Now that I am over my Thanksgiving hangover, it is time to get back to writing. This week I will not be short on things to talk about. This past Sunday night was another great #Titletalk on Twitter. I truly have found a great way to re-energize myself at the end of every month when it comes to reading and literacy. I also meet new friends. Sunday’s topic was about Social Media and how it has impacted us as professionals in our world of literacy. Yesterday, I turned this question around on my students and reworded it a bit. For their writing into the day I asked my 7th and 8th graders to answer the following question: How has social media impacted your student life and your personal life? The responses were overwhelming. By my 6th hour class I had enough notes to write a book. Though I asked my students about their personal lives, I will not be sharing it here. Below you will find several positive responses students gave to me yesterday. Though I did not prompt them in anyway, I was captivated by how they discussed the benefits.
1. Social Media helps to make quicker contact with teachers when I am absent.
2. I can retrieve valuable resources quicker and easier.
3. They are new learning tools that are better than paper and pencil.
4. I can see other student’s writing and it helps me to generate new ideas for my own writing.
5. I can contact friends and teachers for help with my homework.
6. I am more engaged in my learning at school, it is fun.
7. Helps me feel more social.
8. I gain more confidence in my school work and my relationships.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there were students who did respond negatively as well. Though all of these statements are powerful coming from middle schoolers, my favorite is “I can see other student’s writing and it helps me to generate new ideas for my own writing.” This is a very powerful statement coming from a middle school student. Students need to see models and plenty of them so they can be more guided in their writing. This particular student was referring to our Wiki page where my students have their e-portfolios. We even discussed in class how writers look to other writers for help and ideas.
I am truly blessed with the thoughtfulness that my students put into their journal writings yesterday. I was pleasantly surprised how critical they thought about their writing and how they showed both sides of the topic, not just the negative impact social media has on students. We see too much of the negative side of social media through the news when we need to see the benefits it has to our students and to us as teachers.