Learning through Social Media
by Marcy Mann, Associate Head for Academic Affairs
an article for the PCS parent newsletter, November 2013
As we proceed through the second decade of the 21st century, there is increasing evidence that our students are connecting to each other and to their school work through various forms of social media. Blogs, discussion boards, and Twitter feeds are now allowing teachers and students to have contact at their fingertips, and much research has been done about the value of this kind of connection. Here at PCS, our English teachers and others are using discussion boards on Moodle to continue the conversation about literature between classes. After a teacher posts a prompt, students respond and comment on their classmates’ responses. Students answer directly on moodle and each has an interaction with the previous posts of their classmates. This has makes for lively “discussion” between classes and allows students who are not in school to still participate with the class work. Faculty have commented that students tend to pay closer attention to their writing when it is posted for their peers.
Here's an Example
from “Imposters, Villains, and Anti-Heroes” (11th gr. English):
Choose a quotation and explain its significance either in terms of character development or theme development: why did you underline it in the text?
1. Write out your choice and identify the page number (in parentheses).
2. Also write two of your own sentences explaining the relevance of the passage or question(s) you may have about the passage. Either works.
Period 2: Each student chooses one line from Chapter 3
Period 4: Each student chooses one line from Chapter 4
Here's the catch: YOU MAY NOT USE ANOTHER STUDENT’S CHOICE. That means you need to check his or her submission. Have fun!
In Environmental Science, students who are on Twitter (which is optional) follow their class feed (@EnvSciNYC) where their teacher, Ms. Wong, posts news about the environment and photos and articles related to the class’s content. Other faculty whose research and reflection you may want to read are: Señora Matheson (@katchiringa), who blogs about Plugged-in Pedagogy, and Ms. Johnson (@JohnsonLizbeth), who shares her observations about navigating “the use of of technology tools in and outside the classroom” in her blog, Beyond the Tools.
Finally, if you are on Twitter, follow Professional Children’s School @pcsnyc, and perhaps you want to explore these other feeds: @drjamesdawson, @mmann15, @pcslibrary and @vsagona. Come join us!