception that implementing Facebook with students is extremely “risky.” Here’s what’s risky. If we don’t teach students how to use the web ethically, then no one will.

Will Richardson, the keynote at our EdTech Conference in 2008 said that we spend 13 years preparing our students for that interview seat (for employment or college entrance.) Then they disqualify themselves with their “digital footprints.” Are we doing a disservice by not teaching them about the web in school?

The “killer” app can sometimes be the one that we don’t teach….

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