The Side of Technology that School Ignores

2014-05-06-socialmedia

Every Monday the ID cohort has what we call #IDReads. During the week we pick an article or excerpt or video that we want everyone to read/watch, and then we discuss the piece on Monday. For tomorrow, we will be discussing Schools that work for kids | Eric Sheninger | TEDxBurnsvilleED.

One thing I found really interesting was when Eric was discussing technology and that helped inspire a lot of the thoughts I express in this post.

At my high school, my grade (class of 2017) has been occasionally known as the “stalker grade”. I know the word stalker is really serious word and probably shouldn’t be used so lightly and jokingly, but let me explain why we are called this. Many people in my grade can and have proven their abilities at finding information online and sometimes it is “scary” what we can find, such as the contact info for our Latin teacher’s brother who we were never told the name of. On multiple occasions we have also found the sources that our teachers get activities from.

Sometimes I wonder why teachers give assignments in the 21st century thats answers can almost always be found online, and many students will find the answers that way rather than actually take the time to read a piece for themselves. I believe that things are a lot more interesting when you actually take the time to read it and it is important to understand the material and not just copy answers, but I must say that their is a certain talent to being good at finding information online.

Part of me gets really annoyed when students do what a school would often call “cheating” by finding answers online because I know that it takes a lot longer to do the assignment the expected way. But another part of me admires how they can find the information and still understand the material to some degree; what does this say about the assignments we’re given if students can get the answers from somewhere else and still understand without doing the assignment the proposed way? Why do we still give these types of assignments?

We want students to be good at researching and using their resources to answer questions for themselves. Well technically these students are probably far more advanced at researching questions in a 21st century world then the student that always looks in a textbook to answer questions.

Let’s just face it, the 21st century world is full of technology. Why is it then that school is so often against the use of technology? Now my school promotes technology, but only to a certain controllable extent; everyone has a computer, and there are Apple TVs in every class room and these computers can be monitored by the teachers and the TVs are often used for presentations. What schools don’t tend to promote are cell phones or social media, but when you think about it, phones and social media are used all the time in the world to network with different people.

I was thinking about how I didn’t use social media for such a long time and I was trying to figure out the “why” behind it. Part of it is definitely because I’m stubborn and I just have a natural tendency to like going against the status quo. Another part of it is because school has always taught to me that social media is bad.

Starting in elementary school, before you really have a lot of freedom with using technology, you are taught how social media can be used as a form of bullying. Then you get computers for school and you get chastised for ever being on social media. I even remember spending a week in 8th grade talking about social media in English class and when we wrote papers about whether it was good or bad, most students wrote about it being bad because they thought they could better argue it, myself included.

It wasn’t until ID that I ever was pushed in school to look at social media as a good thing and was even encouraged to get involved with social media. Social media allows you to connect with others around the country and even the world who have similar passions as you, and these connections can lead to great ideas and opportunities. Social media is a way to share stories. In ID we are encouraged to have our phones out and take pictures and tweet them or blog them because that is how people will learn about what we are doing.

Yes, bad things can happen on social media, but why don’t schools help teach students good habits rather than just warning students about making bad decisions  online? After all, in the real world, you kind of need social media, so shouldn’t school be preparing students to use it beneficially?

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5 thoughts on “The Side of Technology that School Ignores

    1. In particular on that link, they talk about how potential employers will check your social media for content related to alcohol, illegal drugs, and profanity, which I think would be an important thing to teach students (connecting to the sentence “teach students good habits” and how to use in beneficially.

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