Here be dragons

Last week (I’m behind on my grading), my students had to post articles to our class wiki that discussed tools and techniques social media marketers can use.  The wiki is supposed to be a knowledge base, where my students can go when they have questions about how to do this or how to fix that. But this set of articles had a lot of repetition to them. It’s as if they’re not reading each other’s work, and though we’ve discussed that wikis are about collaborative writing, it seems that they’re not comfortable with the idea of rewriting someone else’s articles.

So we have two issues here.  The second is fairly easy to fix…just change the assignment a bit. But the first is a bigger problem.

I’m getting the sense that many of my students are reaching the end of what they already know about social media. There’s a whole lot more unknown out there, but how to get to it?

Map of the land of social media
Beyond the known, the unknown lurks.

Students,  you’re mapping an unexplored land. Without any sense of direction, it’s hard to figure out where to start.  We are in a place where we can all be pioneers, but to do that, you have to find out what other people are doing and how they’re learning. You can’t just rely on what you know. You have to follow the next link, and the next, and the next until you find something you haven’t heard of before, and then fill out this unfinished bit of the map with new knowledge.

It’s research.  It’s messy, it takes you to dead ends, and it takes time that you may not have.  But this is how you turn the unknown into the known.

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