08.20

10 Ways Social Media and the Web Are Moving Gifted Education Forward

By Deborah Mersino

Amid early adopters, platform loyalists, time and budget constraints, enthusiasm, privacy concerns, real-time collaboration, media hype, avoidance, and resource-sharing, it’s clear that social media is not only alive and well and impacting the world of gifted education, but it is also truly shifting mindsets and creating opportunities.

Here are 10 ways social media and the Web are catapulting the gifted education movement forward. Some of these developments have been around for a while now; others depict social media’s current and future evolution relative to gifted, talented, and creative learners – and those who serve them. Thank you to those who have helped crowdsource many of these points.

Should you have additional ideas to offer, please “Leave a Reply” so others can benefit. If you’re a parent, educator or organizational leader who is just getting started online, welcome! I’m hoping this post inspires you to delve in further. As always, feel free to contact me with your questions and/or consulting needs. Here we go!

1. Down come the walls

Scholars, gifted education specialists, classroom teachers, administrators, parents, counselors, authors, and advocates are communicating outside of their long-standing silos, which is igniting newfound learning and compelling action.

2. Up comes the engagement and true collaboration

Like never before, you will find parents helping parents, teachers supporting parents, parents enlightening teachers, psychiatrists answering parents’ questions, authors asking for input on new books, journalists finding sources, and teachers sharing ideas online with verve.

3. Read all about it

Access to scholarly articles, resources, videos, podcasts, blogs, and news about the gifted movement is allowing more immediate response and action, especially relative to advocacy.

4. Options galore

Whether searching for homeschooling resources and/or garnering assistance with a passion or specific subject area, open-source and distance learning opportunities continue to give gifted, talented, and creative learners more opportunities to learn 24/7 – often in collaboration with other learners throughout the world.

5. Dialogue develops

Real-time chats, like #gtchat on Twitter, continue to boost understanding among varied audiences and remind us all that gifted learners and those who parent and serve them need and deserve ongoing support. Gifted organizations can – and should – begin planning now for virtual conferences to reach broader audiences cost-effectively and efficiently. And while online discussion platforms have served powerfully for years, we’ll continue to see significant growth in this area and other online parent forums in the years ahead.

6. Facebook groups and Google+ Circles provide ideal platforms

Everyday, these tools allow for audiences to witness and participate in Q&A sessions, professional development, and curricula sharing across the globe.

7. Images create momentum and memories

YouTube, Flickr, video blogs, Skype, and Google+ Hangouts are bringing the power and benefits of gifted education and peer interaction to life.

8. Community comes home

Whether a parent or teacher is looking to connect with others about issues of twice-exceptional students, dual-college enrollment, camps for profoundly gifted learners, and/or students in rural areas, today’s social media platforms are making finding one’s tribe not only possible, but also convenient and rewarding.

9. New Zealand informs New York and vice versa

No longer bound by geography, gifted educators, parents, policy makers and advocates are sharing knowledge, resources, and insights globally.

10. Socratic Seminars in Google+ Circles

We’re just at the beginning of transformative learning. Educators at universities and high schools are already seeing the power of shared learning through social media tools. Group projects and real-time dialogue between professors and students, mentors and students, and learners from different countries will continue to ignite ideation and solutions. Here’s just one of hundreds of examples of an organization recognizing the need to “get it” soon: Stanford University GSB Seeking Social Media & Email Marketing Manager, Marketing & Communications.

No Limits

What impresses me most is the intense commitment shown by teachers who are creating, sharing, and applying the latest social media tools and apps to their curriculum. Parents and students are just now seeing the seeds of true engagement. And we haven’t even scratched the surface yet.

As more private gifted schools, gifted nonprofits, publishers, and psychiatrists adjust their views of social media, they will stop “marketing” to target audiences and begin engaging them. They will cross the aisle to communicate with other fields. They will tap advertising and online sponsorship options instead of simply signing up to be a vendor at a traditional, in-person conference or expecting others to manually visit their Web site without interaction. Those who don’t may soon find themselves struggling, wondering why conference attendance rates, revenues, and donations are down, and/or finally realizing they’re becoming obsolete despite long-standing leadership in the past.

It can be hard sometimes to fully comprehend the complexities inherent in the intersection of social media, education, and marketing. Leaders who see behind the predominant myths and embrace the possibilities truly will be the ones shaping the future. Here’s to all of you who are open to seeing these new realities!

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5 Responses to “10 Ways Social Media and the Web Are Moving Gifted Education Forward”

  1. Peter Lydon says:

    Hi Deborah, a very useful post that offers a path to advocates adopting social media. I just wonder though about the extent to which we are connecting with people beyond the ‘in-crowd’. We need to connect with people affected by gifted issues but who aren’t aware of what they can do or the wealth of support out there. Do we need tradition media to connect with social media to really move forward? A child unidentified is a potential lost.
    love your work.
    Peter

  2. Peter – You’re absolutely right regarding the need for expansion to broader audiences – particularly so we can reach far more educators and parents. Coincidentally, I just wrote out 4th quarter goals for Ingeniosus and PR with traditional media was on the list! It’s critical and needed. Excellent point. Thank you for taking time to respond.

    Warmest regards,
    Deborah

  3. One great thing that I see more and more experts doing (in a variety of fields) is offering free webinars. It’s an easy way to present information to large groups of people – who might not be able to attend an event in person due to time, cost, or location constraints. The great thing is that there’s free platforms you can use to set it all up pretty easily. All you need is a computer with a good internet connection and a webcam! (If you happen to have a computer that didn’t come with one built-in, they’ve gotten really inexpensive.)

    I can see so many ways this can be used – to present information on advocacy or school options to parents, to teach supplemental curriculum for homeschooling students or online learners, to provide continuing education to teachers and school administrators… The possibilities really are endless.

  4. Stephanie Tolan says:

    Thanks for this. If I can be here, anybody can be here. :-0

  5. [...] action, and change. Seeing that my CALL TO ACTION: Making Gifted Education Relevant Today and 10 Ways Social Media and the Web Are Moving Gifted Education Forward posts were among the top-read posts of 2011 has further ignited my commitment to stepping out. Even [...]

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