Promise, Tool, Bargain

9/07/2008 02:31:00 pm

My main interest in teaching and learning on the web centers around exploring the effective use of social media to deepen our pedagogy and our students learning.

In Clay Shirky's recent book, Here Comes Everybody, he closes by saying that there are three "rules" behind the effective use of any social tool: it "relies on a successful fusion of a plausible promise, an effective tool, and an acceptable bargain with the [students]".

The promise is about why would you use a certain tool. i.e. begin by asking yourself, what do you want to accomplish with your students? What do you want them to learn?

The tool is about answering the question: how do you want them to learn it?

The bargain, in Clay's words, "sets the rules of the road: if you are interested in the promise and adopt the tools, what can you (the students) expect and what will be expected of you?"

This is not a recipe for success. It's more of a framework to pin your thinking on. There are infinite paths to any goal; every teacher and student may start and end a course at the same place but the path they follow to get there is unique to each individual.

These three ideas can serve as a framework to guide our thinking as we try to answer the question: So, exactly what am I going to do differently with all this stuff in class tomorrow?

What do you think? Is this a helpful framework for thinking about using social media in the classroom?

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