During my Master's course study at Drury University from 2001-2003, I wrote an essay about the influences of social media on image and self-esteem. At the time, I focused on music, movies and plays; however, there has been a huge shift in what is considered "social media". In 2010, we are faced with what was once unimaginable forms of communication and influence. Never did I think there would be internet network where I could find my friends from high school and catch up. Facebook has become a very large influence in the lives of the average high school student. I have found it very easy to reach them via facebook for important information about school activities and meetings. They check their facebook more than they check their phone messages or mailboxes. With the addition of Twitter, Skype and Blogs, students are communicating at a much different, much faster rate. Teacher's of the "old school" way of thinking and teaching are trying to FIGHT this phenomenon, but I am choosing to EMBRACE it. You cannot fight the changes of communication. I was taught, "an effective teacher must have 'withitness"--the nack of keeping their students engaged, not through what they teach but how they teach. With the evolution of communication, teachers must recognize, immerse and apply the "new school" way.
I am interested in how, even though they may be new or unknown practices, teachers are starting to incorporate these new mediums to engage their students in learning. Last semester I started a blog. I used it in one of my advanced acting class as an alternate way for students to apply material and theories learned in class. I think it worked out well, but I am still trying to figure out a way to engage ALL of my students in some type of social media response to materials.
I have a Facebook, I have a Twitter, I have a Skype account, I have a Blog... now I just have to figure out how to use them to advance my search!