Friday, June 1, 2012

Why Schools Should Embrace Social Networking

Back in early 2011, I posted details and resources for creating a fictional Facebook wall for characters in S.E. Hinton's classic adolescent novel, The Outsiders. The post has become one of the most visited on my blog - statics as of this post indicate more than 43,000 views!

Tonight, the Outsiders/Facebook post received an interesting comment. My first impulse was to assume it was someone looking for a flame war and simply delete it, but on second thought, it was just too passionately written to dismiss. Instead, I choose to reply to it. I hope it encourages you to think about the value of social media in education and what fundamental skills we should be teaching students.  Mr. Wildern's comment and my reply are below. 

Dante Wildern,

I appreciate your vehement opposition to my post. Anytime someone shows that much passion, it deserves to be commended.

With that said, I must disagree with you. First, this project was only one assignment in a long series of activities, all of which required face-to-face interaction that included peer groupings, large-group discussions, and Socratic seminars, to name a few. By no means was a classic work of fiction demoralized by what you refer to as "psuedo-social interactions." Pedagogically speaking, the Facebook assignment was an excellent way for students to demonstrate an understanding of complex concepts such as characterization and analysis of plot elements.

Secondly, I disagree that this assignment "goes against everything I should be teaching." Look at any mission statement from any school district in America and you will find something regarding the importance of creating lifelong learners who leave school equipped with skills needed to be successful. Whether you like it or not, online social networking is how the world interacts. If schools don't embrace this, then they risk becoming irrelevant in an ever-increasing digital world.

Again, I appreciate your comment. Conversations like these are what make me proud to be a teacher. Regardless of whether I agree with your opinion or not, you are an articulate and intelligent person. Clearly, your teachers did a good job preparing you for the world of social interactions (which is exactly what this blog is).

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