The Internet has ruined high-school writing. Write the line on the board five hundred times like Bart Simpson. Remember and internalize it. Intone it in an Andy Rooney-esque grumble.
I’ve heard the line repeated by dozens of educators and laypeople. I’ve even said it myself.
Thankfully it is untrue.
As a high-school English teacher, I read well over a thousand student essays a year. I can report that complete sentences are an increasingly endangered species. I wearily review the point of paragraphs every semester. This year I tried and failed to spark a senior class protest against “blobs”—my pejorative term for essays lacking paragraphs. When I see a winky face in the body of a personal essay—and believe me, it has happened enough to warrant a routine response—I use a red pen to draw next to it a larger face with narrow, angry eyes and gaping jaws poised to chomp the offending emoticon to pieces Pac-Man-style. My students analyze good writing and discuss the effect of word choice and elegant syntax on an audience’s reading experience. The uphill battle is worth fighting, but I’m always aware that something more foreboding than chronic senioritis lines up in opposition.
However, while Facebook and Twitter have eroded writing conventions among my students, they have not killed the most important ingredients in personal writing: self-reflection and emotional honesty. For younger high school boys particularly, social networking has actually improved writing – not the product or the process, but the sensitivity and inward focus required to even begin to produce a draft that will eventually be worth editing.
Read more. [Image: Mary Altaffer/AP Photo]
Showing 149 posts tagged facebook
"Creative Technologist" Natalia Rojas has mapped the profile photos of Facebook’s 1,267,191,915 (and counting) users on just one web page. "The Faces of Facebook" is organized from top left to bottom right by the date each user joined Facebook, and in total creates a glitchy, vibrant, and awe-inspiring image. By clicking the location symbol and plugging in your Facebook credentials, you can pinpoint your place in the colorful mess, as well as the place of all your Facebook friends.
Is the profile we provide on Facebook a more accurate reflection of our personality than that gained by traditional methods used by psychologists?
- Keep it professional
- Make it safe
- Create a group or a page to connect with students without having to friend them
image via flickr:CC | mkhmarketing
Teens who post “partying” photos of themselves may unwittingly be promulgating risky behavior.
Specifically, USC investigators found that teenagers who see friends smoking and drinking alcohol in photographs posted on Facebook and Myspace are more likely to smoke and drink themselves.
“Our study shows that adolescents can be influenced by their friends’ online pictures to smoke or drink alcohol,” said Thomas W. Valente, Ph.D., the study’s principal investigator.
image via flickr:CC | DiegoMolano
This is what I have learned:
- A Facebook page creates a public presence online. Anyone on the Internet, even those that don’t have a Facebook account, can view this page. By default, comments can be viewed by anyone on the Internet. (Pineda)
- Students tend to be concerned about their online persona – saying something unintelligent is a big concern for them. (Selwyn) As a result, they are less likely to participate on a Facebook page than a closed group.
- Facebook groups resemble an online café with walls to the rest of the online community, allowing students to (a) chat in real-time, (b) discuss in virtual-time, and (c) share materials through straightforward file upload.
- Facebook groups can be open (public), closed (require administrator approval for joining and only members can read the posts), or secret (only members can see the group, who’s in it, and what what’s being posted).
- Students prefer a closed group. They are apprehensive about asking questions in open groups where their Facebook friends can judge them as scholastically inept. (Selwyn)
image via flickr:CC | birgerking
A new research study discovers Facebook connections can improve the confidence of first-generation college applicants and help them succeed.
“We are very excited by these findings, because they suggest that the kinds of interactions supported by Facebook and other social media can play a role in helping young people, especially those who are traditionally less likely to go to college, feel more confident about their ability to get into college and to succeed there,” said Nicole Ellison, Ph.D., associate professor at the U-M School of Information.
image via flickr:CC | stoneysteiner
Teen, on Facebook.
Where is the line of appropriate contact? As an educator, I would not want people posting items to my personal page nor calling me at home uninvited. How much training do we provide for our staffs about issues like this? Connecting with parents and students through personal pages? Are mandates and policies needed? Guidelines?
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“The conventional wisdom is that Facebook use is merely a time sink and leads to an assortment of negative consequences. But our research shows that it can be a psychologically meaningful activity that supplies a sense of well-being at a relatively deep level,” said co-author Dr. Jeff Hancock, Cornell professor of communication, and computer and information science.
“The extraordinary amount of time people spend on Facebook may be a reflection of its ability to satisfy ego needs that are fundamental to the human condition.”
While some begrudge the ubiquitous distraction of social media, others are using Facebook to build community in their classes. Hosting a class page, they say, promotes solidarity in large classes in particular, by providing a place where students who might not otherwise connect outside of class share digital flash cards and encourage each other to study harder.
“They’re not competing, they seem to be saying, ‘Look, we are in this together,’” says University of Kentucky psychology professor Jonathan Golding, PhD. He uses Facebook to answer questions about labs and assignments, highlight deadlines and post psychology humor and YouTube videos that reinforce course concepts for his classes. “As an instructor, that’s a very gratifying feeling.”
New research, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows that surprisingly accurate estimates of Facebook users’ race, age, IQ, sexuality, personality, substance use and political views can be inferred from automated analysis of only their Facebook Likes — information currently publicly available by default.
Models proved 88% accurate for determining male sexuality, 95% accurate distinguishing African-American from Caucasian American and 85% accurate differentiating Republican from Democrat. Christians and Muslims were correctly classified in 82% of cases, and good prediction accuracy was achieved for relationship status and substance abuse — between 65 and 73%.
But few users clicked Likes explicitly revealing these attributes. For example, less that 5% of gay users clicked obvious Likes such as Gay Marriage. Accurate predictions relied on ‘inference’ — aggregating huge amounts of less informative but more popular Likes such as music and TV shows to produce incisive personal profiles.