The Social Classroom: Exploring How Social Media Is Being Used As A Literacy Teaching Tool In Grades K-12

Open Access
Author:
Flecha, Dulce-marie
Area of Honors:
English
Degree:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Dr Mya Poe, Thesis Supervisor
  • Lisa Ruth Sternlieb, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • social media
  • literacy
  • general education
  • education
  • education reform
  • internet
  • literacy sponsor
  • teaching
  • children
Abstract:
For my honors thesis I will examine various internet-based sources of literature in the hopes of gaining a better understanding of how the growing presence of new media has influenced the development of fiction written for children and young adults. How has the powerful wave of social media changed children’s literature? In what ways has the process of creating and consuming literature been altered by the expansion of new media? I will extend upon a project completed for a 400-level rhetoric course and apply traditional characteristics and theories of children’s literature to the growing pool of internet resources targeted at educating and developing literacy in school-aged children, such as PBSkids.com and KidsHealth.org, with an ultimate goal of cataloging and analyzing the methods used by organizations to promote literature and literacy in this particular age-group. According to a 2009 Nielsen Company report, the average American internet user spent 68 hours online per month between home and work. During this time the average 2009 American user would visit 2700 websites and average approximately 57 seconds per site. While these numbers are still significantly lower than the average time spent watching television, the study is further evidence of the incredible amount of information consumed through the constant presence of the internet. The goal of this project is to provide scholars with an in-depth study of one of many ways the development of new media has changed what it means to be literate in the 21st century. While the allure of new media lies in how different it seems from traditional means of promoting and establishing literature, I anticipate finding more similarities than differences as I continue this project. I predict that the most significant change provided by new media is the role of the interactive element it offers to contemporary young readers; the line between producers and consumers of content has never been so blurred, and the ability to communicate directly with both the authors and the other readers could have changed reading into a much less solitary experience.