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With support from teachers and parents, BeSeen has a lot of potential to teach high schoolers how to navigate tricky social media situations. The Web Wise Kids website includes many thoughtful resources for teachers and parents, including a classroom guide with learning objectives and discussion prompts that includes five lesson plans. The whole "school year" takes about two hours to play through, so teachers could easily design an eye-opening, week-long unit likely to include some lively discussions.Continue reading Show less
BeSeen from Carnegie Mellon University and Web Wise Kids, teaches students how to keep things copacetic online. Facebook and Twitter are universal, and these and other social media sites often beget conflict. The challenges of how to respond to a friend's post, for example, can be nuanced, and one simulation allows students to understand the short- and long-term impacts of their choices.
Students are encouraged to reflect on the choices they make when interacting in a social network and are rewarded with new friends, positive feedback, and awards for making safe and responsible choices. When they make unsafe or risky choices, the characters (including "Mom") provide guidance and feedback to show the undesired consequences.
Simulations do a decent job of capturing the personalities and drama of high school, with diverse characters and interests. Still, students may feel that the clunky menus and cheesy language condescend to them, or that the characters are a bit stereotyped. A few terms are conflated, such as sexting being described as "online sharing," which seems out of touch. The unchallenging and distracting puzzle game might seem a bit childish.
Key Standards Supported
Reading Informational Text
Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how an author uses rhetoric to advance that point of view or purpose.
Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.
Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text in which the rhetoric is particularly effective, analyzing how style and content contribute to the power, persuasiveness or beauty of the text.
Determine two or more central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to provide a complex analysis; provide an objective summary of the text.
Compare and contrast findings presented in a text to those from other sources (including their own experiments), noting when the findings support or contradict previous explanations or accounts.
Synthesize information from a range of sources (e.g., texts, experiments, simulations) into a coherent understanding of a process, phenomenon, or concept, resolving conflicting information when possible.