Social Networks for Wellness

| May 19, 2010

Using Social Networking for Wellness.

As a part of a program for the wellness of middle school students, the Quest to Learn School launched a social networking site called ‘Being Me’. The site allows students to engage in a range of activities that encourage self exploration. The variety of opportunities that exist within the network include experiences such as self-reflective moments where students are able to track how they’re feeling to more community-oriented activities where they participate in online discussions or share perspectives. This tool is harnessing social networking capabilities toward student personal development and exploration of self.

Students have already begun using the network, of which making and uploading representations of themselves and reflecting on their personal well-being, was apart of their initial experiences. ‘Being Me’ has seen a quick adoption among the middle school population by recording usage results within a day of its introduction and beyond the boundary of only usage in school. With students logging on from home to post status updates, write blog entries and share media, the relationship between Q2L’s in-school and out-of-school learning spaces have already began to shift. With a strong start it will be interesting to see how ‘Being Me’ establishes itself as a vibrant space of interaction as well as a future model for student self-expression and well-being.

Being Me is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and developed in collaboration with Chicago’s Digital Youth Network.

I think this application of social networking tied with effective support and reflection is an innovative approach for middle school students and I also wonder the application of such a network for adult populations or specialized populations, such as teachers.