Schools can use social networking

Schools should bring social networking into the classroom, argues Nicholas Bramble in Slate Magazine. Afraid of cyber-stalking, harassment and online pedophiles, many schools are trying to ban social media. That’s short-sighted, writes Bramble.

Social networks can also pull in students who are otherwise disengaged, because they draw on kids’ often intense interest in finding new ways to communicate with one another.

He suggests “students could talk about what they’re doing on Facebook and company, map out the ways they’re making connections with one another, and share videos and software they’ve created.”

Teachers can manage the project by selecting the best content and conversations, and incorporating it into other parts of the curriculum. If a student created an entry on Wikipedia for a local band or sports team, other students could work on revising the entry and building it into a larger local history project. The audience for school projects need no longer be one hurried teacher.

“Slamming the classroom door on social media just makes the virtual world more of a waste land,” Bramble writes.

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