How I Use It
I don't know if I would actually use the site with my students--it's too busy, too commercial, and too un-moderated for my tastes. However, I do believe I could use it for planning. If one were to scroll down to the bottom of the home page and look at the column of "Other Teen Ink Goodies", one would find a resource page with a wide variety of credible links, a teacher's guide (on how to use the site), and links to the online classes (free) provided by Teen Ink. Any of these could be incorporated into the classroom or modified by a teacher.
Students will like Teen Ink; they can post their writing, art, pictures, and videos to share with the Teen Ink community. The site contains polls, forums, contests and other ""swag"" that seems to appeal to high schoolers as well. Teachers may be of another mind for a couple of reasons: the first is that the site is fairly wide-open.Any one can post pretty much anything of any quality. As a former English teacher, I expected to find fabulous teen writing to share with my students under the editors' picks banner. Let's just say I'm not quite sure what the qualifications were for picking a work. The essays I perused were not as well-written as I would like to see considering they were ""editor's choice"" winners.
Secondly, the site is fairly commercial; pop-up ads occur with alarming frequency. I felt as though the site's purpose was to sign me up for the print version of Teen Ink. Additionally, while I (as a librarian) was doing research for a 1920's pathfinder--a list of resources for a research paper--I was repeatedly directed to a Teen Ink link for a student paper. This leads me to wonder if the non-fiction pieces posted on the site are ""used"" (euphemism--plagiarized) for other research projects.
All in all, I felt like Teen Ink is like that kid who desperately wants to fit in with the group--so it offers to do everything in order to prove its worth. From college advice to summer camp opportunities, this site has it all (and you can shop at its store). Teen Ink gives students a place to post their art and writing; I'm just wondering if there isn't something better out there.