Monday, May 27, 2024


030115i-Reynol-JuncoSince social media crackdowns go over about as well in schools and family life as they do in politically roiled oligarchies, parents and educators will be comforted by the name of Reynol Junco’s seminar Wednesday: “Social media will not eat your children.”

Junco, of Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, speaks at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Cambridge Friends School on a theme he’s been sounding for years. He continues to research the effect of social media such as Facebook and Twitter on students and learning – a paper on “Student class standing, Facebook use and academic performance” is in the latest issue of the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology – and last year published the book “Engaging Students Through Social Media.”

It’s not just analysis. It’s a how-to.

In the school’s description of the seminar, Rey will explain how social networks can be used to not only disseminate general school information, but also to provide a platform for schools to improve engagement, academic performance and persistence among students.

Since youth already use social media for informal learning, Rey will talk about how educators can help promote these uses, minimize the negative ones and incorporate social media into formal learning settings, according to the school.

“In K-12 settings, teachers are forbidden to use social media with students and these sites and services are often blocked on campuses. It’s a subtle way of sending a message that the only reason teachers would use social media with students is to cross the boundaries of the professional relationship,” Junco told last year. “Continuing to have such fear or animosity toward social technologies makes us miss great opportunities to meet students where they are.”

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Junco’s free talk on “Social media will not eat your children” is at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Cambridge Friends School, 5 Cadbury Road, in the Neighborhood 9 neighborhood. Information and registration is here. Seating is limited.