“As long as I See You on Facebook I Know You Are Safe”: Social Media Experiences as Humanizing Pedagogy

  • Daniel G. KrutkaEmail author
  • Kenneth T. Carano


Understanding different peoples and cultures is a central aim of education for global citizenship. Unfortunately, many social studies courses emphasize the academic acquisition of content knowledge, but fail to offer opportunities for students to develop personal, humanizing connections with people of different cultures. Fortunately, the rise of social media like Facebook and Skype offer new possibilities for global connections. In this case study, the authors explore the interactions of 16 students enrolled in a middle/high school social studies pedagogy course and 16 counterparts in the Gaza Strip via Skype and Facebook. The authors interpreted these mediated experiences through the lens of Lan’s framework for democratic media literacy, including media literacy conceptions like transmedia judgment, mediated identity reflection, and social action with/through new media. The authors hope this chapter will offer social studies teacher educators’ insights for cultivating humanizing experiences appropriate to their contexts.


Global citizenship Social media Media literacy Social studies education Humanization 


  1. Aufderheide, P. (1993). National Leadership Conference on Media Literacy. Report presented at the National Conference on Media Literacy. Washington, DC: Aspen Institute.Google Scholar
  2. Barton, K. C., & Levstik, L. S. (2004). Teaching history for the common good. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  3. Beniger, J. R. (1986). The control revolution: Technological and economic origins of the information society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Briggs, J., & Peat, D. F. (1999). Seven life lessons of chaos: Spiritual wisdom from the science of change. New York: Harper Collins.Google Scholar
  5. Capra, F. (1996). The web of life: A new scientific understanding of living systems. New York: Anchor.Google Scholar
  6. Carano, K. T., & Stuckart, D. W. (2013). Blogging for global literacy and cross-cultural awareness. In L. Nganga, J. Kambutu, & W. B. Russell III (Eds.), Exploring globalization opportunities and challenges in social studies: Effective instructional approaches (pp. 179–196). New York: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  7. Carpenter, J. P., & Krutka, D. G. (2014). How and why educators use Twitter: A survey of the field. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 46(4), 414–434.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Clinton, K., Jenkins, H., & McWilliams, J. (2013). New literacies in an age of participatory culture. In H. Jenkins & W. Kelley (Eds.), Reading in a participatory culture: Remixing Moby-Dick in the English classroom (pp. 3–23). New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  9. Cochran-Smith, M., & Lytle, S. L. (1993). Inside/outside: Teacher research and knowledge. New York: Teachers College Columbia University.Google Scholar
  10. Cuban, L. (1986). Teachers and machines: The classroom use of technology since 1920. New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  11. Cuban, L. (2001). Oversold and underused: Computers in the classroom. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Evans, R. W. (2004). The social studies wars: What should we teach the children? New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  13. Freire, P. (1970). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York: Continuum.Google Scholar
  14. Gee, J. P. (2004). Situated language and learning: A critique of traditional schooling. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  15. Hobbs, R. (2010). Digital and media literacy: A plan of action. Washington, DC: The Aspen Institute.Google Scholar
  16. Jenkins, H., Clinton, K., Purushotma, R., Robison, A. J., & Weigel, M. (2006). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century. Chicago, IL: The MacArthur Foundation.Google Scholar
  17. Jenkins, H. (2006). Convergence culture: Where old and new media collide. New York City: NYU Press.Google Scholar
  18. Jenkins, H. (2009, May 1). “‘Geeking Out’ for Democracy (part one),” Confessions of an Aca-Fan: The official Weblog of Henry Jenkins. Retrieved from
  19. Journell, W., Ayers, C. A., & Beeson, M. W. (2013). Joining the conversation: Twitter as a tool for student political engagement. The Educational Forum, 77(4), 466–480.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kaplan, A. M., & Haenleinm, M. (2010). Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of social media. Business Horizons, 53(1), 61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Krutka, D. G., & Milton, M. K. (2013). The Enlightenment meets twitter: Using social media in the social studies classroom. Ohio Social Studies Review, 50(2), 22–29.Google Scholar
  22. Lan, C. F. (2013). Democratic education in the new media era: Toward a framework for democratic media literacy. Ohio Social Studies Review, 50(1), 51–62.Google Scholar
  23. Lee, V. R., Shelton, B. R., Walker, A., Caswell, T., & Jensen, M. (2012). Retweeting history: Exploring the intersection of microblogging and problem-based learning for historical reenactments. In K. K. Seo & D. A. Pellegrino (Eds.), Designing problem-driven instruction with online social media (pp. 23–40). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.Google Scholar
  24. Maguth, B. M., & Yamaguchi, M. (2013). The use of social networks in the social studies for global citizenship education: Reflecting on the March 11, 2011 disaster in Japan. The Georgia Social Studies Journal, 3(2), 80–93.Google Scholar
  25. Martorella, P. H. (1997). Technology and the social studies–or: Which way to the sleeping giant? Theory and Research in Social Education, 25(4), 511–514.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Mason, L., & Metzger, S. A. (2012). Reconceptualizing media literacy in the social studies: A pragmatist critique of the NCSS position statement on media literacy. Theory and Research in Social Education, 40(4), 436–455.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. National Council for the Social Studies. (2009). Media literacy: A position statement of the National Council for the Social Studies. Social Education, 73(4), 187–189.Google Scholar
  28. O’Brien, J., Ellsworth, T. M., Barker, T. W., Lawrence, N., Green, K., & Bechard, B. (2014). Online synchronous discussions, middle school students and mock UN security council. In W. B. Russell (Ed.), Digital social studies (pp. 197–216). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.Google Scholar
  29. Postman, N. (1992). Technopoly: The surrender of culture to technology. New York: Knopf.Google Scholar
  30. Reich, J., Levinson, M., & Johnston, W. (2011). Using online social networks to foster preservice teachers’ membership in a networked community of praxis. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 11(4), 382–397.Google Scholar
  31. Rheingold, H. (2012). Net smart: How to thrive online. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  32. Richardson, L. (1994). Writing: A method of Inquiry. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of qualitative research (pp. 516–529). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  33. Roberts, S. L., & Butler, B. M. (2014). Consumers and producers in the social studies classroom: How Web 2.0 technology can break the cycle of “teachers and machines”. In W. B. Russell (Ed.), Digital social studies (pp. 147–166). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.Google Scholar
  34. Starkey, L. (2012). Teaching and learning in the digital age. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Teacher EducationTexas Woman’s UniversityDentonUSA
  2. 2.Teacher EducationWestern Oregon UniversityMonmouthUSA

Personalised recommendations