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Aug 28 2015 - 11:16 AM
Hello! Hashtag Movements in the Classroom
First off, I'd like to say hello to everyone at EdLab! My name is Jenny and I just started earlier this week in the publishing division. I wanted to also say thank you to everyone who's been so kind and welcoming during this first week here. I guess I'll start off with a little about me: I'm originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan (Go Blue!), did my B.Sc. at McGill University in Montreal, and am currently in the M.A. Initial Certification program at TC for Biology 7-12. I'm also really into musical theater, comedy shows, and creative writing, and I am a firm believer in being able to eat breakfast foods at any hour of the day. But I also wanted to spend a bit of time talking about some recent news, specifically about a recent trending hashtag called "#MyAsianAmericanStory". The LA Times covered the story and focused specifically on Jason Fong, a high school student from California, who played a role in jumpstarting the hashtag, encouraging Asian Americans to share their stories following Jeb Bush's comments about how his remarks about "anchor babies" were primarily about Asian Americans. The term "anchor babies" refers to children who are born in the United States with non-citizen mothers with the intention of expediting their naturalization process. Why do I bring this up? Not only does it matter to me as an Asian American, but it also got me thinking as a future teacher. I took a course with Dr. Chris Emdin earlier this summer, and he spent some time talking about ways to organically incorporate social media into the classroom in a way that confers relevant educational value. As a high school student, Fong was able to initiate an enormous hashtag movement on Twitter—one that played a huge role in igniting discussion about immigration and race relations in the United States. I think both can be important topics in the classroom, and I also believe that teachers can use things like hashtags on Twitter, Vines, and blogs in their curriculum in order to actively engage students in conversation not only with each other, but also with the community at large. This can mean a local community, a cultural community, or even a nationwide community that these students might not have access to otherwise. Many teachers are very resistant to social media and smart phones in the classroom and will strictly prohibit the use of Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. However, Dr. Emdin raised the point in class that there are ways for teachers to harness students' enthusiasm and fluency for social media in productive, educational ways, and I think hashtag movements like #MyAsianAmericanStory and #BlackLivesMatter are prime examples. They are a great way for students to share their diverse experiences and read more about others' experiences in order to get a better understanding of the world around them. Of course, bringing social media into the classroom can be tricky, especially due to privacy concerns. Some students and parents can be wary about posting on social media, and it would be unfair to require all students to use Twitter to hold a public discussion about pressing social issues. However, I think there are ways around it as well. For instance, students can sign up for private accounts to keep their tweets locked and only allow the teacher and fellow classmates to follow them. What do you guys think about using social media in the classroom? Do you think it can be a viable teaching tool and learning resource? Or do you think it should be kept outside the classroom?
|By: Jenny Shen|1639 Reads