Social Networking. Does it have a place in the classroom? I am torn on this issue. While I see the advantages to it such as being able to still have school on bad weather days or while traveling for a vacation, I do see some drawbacks to it as well. I have talked to several individuals about homeschooling and the cyber school areas. For those which homeschool, they love it because it gives them flexibility. They can take family vacations during the year and incorporate the trips into the classroom, so they turn them into educational trips. The same goes for the cyber or hybrid realms. The students do most of the work at home and then show up to school one or two days a week. The teachers/instructors use social media to keep up with the students and assign work. But, is this what we want for our students? For some people I spoke with they love it because their child had issues with bullying at school, but with the social networking, it can now follow the student’s home, even in an educational setting. I also feel it is not giving our children the social skills they will need to succeed in life, since they can now hide behind the social media without actually looking someone in the face when talking with them.
Don’t get me wrong, social networking/media is great. I enjoy keeping in touch with friends through it, but I also monitor what I put on it, with all the threats lurking on social networking sites. I think it can be useful in the educational setting, but I thinking being in a classroom is way more productive. The main reason is I prefer that method. I learn more from interacting with the people then from reading a book or listening to a lecture. Plus, I don’t feel today’s youth are educated on the correct uses of how social networking works. I also realize it is a way for them to “let loose” and talk how they want, but I do feel it carries over. I was in a job working with youth (17-25) year olds and the way they talked to me sometimes shocked me. I was always taught to be polite and say, yes, no, sir, ma’am, please and thank you all the time. I would not always get that from the youth today and I do think social networking is a part of the issue.
How do we fix this? I am not sure. Part of me says starting to educate the students better about how social networking works and how to use it to their advantage the proper way. This should probably start in the late elementary/middle school years. But, I do think some of it comes from home and how their parents use it as well.