English Classes Use Facebook, Social Media to Teach Writing

The growth of social media and online publishing tools has helped innovative teachers align curriculum and instruction with new technology.

facebook_logoAs students drive the growth of social media like Facebook and Twitter, educators have begun to align their efforts with the media students know best. In California’s North County, middle school students at San Marcos Unified School District are using social media to share and showcase their writing, reports SignOnSanDiego:

Sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders in the San Marcos Unified School District create web pages on a password-protected district site to showcase their essays, poems and book reports, as well as post photos, videos and audio clips to augment their presentations.

Rather than just the teacher reading student work, an entire class can read, review and give feedback on other students’ writing:

“With social networking, they share their work with a whole class. They care a lot more about it and are willing to do things to make it special,” said Allen Teng, a Woodland Park Middle School teacher on special assignment who provides classroom support for the program.

Curricula has also adapted directly to online media, with lessons about web design, photographs and site editing. Teachers say that implementing these elements of the web are critical to student learning, as they’ll be important parts of how students consume media for the rest of their lives.

Using social media and online publishing has helped serve students who otherwise wouldn’t have participated as much in a traditional classroom environment:

The technology gives shy students an easier way to participate in classroom discussions, allowing them to type feedback in a chat session instead of having to raise their hand to offer opinions.

The district has seen gains in California Standards Test scores at the three schools, with seventh-graders’ writing scores improving from 64.6 percent in 2008-09 to 80.3 percent in 2009-10.

Though San Marcos Unified is one of many districts nationwide who are embracing online tools as a way to augment classroom instruction, most have been slow to adopt the technology.


  1. Jason West

    Very interesting and makes great sense. My company has developed ESL course materials that utilise Facebook and Skype to improve English speaking skills. We have done some audio case studies and the results are very impressive. One Chinese beginner went from beginner to intermediate (3 levels) in just six lessons. We call our course, English Out There a social media English course. You can listen to the case studies here: http://englishoutthere.com/listen

  2. HirokoJoya

    Well,i think this is also a good idea to let the things happen in appropriate manner.

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June 2nd, 2011

Staff Reporter EducationNews.org

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