I have written about social media on several occasions – okay, on many occasions – well, maybe it’s a borderline obsession – but honestly, it’s just that important. Once your child connects and collaborates, they will be empowered to make a difference in the world. As a parent, it should be the newest tool in your toolbox.
Guy Kawasaki in his book, Enchantment, takes you on a journey to “learn how to change the hearts, minds, and actions of people” by building long-term relationships with other people in order to realize your passions and dreams. He discusses “push technology” - how to use e-mail, Twitter, and PowerPoint to spread your message to those you want to influence and “pull technology” - how to use blogs, YouTube, Facebook, and LinkedIn to bring people to you. This is a skill that once mastered by gifted children will benefit them their entire lives.
While other kids are updating their status on Facebook about where the next party is, your child can be connecting with kids all around the globe concerning issues about which they are passionate. Perhaps they will participate in a Socratic seminar at a virtual conference two continents away with people from 30 other countries on solving the Earth’s need for clean water. It is a learning experience as well as a potential opportunity to cultivate leadership skills. By gaining new knowledge, they can be empowered to take the next step to connect with mentors and world class educators to find a solution and implement it.
Social media is a spawning ground for collaboration. In his post, “Social Media Can Change The World Through Common Ground”, author JR Johnson illustrates the benefits that come when our children reach out to those with whom they share common passions; they develop a mutual understanding of each other. In turn, positive change can happen through friendships forged in this manner; it changes the way in which they look at people different from themselves.
Building an effective Personal Learning Network (PLN) is often the first step in developing quality relationships. Andrew Marcinek in “Help Students Use Social Media to Empower, Not just Connect” , reminds educators of the need to “promote critical thinking, questioning, and constrictive criticism.” He goes on to emphasize the need for students to become active members of PLNs by posting and sharing. In this way, they move “beyond simple connections that they get, and really empower their voices, abilities, and talents.” Ultimately, the PLN becomes a support group where they feel free to share new ideas.
There are many opportunities available for kids to connect. Here are some links to get you started:
Connecting online is important in the lives of gifted children. It is a global resource for kids to build friendships with their intellectual peers. The potential of social media to empower them is priceless. The key will be parents who mentor their children in building these relationships.