“Hold on while I tweet that.” “Do you follow her blog?” “What’s the IG hashtag?”
The language of today’s students and their tools of communication no longer include pen and paper or even a traditional telephone. Social Media is the way information is shared and there are right ways and wrong ways to do it.
Florida Virtual School (FLVS®) now offers a course in Social Media as a Language Arts elective. This is a new course code proposed by FLVS and approved by the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE). In addition to the curriculum content, there is a strong emphasis on the eradication of online negativity that has reached epidemic proportions as the use of online communication has grown.
A 2010 study done by the Cyberbullying Research Center among more than 4,000 children and teens found that 20.8 percent of them have been cyberbullied in their life, 17 percent had been cyberbullied at least once in the previous 30 days, 13.3 percent have been cyberbullied by rumors online and 14.3 percent have been cyberbullied by mean or hurtful comments online. The problem is not whether they will come in contact with some form of cyberbullying but when.
“Because the computer and the digital world is our students’ classroom, FLVS and the FLDOE are keenly aware of our responsibility to promote positive behavior and choices online,” said Julie Young, president and CEO of FLVS. “This course was developed in part to address both online opportunities and responsibilities.”
The social media course does not address how to use popular social media applications. Rather, the curriculum focuses on more global issues surrounding the use of social media. Students are encouraged to recognize that the world of social media revolves around them and their actions, decisions, and interests. They will be encouraged to find authenticity and truth within an online world, and will learn how their digital footprints make a bigger impression than physical ones. The focus on responsibility stresses their roles as citizen journalists and the impact social media has had in creating historical changes around the globe.
“The Social Media course is really showing 21st century learners what it means to have an online presence and a digital footprint,” said Colton Tapoler, FLVS Social Media and English teacher. “Students are sharing that they are excited to use it to create positive changes in our community.”
About Florida Virtual School
Florida Virtual School (FLVS) is an established leader in developing and providing virtual Kindergarten-12 education solutions to students all over Florida, the United States and the world. A nationally recognized e- Learning model and recipient of numerous awards, FLVS was founded in 1997 and was the country’s first, statewide Internet-based public high school. Today, FLVS serves students in grades Kindergarten-12 and provides a variety of custom solutions for schools and districts to meet student needs. For more information on FLVS, visit www.flvs.net.