Digital Social Teaching

Twitter 6x6

Twitter 6×6 (Photo credit: Steve Woolf)

Teaching in the 21st century, wired into social media and working in a 1:1 laptop school, has fundamentally shaped me as a teacher in ways that make me so grateful to have the job I have, when and where I have it. A related milestone I never made time to blog about this year happened fairly recently: I had a piece published on the ReadWriteThink website! I have used this wonderful resource as inspiration for many lesson plans and projects over the years, and am thrilled to contribute my experience with Making Friends with Holden Caulfield. This is just another chapter in how I try to find creative ways to integrate social media and digital tools and activities into my lessons and work with students.

The most popular entries on my blog, year after year, continue to be the two posts I wrote about another similar project: the original Gatsby Facebook Project post and a post I wrote to update and expand some of the ideas and resources I mentioned. That second post mentions an article I co-authored on Digital Scaffolding, which discussed the Gatsby project as well as a project on explicating sonnets using Voicethread. In years past, I tested out a lesson plan from ReadWriteThink using the language of texting to imagine new scenes and moments in The Catcher in the Rye, and used blogging when teaching Catcher as well as Hamlet. When I was still adjuncting, I taught courses on Facebook culture and the implications. Clearly, this is a thread that runs through my teaching, inspiring me as I look ahead.

But beyond what I’ve implemented in my classroom, I’ve also been so inspired by the resources at my fingertips, sites like EDSITEment from the National Endowment for the Humanities,, The Poetry Foundation, and ReadWriteThink. Whenever I tackle a new text or plan a new course, like my fast-approaching elective on Latin American literature, I make sites like this my first stop for ideas, plans and seeds for exploration. I follow amazing educators like Traci Gardner, Jim Burke and Carol Jago on Twitter, and get updates and links from NCTE and Web English Teacher there too. I check in on group blogs like ProfHacker and love the conversations at the English Companion Ning. Individual blogs like Treasure Chest of Thoughts, What Now? and Confessions from the Couch not only teach me about activities and tools like foldables, but provide camaraderie and company on days when I need a boost or some validation.

Do I read every post or follow every link? Of course not, but it all provides a fruitful atmosphere to get my own brain churning and stimulated. Sometimes I get overwhelmed thinking of all the things I could be doing, which is too often followed by guilt over what I’m not doing, but that’s life in the digital age, right? When I try to imagine my life as a teacher any other way, I know it’s worth whatever I have to do to keep a better balance between inspiration and overload when I think about digital social teaching and learning.

2 thoughts on “Digital Social Teaching

  1. Pingback: Gutters, Frames, and Persepolis | A Patchwork Life

  2. Pingback: 2013 in Review | A Patchwork Life

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