Issue: 76% of American adults online use social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and Pinterest, as of July 2015, up from 26% in 2008. On social media sites like these, users may develop biographical profiles, communicate with friends and strangers, do research, and share thoughts, photos, music, links, and more.
Proponents: Proponents of social networking sites say that the online communities promote increased interaction with friends and family; offer teachers, librarians, and students valuable access to educational support and materials; facilitate social and political change; and disseminate useful information rapidly.
Opponents: Opponents of social networking say that the sites prevent face-to-face communication; waste time on frivolous activity; alter children’s brains and behavior making them more prone to attention issues; present safety hazards; and spread false and potentially dangerous information.
Is the impact of social media on students beneficial or harmful? In this task, students read a variety of informational texts and interview people who hold different opinions about whether social networking sites are beneficial or harmful for students. After participating in a protocol in which they practice debating both sides of the issue, students write an Op-Ed for a local newspaper in which they:
clearly state their opinion about the essential question.
support their opinion with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
clearly address opposing opinions.
construct a concluding statement or section that reinforces their opinion.
show substantial understanding of the issues surrounding the essential question.