Teaching 9 year olds about Social Media

This week, Fair Chance Foundation hosted its annual Impact Day. This is when every Deloitte employee around the world gets to trade 8 hours of regular work to volunteer in the community. In the Netherlands, we hosted Impact Day on Wednesday, 28th September. We facilitated 38 educational projects with a reach of over 2000 students. All made possible by more than 400 Deloitte employees and excellent community partners. Click here for an impression of the day.

I visited 3 projects on Impact Day, but I have only one favourite and admittedly it’s a project which I wrote about in August. Linda Vonhoff and Thijs van de Reep of Social MediaWijs hosted a social media boot camp for 9 and 10 year olds along with my social media colleagues, Roos van Vugt and Jochem Koole and an enthusiast from our recruiting department, Berend Buitink. The boot camp teaches young kids all the fun things that they can do with social media and the internet as well as highlighting some of the evils.

The primary school, at which this social media boot camp was held, is situated in a less privileged neighbourhood of Amsterdam. The kids that attend the school don’t all own computers at home and they were absolutely thrilled to be able to use an ipad ‘of their own’ for the morning.

What an experience! A classroom full of extremely eager children, learning about the use of Twitter, Facebook, Hyves, Google and YouTube. With funny animal films and Mr. Bean being the hit of the day! The children not only learned about the good, but also about the ugly on social media sites; that not everyone on the web is good and honest and not everything you read is true.

Congrats to Apple though! Ipad is so totally intuitive that the kids all breezed through the lesson with absolutely no problems at all. Some of the kids quickly realized that it wasn’t even necessary to search for a site through Google since the Apps were available on the homepage.

When I was growing up, I never paid much notice to the neighbourhood that we lived in, the schools that I attended or the ‘other things’ that I probably took for granted. It’s my guess, that these kids don’t either. And, let’s face it, you don’t need ‘things’ to be a really bright kid. And, each and every child in that classroom was an absolute gem.

Thijs and Linda are back at the school next week to run through the next module, I have a feeling that the atmosphere may be slightly more subdued since the lessons are sans Apple. However, I’m sure the content will keep them mesmerized. If you want to learn more about Thijs and Linda’s techniques, please contact them through twitter or through their website www.socialmediawijs.nl. Although their program is in Dutch, I’m sure they’d be thrilled to roll it out in English for you.

Many, many thanks go to Anne-Marie de Jeu, the Manager of Fair Chance Foundation. What a project manager!  Due to her total professionalism, Impact Day 2011 was an enormous success again this year. Thank you!

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