Teachers as Change Agents to Support Benefits of Social Media


kidsMobilePhoneTaken from a recent essay I wrote about 3 factors influencing youth and related to my previous post: Social Media has Benefits for Youth 

There are socio-emotional benefits for youth when participating in social media; however, the overly-reported risks online has caused fear resulting in limited social media use in schools and disapproval by parents and the community (Ahn, 2011; Valenzuela et al., 2009).  Teachers that recognise and are knowledgeable about social media benefits encourage its use and integrate the technology (Ertmer & Ottenbreit-Leftwich, 2010) in authentic teaching environments that value student beliefs, relationships and behaviours while also pro-actively educating students about ethical and safe Internet use.  Knowledgeable and culturally aware teachers may work as change agents to educate through Internet-use practices (Ertmer & Ottenbreit-Leftwich, 2010) to help minimise the cultural digital divide (Ahn, 2011) and increase the social connectedness and social capital of youth (Ellison et al., 2007; Valenzuela et al., 2009).  This may also benefit students who display low self-esteem and low life-satisfaction resulting in increases of positive socio-emotional functioning (Ahn, 2011; Bargh & McKenna, 2004; Ellison et al., 2007).

Ahn, J. (2011). The effect of social network sites on adolescents’ social and academic development: current theories and controversies. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 62(8), 1435-1445.

Bargh, J. A., & McKenna, K. Y. A. (2004). The internet and social life. Annual Review of Psychology, 55, 573-590.

Ellison, N. B., Steinfield, C., & Lampe, C. (2007). The benefits of facebook “friends:” social capital and college students’ use of online social network sites. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 12(4), 1143-1168.

Ertmer, P. A., & Ottenbreit-Leftwich, A. T. (2010). Teacher technology change: how knowledge, confidence, beliefs, and culture intersect. Journal of Research on Technlogy in Education, 42(3), 255-284.

Valenzuela, S., Park, N., & Kee, K. F. (2009). Is there social capital in a social network site?: facebook use and college students’ life satisfaction, trust, and participation. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 14(4), 875-901.


4 comments on “Teachers as Change Agents to Support Benefits of Social Media

  1. Kaufman's Kavalkade says:

    Ivon tweeted you, and I like his recommendations so here we are with a follow. Cheers.


  2. […] A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to deliver a presentation to some of my colleagues (teachers at a Queensland State High School).  I have been working hard to collaborate with teachers and to share my ICT knowledge and skills. To be honest, I have been a bit overwhelmed by the massive gap in ICT capabilities and implementation between my own teaching and most of my colleagues. This legitmises a lot of what I had wrote about in the past couple of years regarding schools needing to hire beginning teachers who approach their jobs as “change agents“. […]


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