Social Media and the Classroom

As a teacher in the modern era, there is no doubt that technology has become a huge influencing factor in the classroom. It can be a great resource for teaching but at the same time it can also be a great distraction. It has changed the way that educators interact with students and the way students interact with each other both in school and outside of school. The connectivity of the modern world has changed society as a whole and it’s important to understand this in order to understand the future generations of students.

I read an article recently about why social media is “ruining our humanity” (read it here) and I have to say I find it a compelling argument. I think that my biggest frustration with technology as a teacher is that the newest generation has no concept of boredom. They have no concept of not being in touch with everything and everyone at all times of the day. The multitude of social media sites keeps students from focusing in the moment. I admit that even I struggle with this as an adult now because it’s hard to ignore the temptation to connect with other people when you’re dissatisfied with the present moment. I have noticed that students struggle with not using their cellphones or computers when they feel bored or unhappy. Every day I have to give constant reminders to focus and I know this isn’t new to the classroom but it does present a unique set of challenges.

The other interesting argument that relates to education is how social media sites are changing the way people communicate. It erodes students’ ability to spell correctly or to articulate clearly what they mean because they’re accustomed to a different style of speech on these sites. It also affects interpersonal skills because students learn to hide behind technology almost as if they have another persona. They talk how they would on these sites and they depend on them for their daily news and entertainment.

I found this so interesting because as someone who lived the first part of my life without this technology but also as someone young enough to now use these social media sites I can see a vast difference in life. I think it does ruin humanity that when I’m hanging out with friends they are constantly distracted by their phones as well. I feel more stressed out now than ever because of the constant communication and the feeling of information overload due to this instant connectivity.

I think this is a lesson that schools will have to teach students. How to survive and handle boredom in positive ways. How to ignore the temptation to use technology every moment of the day. How to overcome the addiction of video games and social media sites. I saw this video about the psychology of boredom and I think it relates to this technology epidemic (watch it here). I found the explanation to be fascinating and it’s something teachers need to understand when dealing with students caught in this technological obsession.

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