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Incognito Project-Based Learning for a 21st-century Summer - Part Three

If the last two ideas weren’t in your students’ alley, check out the appeal of this social media gem. (If you missed the last two, be sure to check out Part One and Part Two of this series!)

This last idea comes in two parts - use one or the other, or combine both. Make it your own!


(this is a new one…)

They’re going to either beg to be on it or they already are, but using that time productively can be an asset in your favor. Plus, it might give you a peek as to what they’re doing on social media and how they’re processing the information. You might also take this time to learn more about safety precautions for your kids online. Check out @cyberfareedah - Fareedah Shaheed will blow your mind with her knowledge (plus she’s an award-winning cybersecurity expert!

This idea can be split into two parts: analyze experts or be the expert.

Analyze Experts - Who or what are your kiddos following online? This invites the conversation either broaching the topic of using social media if they’re first-timers or invites an open dialogue about your boundaries for exploration online. What kinds of topics do they follow online? You won’t believe the niches available!

Have them tell you about the influencer (discussing what an influencer is) and if they can’t, ask them to find out more. What makes this person stand out amongst the other influencers in this topic? Why are they more valid and believable than their counterparts? What makes their posting succeed? How are they speaking to people and why are people watching?

All of these questions put that worm in their brain, so that they’ll use the evaluative techniques they came up with to scrutinize influencers in the future. Be sure to also show them Wayback Machine, where you can see everything websites posted from the moment they came onto the online scene until now!

Be the Expert

Once well-versed in online etiquette, you can dip your students’ toes in the water by allowing them to create an informational account. If you’re willing to have them be on camera, they can share information that they found in a variety of ways online, with social media posts and stories. This can be kept a private account or a public account, but it’s a great way to get them presenting without the anxiety of an audience. How well can they educate others about a certain topic that has caught their interest? YouTube is a great avenue for this type of endeavor, as they would practice video editing and photography techniques while also providing valuable content to the general public with a purpose.

Even more advanced writers could write as a persona - as the family pet or a doll or an inanimate object. This creates humor and keeps their faces off of the screen. It’s also a writing technique called personification that allows them to humanize an object or non-speaking being.

Combine this with one of the other two activities in this series, and you’ve got enough to keep them busy this summer while learning real-world, 21st-century skills in the process.

Accommodations: Many students are drawn to videos, watching them over and over again. This can be an opportunity to find out what they like about the video. Open the dialogue and discuss what they like, dislike, and what could make it better. This gives you a chance to explore more and help introduce new ideas and areas related to their current fixation.

Extension: Have them develop a code of standards for social media influencers, analyzing some of the most popular or just the ones that they follow in a specific area, and draw similarities while also identifying differences. What code of ethics should be followed? Who follows it best? Why are these rules important?

Fill in the empty spaces with worthwhile learning activities that will support students in their modern futures while still providing lots of space for conversation and entertainment for the whole family!

Pass these ideas on to parents for ways to give themselves a break while also supporting academic stability.


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