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Teaching “Against” Social Media: Confronting Problems of Profit in the Curriculum

by Daniel G. Krutka, Stefania Manca, Sarah M. Galvin, Christine Greenhow, Matthew J. Koehler & Emilia Askari - 2019

Educators increasingly teach with social media in varied ways, but they may do so without considering the ways in which social media corporations profit from their uses or compromise transparency, equity, health, safety, and democracy through the design of platforms. There is a lack of scholarship that addresses the curricular topics that educators might investigate to teach about social media platforms and the potential challenges they pose for education and society. In this article, we draw on sociotechnical theories that conceive of social media as microsystems to understand the relationship between users, education, and social media companies. We identify and describe five topics concerning social media design that educators can consider and investigate with students in a variety of settings: user agreements and use of data; algorithms of oppression, echo, and extremism; distraction, user choice, and access for nonusers; harassment and cyberbullying; and gatekeeping for accurate information. In each case, we suggest curricular possibilities for teaching about social media platforms that draw from intersections of curriculum, media, and educational studies.

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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 121 Number 14, 2019, p. -
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 23046, Date Accessed: 1/19/2020 2:34:47 AM

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About the Author
  • Daniel Krutka
    University of North Texas
    E-mail Author
    DANIEL G. KRUTKA is assistant professor of social studies education at the University of North Texas. His research interests explore social studies education and critical approaches to teaching with and about social media. He has recently coauthored research in teaching for digital mindfulness through social media diaries and fasts in Teaching and Teacher Education, and coedited a special issue in the Journal of Media Literacy Education on media literacy, democracy, and the challenge of fake news. He is also the lead editor of Keywords in the Social Studies: Concepts and Conversations, published in Peter Lang’s “Counterpoints: Studies in Criticality” series.
  • Stefania Manca
    Institute of Educational Technology, National Research Council of Italy
    E-mail Author
    STEFANIA MANCA is a researcher at the Institute of Educational Technology of the National Research Council of Italy. Her research interests are social media and social network sites in formal and informal learning, teacher education, professional development and digital scholarship, and student voice–supported participatory practices at school. Her recent work includes a contribution to the journal The Internet and Higher Education, “Snapping, Pinning, Liking or Texting: Investigating Social Media in Higher Education Beyond Facebook,” and a coauthored article in Publications, “Is There a Social Life in Open Data? The Case of Open Data Practices in Educational Technology research.” She is coeditor of the Italian Journal of Educational Technology.
  • Sarah Galvin
    Michigan State University
    E-mail Author
    SARAH GALVIN is a PhD student in the Educational Psychology and Educational Technology program at Michigan State University. Her research interests surround the intersection of social media and writer identity in adolescent learning. More specifically, she looks at how student authorship differs on social media compared to in the classroom and what implications this might have for writing pedagogy. Formally a public high school English teacher, Sarah’s current research is exploring adolescents’ writer identities across their social media platforms.
  • Christine Greenhow
    Michigan State University
    E-mail Author
    CHRISTINE GREENHOW is an associate professor in educational psychology and educational technology at Michigan State University. She studies various forms of learning with social media, the design of social-mediated environments for learning, and changes in scholarship practices with new media. Recent publications and projects can be found at www.cgreenhow.org.
  • Matthew Koehler
    Michigan State University
    MATTHEW J. KOEHLER is a professor of educational psychology and educational technology in the College of Education at Michigan State University. His work explores the pedagogical affordances (and constraints) of newer technologies for learning, the development and refinement of the Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) framework, and digital research methods for studying educational processes in social media and digital spaces. You can learn more about his work at http://matt-koehler.com.
  • Emilia Askari
    Michigan State University
    E-mail Author
    EMILIA ASKARI is a PhD student in the Educational Psychology and Educational Technology program at Michigan State University, a lecturer at the University of Michigan, and a former journalist at the Detroit Free Press. Her research interests include social media, education, and journalism. She was the recent lead author of “Youth, Learning and Social Media in K-12 Education: The State of the Field,” published in the proceedings of the International Society of the Learning Sciences.
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