Photo from FacebookReally enjoyed the piece: Fifth Period Is Facebook: Why schools should stop blocking social network sites by Nicholas Bramble over on Slate.com.
What do you think? Should Facebook be taught in the classroom?
It's kind of the age-old argument here: Is it better to outright ban popular but possibly detrimental trends and crazes or educate our teens about them so they can make more informed, and hopefully smarter, decisions?
Should we be glad teenagers are reading the Twilight series because hey, they're reading. Or should we ban the books because of their dark and mildly lustful themes? Should we teach teens to "just say no" or educate them on the adverse effects of using drugs and alcohol. Should we promote abstinence and/or offer sex education?
Personally, I advocate for education above banning (or ignoring) in most all of these scenarios. After all, just because you "ban" something like Facebook from the schools, it doesn't mean kids aren't using them at home, friends' houses, or on their cell phones between the lockers. In my high school, some of the meanest stuff went on right out in the open of our school newspaper. That doesn't mean the kids on the newspaper staff didn't benefit from the journalism class. It doesn't mean school newspapers should be banned. It does mean guidance might need to be taken up a notch.
I tend to think it's better to bring fads and crazes out into the light. Isn't it better to know what our kids are doing than to turn the other cheek and hope no one is getting hurt? When it comes to social media sites like Facebook, which can be used as tools for positive learning experiences (Bramble offers some great ideas for bringing social networking into the classroom), isn't it better to provide guidance toward healthy, constructive interactions? After all, the Internet isn't going anywhere. It's here to stay.
Of course, with our public schools in such a financial bind right now, it'll probably be near impossible to introduce social media studies right now. However, if there's a creative middle school or high school teacher out there with great ideas for putting a positive spin on the world of Facebook and MySpace, then I'm definitely open to the idea.
What do you think? Should we integrate Facebook and other social networking media into classroom teaching or keep it far, far away from our schools?