Moving at the Speed of Creativity by Wesley Fryer

Understanding the value of social media use for literacy development

Students in my “Technology 4 Teachers” class watched and reflected on the EduTopia Digital Generation Youth Profile video for Cameron last week.

I wrote the following as a comment on one of my student’s blogs:

 My favorite quotation from your post was, “If more students like Cameron could find a way to use their technology as more of an education purpose versus an social network they might be better off.” That is exactly right! I think we have an obligation as teachers, parents, and responsible adults in our communities to help students learn constructive ways to create and share digital media. Cameron is a great example of this, as you point out. This is a big motivation behind the Storychasers nonprofit I’ve helped start here in Oklahoma.

It is also important to keep in mind that as students read and write with greater frequency when they are on social networks, this can have positive impacts on their literacy skills. Sometimes we just hear and read headlines like, “Isn’t it horrible kids are losing handwriting skills,” or “Isn’t it bad kids use abbreviations when they send text messages.” It’s important we help students learn how to communicate appropriately for different contexts. Overall, I think the increase in social media use is a good thing for communication and literacy skills, and there is research “out there” which supports that contention. The April 2008 PEW Research Report “Writing, Technology and Teens” is one example.