By Antero Garcia
The time stamp on my email program shows that the last MySpace message I received was Wednesday, 3:08 a.m., during my off-track vacation. Logging onto the site, I read the message that apparently could not wait to be sent until a more humane hour: "hey garcia, i was wondering if u could tell me what work im missing from both of ur classes so i can make it up during these days . . . and since i will be taking some interssesion classes i was wondering if u are ever going during vacation to school so i could give it to u."
Preparing to reply to the email, I paused and wondered if being able to connect with students at all hours is really a part of a culturally relevant education experience.
I am in my third year at Manual Arts High School, a year-round school in South Central Los Angeles. Blocks away from the freeway and the University of Southern California, Manual Arts is in a low-income community; African Americans make up 20 percent of the student body, the remaining 80 percent Latino. In order to deal with overcrowding, the students are separated into three different tracks.
Although I've never been interested in the social and networking sites that now flood the internet, recent sites such as MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter have become too prominent in my students' lives to ignore. As an educator constantly searching for ways to use popular culture in my classroom, I decided to make MySpace part of my teaching repertoire.