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Post ‘That’ on Your Facebook Page: The Challenges of Teaching in an Age of Social Media

Wednesday, Mar 11, 2020 | 12:00pm

Co-Sponsored by the Albert Shanker Institute and the American Federation of Teachers

Wired: Students, Teachers, Classrooms, Schools.

Tired: Teachers trying to figure it all out

Seemingly ubiquitous social media pervades our daily lives and connects us in qualitatively different ways than we have ever been linked before. Schools are one of the public institutions where social media is most pervasive. Ever since the 1960s, if not before, youth have been on the cutting edge of new and innovative technologies, especially ones that allow for peer interaction without an adult presence. And youth have brought social media into our schools with a vengeance.

It is not hard to identify the challenges that come with social media. It can produce more intense forms of the negative behavior that teachers and schools have always confronted, particularly online bullying, precisely because this behavior happens in fora where adults are unaware and unable to step in. It has also introduced new practices, such as sexting and the online publication of salacious photographs, which impulsive adolescents may do without considering the long-term harm they do to themselves. What should be done to minimize and abate this damage?

On the other hand, there may be important upsides to social media in schools. Is it possible to use student fascination with social media in ways that could advance learning? Social media can make it possible to learn and share new information, interact in online communities, gain access to different points of view and challenge entrenched viewpoints. What are the lessons and experiments that can move the field forward?

From the perspectives of scholars of the subject and classroom teachers on the front lines, our panel will discuss all sides of the prevalence of social media in our schools.


Monica Anderson, Associate Director of Research, Pew Research Center

Neema Avashia, Civics Teacher, Boston Public Schools; a Boston Educator of the Year, 2013.

Christine Greenhow, Associate Professor, Michigan State University, Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology and Special Education.

Moderator: Asher Huey, Digital Manager, American Federation of Teachers.

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