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RE: An Academic Use for Social Media

An illustration of a laptop with students sitting and standing on it, surrounded by icons that suggest social media

Lets face it, kids don't write letters anymore. In my experience, most adults don't either. The last letter I wrote was a few years ago, when I mailed a USB flash drive to a friend (before the days of Google Drive's unlimited file storage for education). I only included the letter as a joke. The letter was written like a Civil War era love letter. Something along the lines of 

"My dearest friend, though the miles that separate us are great, I feel closest to you now as I write this letter..." (It sounds better when read with a southern Civil War General style accent.)

So when kids practice writing by creating formal letters, its easy to see how this does not make much of a personal connection with a lot of students. What is the purpose of writing something that only the teacher (or a very limited audience) will actually see?

Whether we want them to or not, many of our students have an active presence on social media. This creates an opportunity to create more engaging lessons that increase student's written communication skills with a more authentic audience.

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"...half the teachers (surveyed) ... said that digital tools made it easier for students to write and that when using digital tools, students were more engaged and motivated to write."

You can leverage micro-writing—tweets, Instagram posts, and the like—to help students improve their communication and writing skills.

See the full article here

https://www.edutopia.org/article/academic-use-social-media

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