The potential for digital natives to establish multiple online identities is vast: screen names, MySpace pages, Facebook profiles, fanfiction contributions, and gaming avatars are only a few examples of the diverse, self-created-selves populating the internet. So how can teachers use these identities to learn more about our students perceive themselves and the world around them? Should we friend them on Facebook? Allow them to text in the classroom? Encourage afterschool games of World of Warcraft?
As most of you know, my beliefs fall on the liberal side of digital literacy practices. Optimistic tendencies aside, I recently came across a fun tool that incorporates out-of-school literacy with in-school objectives: Facebook profiles for fictional characters. This template asks students to think critically and creatively about the characters they encounter in text. As they move through the activity, readers relate facts from the text itself in addition to making inferences based on the relationships, symbols and events implied by the author. In short, they create a Facebook profile for a character as they would themselves: fan pages, friends, and wall posts included.
One could argue that our personal Facebook profiles are fictionalized versions of our true selves anyway. Why not use the same process to interpret the fiction we read, in addition to the fiction we create? This Facebook_Template could be used beyond the language arts template. Science teachers could ask students to create profiles of the elements, history teachers of presidents or civil rights leaders, math teachers of prime numbers. There are characters everywhere! Hope you enjoy.
Special thanks to Lisa Foord from Independence High School for sharing this resource!