Social Role

Social Role Week 15 – Anchored in the past, alive to the future

As the ever-changing media moves forward, we have to understand how to set our students up for success in the future journalism industry and as civilians.  An aspect of new media is social media.  In “What Schools are Really Blocking When They Block Social Media” by S. Craig Watkins for, he states the benefits to incorporating social media into the curriculum and school day: “(1) to teach students about the inventive and powerful ways communities around the world are using social media, (2) for students and teachers to experience the educational potential of social media together, (3) for students to distribute their work with the larger world, and (4) for students to reimagine their creative and civic identities in the age of networked media.”  There are many benefits to embracing this new media in the journalism classroom and by blocking or banning it’s use, we are doing a disservice to our students, especially when it comes to teaching them about the future of news.

Something that we can do to encourage a future-looking curriculum in journalism is to focus on creating student-centered civics lessons.  In “Here come new sons and daughters of liberty,” author Nat Hentoff quotes Sandra Day O’Connor and Karen Theroux in their opinions of student centered education.  Both challenge schools to encourage civics-based instruction and lessons.  O’Connor states: “Schools should incorporate discussion of current local, national and international events into the classroom, particularly those that young people find important to their lives … Schools should offer opportunities for young people to get involved in their schools or communities outside of the classroom” and Theroux says: “ther research has shown that involving students in democratic deliberation has school-wide impact on civic knowledge and participation, including community service.” Hentoff concludes the article with: “The kind of reality-based learning that Theroux and O’Connor’s commission endorse will create citizens who find excitement, even fun, in thinking for themselves. It will also teach those politicians who represent them that their degree of independence and actual knowledge of issues will be regularly tested by the civic-minded students they serve who keep experiencing the Constitution from the inside.”  Our journalism programs need to keep in mind that they should be student driven and serve students and communities alike.


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