Social Media

Rescuing Student Participation Through Digital Platforms

Thursday, April 20, 2017 Comment two students in fox masks

Like many of my colleagues who think carefully about digital literacy and pedagogies, I began seriously considering the use of social media platforms in educational settings — sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr — around 2008. Despite nearly a decade of innovative uses of digital platforms in educational settings, the use of these platforms and spaces continues to be trivialized by the public and teachers alike, with cries echoing about attention spans and nostalgia for the loss of face-to-face interaction, which seem more “real.” But, to continue to dismiss digital platforms, particularly those focused on social


What Teachers Can Learn from Students

Monday, March 27, 2017 Comment

I remember being a college student. The problem with being a professor who remembers being a college student, is that we’re probably misremembering, or our experience is different from those of our current students. Last week, I got to experience being in students’ shoes a little more than usual, and I found the experience particularly enlightening. I felt that being in closer or more intense contact with students for a couple of days and experiencing their lives helped me empathize with them more. This is very different from teaching them, because when I teach them, I


When Social Media Assignments Increase Risks for Vulnerable Students

Monday, March 06, 2017 Comment social media

Editor’s note: The following is a discussion between Data & Society Research Institute researchers Monica Bulger and Mikaela Pitcan and Jade Davis, associate director of Digital Learning Projects at LaGuardia Community College. In light of the travel ban and recent border demands to view social media accounts, the scholars discuss students who might be vulnerable in the new environment and also how this might be a moment for teachers and students to reconsider teaching practice and approaches to digital literacy. Monica: What prompted this interview is we were talking the other day about unintended consequences of using personalized


Safely Guiding Students on Learning Journey

Monday, February 20, 2017 Comment classroom with teacher and students

I remember the first year I started teaching. It was exhilarating and confusing and led me to a mini-existential crisis of sorts that I imagine often when you walk into a class with a bunch of faces staring at you who assume you have all the answers and the key to their future. Why else would they be there? I had a conversation with a dear friend and I asked her the point of teaching. She said: “To remember that students don’t know what they don’t know, but that they are in that space to learn


How Brazilians Practice Crap Detection

Thursday, January 05, 2017 Comment The “de-manipulator pen”: it shows how headlines should really be written if telling the truth Source: instagram.com/canetadesmanipuladora

Howard Rheingold says in “Net Smart” (2012) that we all should practice media literacies while online, especially when using social media. With all the issues involving fake news, it seems that critical thinking as a digital literacy is most important. The so-called “crap detection” gets each day harder to use properly when there so much misinformation available. As the rest of the world, Brazil has faced it during the last year, mostly after the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff in August. Soon after, as Michel Temer became president, social media posts for and against his policies exploded. Brazilians started


#SlaveryWithASmile: How Twitter Can Raise Social Consciousness

Monday, January 18, 2016 Comment screenshot of Tweet about controversial book on slavery being recalled by Scholastic

I love Twitter. I love Twitter because it makes silly questions about dog pants go so viral that the President feels the need to weigh in with his opinion. I love Twitter because it allows me to follow the thoughts of all of the actors in my current theatrical obsession: the “Hamilton” musical. But most of all, I love Twitter because of its ability to bring stories to light from around the country (and around the world) that spark social and political dialogue. While some consider tweeting about social causes to be a form of “slacktivism” because


How Unplanned Learning Led to Online Book Group

Monday, January 11, 2016 Comment cluttered computer desk with headphones book soda

Learning by stumbling upon things — and cultivating the ability to recognize when you’ve stumbled onto something valuable — can be amplified manyfold if you regularly look where people in your personal learning network are pointing. Focused, systematic, pre-planned learning is still a powerful tool in the learning toolbox but, sometimes, you need to put yourself into the position of stumbling upon and dipping into learning that you had not planned. Autumm Caines, for example, participated in focused, systematic learning as a master’s student (now graduate) at Ohio State University and associate director of academic technology


Learning The Terms of Digital Literacy

Monday, December 07, 2015 Comment screenshot of facebook twitter instagram privacy policy terms

Often when we talk about digital literacy, we are speaking about giving students the tools they need to be successful in a digitally-augmented world. In learning digital literacy, students also learn the social protocols, expectations, and risks that come along with engagement in digital devices, something I’ve written about many times before. Recently, I’ve been working closely with faculty members and asking them a simple question: “Have you read the ‘Terms of Service’ of any of the digital tools and platforms you are using?” More often than not, the answer has been, “no.” This is not


How Collaboration Empowers Learning

Monday, April 13, 2015 Comment ed chat quote the power of networking responsibility

“I learned more on Twitter in six months than in two years of graduate school” is the epigraph of the first chapter of Tom Whitby’s book (co-authored with Steven W. Anderson), “The Relevant Educator: How Connectedness Empowers Learning.” This quote could summarize Whitby’s philosophy of learning and teaching, in which collaboration is the environment, not just an ingredient, in effective learning. A teacher of English in secondary schools for 34 years and an adjunct professor at St. Joseph’s College for six years, he’s officially retired but, you wouldn’t know that from his social media activity. Whitby


Ferguson, Social Media and Educational Dialogue

Thursday, December 18, 2014 Comment protesters chanting holding up signs we cannot be silent

As St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch stepped to the microphone on the evening of Nov. 24 to announce the grand jury’s decision about the fate of Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot and killed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 9, I found myself glued simultaneously to my laptop and the television set. I watched McCulloch’s statement on CNN while toggling between Twitter and Facebook to express my emotions in real time and gauge the reactions of friends, colleagues, and the rest of the world online. Physically, I was sitting on a