Schools Should Harness, Not Ban Social Networks
'Meet kids where they live: online'
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 28, 2009 8:20 AM CST
Students use a computer in the classroom.   (Shutter Stock)

(Newser) – Schools that ban teachers and students from social media may think they're keeping classrooms safe from the harassment, bullying and exploitation of social networks, but actually they're missing a chance to harness the tremendous energy kids devote to social media, Nicholas Bramble writes on Slate. By bringing Facebook, MySpace and YouTube into the classroom, teachers can channel this energy toward schoolwork, Bramble says.

Teachers can use social networks to engage disconnected kids, to give at-risk teens technical skills like video editing, and to improve their own technological skills so they can better fight online bullying. And students' tech expertise can also save schools money: Why not let kids build tools and apps for sharing classroom projects, Bramble asks, instead of shelling out for pricey software from private companies like Blackboard?