My initial thoughts after completing this assignment is that it was much easier to find suggestions for including social media into the classroom than actual narratives of ways in which it was currently being utilized. However, after some tenacious researching and a few perspective changes I was able to create a curation of tools that I believe could not only be useful to my classroom repertoire but also fairly easy to implement.
Through my research I found a diverse collection of ways to engage my students in the English Language Arts environment. Instagram was used in several ways including students reporting out their learning for the day as well challenges to represent specific passages within the classroom novel in picture format. I consistently struggle with ways for students to complete projects tied to their independent reading novel that are authentic to learning standards and more engaging than the traditional book report. I think having the students create and share out pictures that exemplify various elements of their novel could add a new dynamic to this project for the upcoming year.
I also found teachers using the writing and performing of podcasts to share research and increase storytelling ability, student creation of YouTube lists and Google+ communities for collaborative study opportunities, and Twitter used for a variety of platforms including class discussions and debates as well as back channel video viewing commentary. One use of social networking challenged student perspective of situations by connecting students from different part of the world to one another for classroom discussions. All of the resources in my curation naturally lend themselves to an ELA classroom without much additional support.
One resource that a viewer of this collection may question in regards to the connection between the activity and an ELA classroom is the use of social media to track mathematical inferences about a post. In the resource I found for this activity the students posted a joke onto social media and then tracked how and where it was shared. Though this is a statistical assignment on the surface there could easily be a cross curricular element added to this assignment. In my class we explore the use of figurative language and the idea that it does not always transfer across cultures. These jokes could be analyzed not only for their mathmatical inferences but they could also be analyzed based on their communicative ability. Were they shared by certain populations who were able to understand the joke? Was the joke itself grammatically flawed? ELA students could pose questions about the content of the joke, or how it was written in connection to the mathematical findings of its social media success or lack thereof.
The main take away that I have after completing this assignment is that any inclusion of social media must be purposeful and authentic in its application. If we want students to see the use of social media in regards to their learning and the power they have over their learning using such tools we must make sure they understand the power and purpose behind the technology instead of just hoping they remain engaged with the newest shiniest tool in our teaching bag.