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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