Saturday, February 5, 2011

How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Words...

One of the benefits of incorporating sites like Facebook and Twitter into the educational setting is requiring students to narrow down their thoughts and focus on main ideas. One of the challenges in ELA is getting students to recognize the difference between main ideas and insignificant details. Using a word limit such as what is used on either of these social media sites can really focus students on synthesizing material instead of retelling an entire text.

Again, as I have many concerns with teachers being associated with students on these sites, this is something that can be easily adapted into the curriculum without having to go online. Having students summarize in 140 words or less is a simple requirement that can be added to any assignment. I can see this working well in collaborative groups as group members can help each other in identifying the big ideas and weeding through excess information to reduce the word count. This would be a great challenge as I know when I exceed the word limit on Facebook, I really have to think about what it is I'm trying to say, and what the best way to get that point across is. This strategy would also create automatic buy-in as students respond well to challenges, and this brings almost a game-like element to the work.

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