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Social media plays a good and bad role in schools

Updated: Wednesday, August 28 2013, 07:52 AM CDT
Reported by: Brandie Meng
Posted by: Sara Small (

There are some great things about social media.

On the flipside, bad habits can form quickly.

In this age of instant information, students have a wealth of resources at their fingertips.

This can be great when learning and researching for papers.

However, it can be hard to forget that good old fashion proofreading will never go out of fashion.

Sixth grade Halifax teacher, Heather Fratz, says she clearly explains the boundaries between social writing and formal writing.

As a teacher she knows connecting with her students is key, so there are times when the lesson content is more important than the grammar.

In that case, she will use the concept of Twitter, and have the students create a summary with 140 characters; a so called "tweet" where spelling doesn't count.

"They can share with me their tweet. They are allowed to use the R's and the U's" because she says there's an educational purpose behind it.

As the students progress through middle school and  high school, the lines of where social media is acceptable can once again become confusing.

Halifax High School English teacher, Christopher Ruff, says he too sees how social media is crossing over into school work.

"I actually had a student who tried to use a tweet as a documented source in a paper."

While he would prefer his students actually go back to the original source than use a tweet, he is teaching his students how to properly site sources like Twitter.

"MLA is catching up. They do have a way to document tweets and blogs and electronic media."

As technology continues to change, Ruff says educators need to keep up.

"My generation, we saw it with spell checker. We weren't as good spellers. New can pick a word and kids aren't having to spell the entire word."

In this quicker, faster world of social media, Ruff sees how bad habits can cross over into the area where more attention to detail needs to be paid.

"They might be typing faster and you don't edit tweets, probably not as much."

But he also sees that social media isn't just creating bad habits, there are good things happening too.

"I think kids are reading and writing more than ever, the average kid, because of social media. Lets just hope they are reading and writing the right things."

Social media plays a good and bad role in schools

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