Carol-Josel-appleIn this era of selfies and emojis, it’s no surprise that, in a recent article, veteran elementary/middle school teacher Chrissy Romano-Arrabito says that picting–using images in place of text to convey thoughts and ideas–“is becoming the norm among today’s digital-first students.” And that, she posits, might just be a new literacy

With no mention of the ongoing decline in reading and writing skills, she continues with such facts as:

  1. Snapshot allows its more than 173 million daily users capture video and pictures that vanish in a few seconds.
  2. Social networking Instagram enjoys more than 400 million daily users all  with the ability to share both photos and videos.
  3. YouTube boasts over 5 billion videos.
  4. 75% of tweens & teens engage in social media like those above, Facebook and Twitter, too

Meanwhile, though 90% of classroom time remains text-based, 90% of non-school time is spent with image-based materials via such sites as those above.

The result: The National Center for Education Statistics finds that SAT mean scores in writing dropped from 497 to 484 between 2006 and 20015. It reports a similar drop in reading scores, concluding that the trend is likely to continue.

A majority of teachers blame social media.

Nevertheless, Romano-Arrabito evidently approves of this new form of literacy and offers up four ways to use social media tools, complete with four picting apps “that will give your students ownership of their  learning, share your classroom culture, and make your classroom more engaging.”

The bottom line, says EdSurge’s Kayla Delzer: “Social media is happening–with or without you. If teachers do not incorporate the tools students rely on outside of school into the classroom, students will find the work they do in school increasingly disconnected and irrelevant to their lives.”

But that begs the question: How about the disconnect they’ll experience when they go to write a grammatically correct, well-organized essay, business letter, email, assignment, application, etc., online or otherwise?