Before studying social networking, I knew what it was, but I did not have an account and I had not given a whole lot of thought to using it with students. I had considered having high school students use this tool to discuss teen suicide, but I had not had the opportunity to actually try the lesson. Even though I still have not actually used the lesson plan with
students, I have a good feeling about trying this format with 5thgrade students to discuss bullying. Bullying is not specifically covered in the PE standards but it a school/social problem that we as teachers need to address and discuss whenever the opportunity arises. I am curious to see how kids will react to the lesson. Will they be hesitant and not want to interact? Or will using the computer to communicate their feelings and experiences lead to more interaction from more kids? My guess is that I would get responses from more kids online than I would from kids in an open classroom discussion. I think I would need to make the posts and comments anonymous for kids to express their true feelings. I’m OK with the kids not knowing who is saying what, but as the teacher I need to know what posts and comments are coming from which kids.
Another part of this lesson that I am curious to learn about is to see how many of my 5th graders are already familiar and comfortable with social networking. I’m sure some of them are using Facebook, but I'm also sure that all of them are not. I think student interest would be high. I feel I will have a high level of engagement from the class. The catch for many of them will be their interest in the topic I chose. Some kids will have opinions about bullying right away. Others will not jump in right away but I hope they will be enticed into commenting and posting as they see their classmates getting involved. I am also guessing that if I expose some of these kids to social networking who have never used this tool before, they will become more interested in using social networking for other reasons. I’m sure there are many kids, just like adults, who hear people talking about Facebook but have not taken the step to figure out what it is all about. Kids are way braver than adults, but I need to remember that not all kids have equal access to technology, so some do not have experience using social networking because they haven’t had the chance, not because they don’t want to.