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Summary post by Abdu and Suha
19 Posts
November 29, 2021 - 11:46 am

This week’s reading dealt with the importance of having policies on using social media in the classroom, policies that need to be formulated depending on the research that is conducted by how the stakeholders (learners and teachers) use them and find them to be beneficial in their learning and teaching journeys. After reading through the posts, there are two clear strains that are seen across them.

The first strain talks about how teachers need necessary training in the effective use of social media in their classrooms. Abdu talks about how teachers can use these platforms to not just build “their professional learning but also classroom effectiveness” (Greenhow et al.2019). Betul talks about how “policymakers should concentrate on how to effectively integrate digital technologies in education, instead of restricting technology use because of potential risks.” Suha’s argument in agreement with Betul says that the school and outside world are two distinct entities is problematic because education is, after all, supposed to prepare individuals for their navigation of the outside world. Therefore looking at school not as a subset of the world(Ahn et al., 2011), but in isolation was perhaps not the best idea.” Therefore, policy on the use of social media needs to combine the understanding of how it is beneficial for students as well as teachers, and how teachers need to be equipped with the right skills and tools that enable them to use them effectively in their classrooms.

The second train that comes up in the posts is that of techno-ethics. Jeong talks about how “algorithms that drive the social media are assumed to be value-neutral (Akgun & Greenhow, 2021), because “these algorithms are hidden or opaque to most users (Krutka et al., 2020, p. 5)”. To take this point forward, Suha’s point about the field of techno-ethics being underdeveloped shows how there is a need for more robust academic inquiries in the field. Betul makes a point about the NYT article that talks about how children below the ages cannot legally have accounts on social media platforms, and since this is the case, how can we legally include these platforms in our elementary schools?

Following these two strains, we have come up with a few questions for us to discuss in class:
1. What are some of the teacher training ideas that we can implement in order to build their digital literacy skills in the effective use of social media in their classrooms of middle school and above?
2. Many say that some aspects of the social networks are not suitable for children, and therefore there are problems with their application in the formal education process. What features do you think should be considered by designers/developers in order to solve this issue?
3. Since the current social media platforms are developed keeping profit margins in mind, how can we build new social media platforms that will be ethically relevant for use in schools?

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