Day 15: "The Twitter" or "Get Up! Stand Up!" #AprilBlogADay Challenge

Prompt 15:  How has social media changed your classroom?  
Personally? Professionally? With students? Families? 

Last year I sat in a parent meeting with one of my advisees, two other students and each child's parent.  The parent was preparing to request what we call a safety transfer for the student because of bullying that had been taking place on Facebook.  It was no joke.  I watched as my principal skillfully facilitated a heated discussion between three parents.  It was social media once again as the chief method for instigation.

When I was a kid...In reality, it doesn't matter any more.  Times have changed and social media isn't going anywhere.

Today, I was talking to my Juniors and I said, "You, know when you are following someone on the Twitter...." and you could see and hear the audible giggles at Ms. Towne's faux pas.  I do it on purpose, of course.  I also use terms like: the facebook, interwebs, and insta-vain.  I do it because it is silly, it's good to get kids laughing, even at my expense.  Laughter feels good, releases great natural chemicals and helps kids relax before you make them do 40 minutes of Socratic Seminar.  

Social media also inspires a plethora of feelings and experiences for all of us.  For me, social media has provided me things like: 
  • connection with old friends
  • networking and professionally developing
  • staying connected with family 3000 miles away 
  • sharing my Ponderous Journey over the last year and a half through blogging
  • finding support and inspiration from strangers all over the world
  • knowledge and inspiration
  • community
Social media has also caused hurt and frustration...
  • miscommunications (this happens more than anything!)
  • de-freinding (I hate that this word even exists, but you know exactly what it is.)
  • body shaming 
  • throwing subs
  • bullying, especially for my students
  • Comments....NEVER. READ. THE. COMMENTS.
Working at a school that is ALL about tech, social media in many ways is a necessary component but most is blocked by the DOE (along with many other things, that in my mind shouldn't be).  How do we support students, teach them interwebs self-defense strategies, and model positive ways to engage with social media?  It's becomes theoretical and a bunch of what if...? scenarios. 

Ultimately, the power of social media is inspiring and fantastic.  I believe this is where the current and next generations of social justice activists will grow, thrive and get people moving.  It will be the answer I have been looking for when the question has been: What will get the millennials to stand up for something...anything? What will get them out from in front of the screen and and speaking out and speaking up?  Hopefully social media will do just that.


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