LEARNING CONNECTIONS |
Historical and ctional character sites.
Students who are studying a certain
historical time period or reading a novel
can create their own persona from that
time period or book and build a MySpace page around their alter ego.
Students research their character
and integrate content from the book
and time period. For a historical gure,
they research their stance on political,
religious, and other issues of the day
to integrate into their MySpace pages.
When students set up their pro les,
they set them up as if they were really
Huckleberry Finn or George Washington. A good example of using historical characters is a page created by Byrd
Middle School in Henrico, Virginia,
called Medieval Space.
Online businesses. Many businesses are
creating MySpace pro les. A potential
project for an economics or business
class is to have students “start up”
their own business and use MySpace
as a way to promote the business and
discuss business issues. It would be
easy for students to conduct marketing surveys on MySpace, as social networking sites encourage participation
and collaboration. To avoid giving out
personal information for the pro le,
students create a ctional character to
promote the product.
Student help and safety lines. My Space
has the potential to serve as a student
help or safety line. O en teenage stu-
dents are afraid to ask questions or ask
for help when they need more infor-
mation. Teachers can set up and
monitor MySpace sites that are
managed by former
students. I ran across
an interesting MySpace
math help group where any-
one can get assistance with
Schools can set up a
MySpace teen help line where
If students want to set up a business, look for a job, or maybe even
interview for a job using a social network, they need to understand
how to communicate in a professional manner.
teenagers can discuss and get infor- manner. is includes text communi-mation concerning topics such as cation, pro les, and images including
suicide, pregnancy, abuse, bullying, video. Teachers could even establish a
and other issues that they may be too mentorship between students and com-embarrassed to talk about. Again, the munity professionals who share similar
students could be anonymous, and interests. Students can learn to use My
it could be run by older and trained Space as a working résumé. Students are
teens who may have struggled with going to continue to play in these online
these issues themselves. Of course, communities. e least educators can
trained counselors should monitor do is give them the appropriate tools
the students. and knowledge to play safely.
Access to public libraries. Many public
libraries have created MySpace pages
that contain a variety of literacy activities and ideas for young adults, including Ask a Librarian, Homework Help,
previews of new books, and videos about library-related issues. Most of the
libraries’ pages o er tips on Internet
safety and access to their catalogs.
Access to nonpro t organizations. ere
are many organizations that have
their own MySpace pages. Because
MySpace is interactive and collaborative, students conducting research can
ask questions and get feedback about
their studies. Not only can students
research organizations around the
world, but they may be inspired to
create MySpace pages for fundrais-ing and to promote their own local
charities. An example of a student-run
nonpro t charity on MySpace is e
Suitcase Clinic, a humanitarian group
devoted to providing health care for
Lifelong professional tools. Using social
networks is an opportunity to teach students how to interact and communicate
with professionals in a socially collaborative environment. If students want
to set up a business, look for a job, or
maybe even interview for a job using a
social network, they need to understand
how to communicate in a professional
Club Penguin: www.clubpenguin.com/
Davis’s Web site: www.sitemaker.umich.edu/
Medieval Space: www.byrdmiddle.org/richard3/
Me, MySpace, and I: Parenting the Net Generation, Larry Rosen, PhD., Palgrave Macmillan.
MySpace library index: www.libsuccess.org/
MySpace math help group: http://groups.
MySpace nonpro t organizations: www.
MySpace teen author index: www.yalibrarian.
MySpace Watch: www.MySpace Watch.com
Teens, Privacy, and Online Social Networks:
How teens manage their online identities and
personal information in the age of MySpace;
Lenhart, A., & Madden, M.; Pew Internet and
American Life Project. (2007): www.pew
e Suitcase Clinic: http://groups.myspace.
e Way Back Machine Internet Archives:
Wired Safety: www.wiredsafety.org/
Liz Kolb, a former secondary
social studies teacher and technology coordinator, is nishing
her doctorate in learning technologies at the University of
Michigan. Additionally, she is an
adjunct professor at Madonna
University in Livonia. Her book, Toys to Tools, was
released this fall (ISTE, 2008).