Are we ruining childhood with social media?

Are we ruining childhood with social media?

Before I start with my view on social media ruining childhood, I want to first define what I think social media is. Social media is the technology that allows you to text, share ideas, post information, etc. through virtual communities or networks. Examples that I see most often in my grade 6/7 classroom are Snapchat, Messenger Kids, and TikTok. Some may not consider messaging apps as social media, but as you read going forward, I wanted to ensure you knew what I defined social media as.

Studies not Supported
The association between social media and well-being in many studies is commonly unfounded in research. In the Open to Debate I listened to, it was pointed out that there are simply just too many null findings in the connection between children’s mental health and social media. It is also discussed that we are perceiving all the negativity of social media based on, ironically, the social media negativity surrounding it and there is a fantastic analogy given (20:45-21:53) in the Open to Debate if you want to take a listen!

Social media can be Supportive
Creating the narrative that social media is ruining childhood takes away from the stories of support systems, positive engagement, and a sense of belonging kids can feel with the use of social media.

hand holding stone

Unfortunately, all we see online is the overwhelmingly negative stories that want to see the overall banning of the applications, but this is just not logical or fair. This CNN read is fantastic for those that have the time as it discuss how the important role social media can play and how taking it away would not be beneficial. Instead, they see regulations and safety standards as the more appropriate approach. As a teacher, I definitely do worry about what my students can access through social media, but I do need to remember that removing it completely from their lives would be like trying to get water from a stone.

Social media will NOT go!
I think it is important to realize that social media is going absolutely nowhere! We, as a society, are going to have to start learning how to move forward together instead of discussing how bad it is for our children. There are many important people who will have crucial roles in this movement, parents/guardians, teachers, coaches, pediatricians, counsellors, etc. In a clinical report provided by our debaters, it states that having face-to-face conversations about privacy and security, adults educating themselves on the media kids are using, and supervising or taking an active role in children’s use of social media are positive and effective ways to support children’s use of social media (p. 804).

Social media concept.

Finally, despite my reflection, I want to make it clear that I am not a huge fan of social media. But I do not think that social media itself should not be the sole cause for ruining childhood. There are ways in which adults can take on important roles in guiding children with using social media as it can be supportive and create a sense of belonging for our younger generation. Just like last week, I am taking the “against” side of the debate wondering how many of my peers will agree or respectfully disagree too, either way I am excited! Catch y’all for the next one on Monday next week!

 

 

Of course, technology ENHANCES learning…. or DOES it?

Of course, technology ENHANCES learning…. or DOES it?

Well, I know most people reading this will have been listening to or a part of the debates, but those who were not… you missed out. I want to preface my reflection by stating that I started class today feeling the opposite of what you are about to read. I needed more to be informed and that is just what we got in the debate! I can say with confidence that I was swayed in the debate, here is where I sit with the question does technology enhance learning?

Multi-tasking
As we were presented with research today during the debate I was forced to think of the many times I have struggled with keeping students on task when they have technology because it is simply just too easy to switch back and forth from applications. Even as I sat down to write this reflection, I had to put my phone behind me, shut the soccer game off on the TV, and attempt to ignore the 15+ tabs I have open to focus on this task. The No A 4 U article also explains that engaging in multiple media tasks at once limits one’s ability to achieve deeper learning or cognitively process the information in front of them (p. 7). For technology to enhance learning in the classroom it would need to be task-oriented, and this is no easy feat in today’s learning environments. I have had students watching YouTube series while working, listening to music, or messaging their friends back and forth while in the same room instead of being focused on the task at hand.

Instant feedback and the lost art of spoken word
There was great discussion in the debate today on the fact that student performance data/feedback does not have to come from a screen. Yes, it is easier to have students complete a task online and use that data to assess and provide feedback for both teachers and students. But do we think a one-on-one conversation to gain that feedback could be done? Would it be beneficial to hear directly from the student and be able to engage with them off a screen? I think so. In fact, what was brought up today was that spoken word is lost in students today when utilizing technology. Saskatchewan English Language Arts curriculum even asks teachers to assess students based on their ability to speak formally and informally in front of and with their peers and just how does this happen if we rely on the ease of technology to provide us digital interactions and assessment?

Shortcuts
Ironically, as I sit here writing a reflection online, I feel it is important to discuss the need for students to learn to write on paper. There is so much out there in regard to tagging, @’ing (is that a real term?), chat slang, and shortcuts that bleed into student writing online. Another resource shared in today’s debate argues that digital technology does have beneficial impacts, however, there are doubts that those positive impacts outweigh student writing that is becoming more inconsistent and unclear (p. 1). I think of this shortcut scenario in my grade 6/7 classroom as I will have so many typed out essays sent to me that make almost no sense and what it ultimately boils down to is my students are using the Google Docs autocorrect/suggestions to “help” them finish their essay. They are not understanding the edits the application is suggesting or proofreading afterwards because they trust those edits need to be made. Instead, if we read the essay together edits can be worked out on paper or suggestions can be made based on what I or my students hear when they read their work out loud, avoiding the confusion. I know there are probably suggestions or ways to work around this that my peers on the other side of the debate could maybe comment on?!

To wrap this first debate reflection up, I will say that I am interested in reading about what my peers think of my reflection and am lucky to be getting to read theirs to see what side they are on after such a great start to our summer of debates! Once again, catch y’all on the next one where I cannot wait to tell you how social media is ruining childhood…or is it?
To Be Continued written on yellow paper note

Ms. Schutte, do you have TikTok?

Ms. Schutte, do you have TikTok?

Technology has always been evolving in my thirty years of living and my eight years of teaching. Keeping up with the times has been something I strive for as a middle years teacher. I use technology in my day-to-day life in many ways some that overlap between personal and professional and others that only work best when trying to engage 30+ grades 6/7 students at a time!

 

In my personal life, I try to stay in touch with my friends and family that I do not get to see every day. Most of the time we use Zoom or Google Meets. My best friend and her husband live in Calgary, so we have game nights virtually and my dad lives in Moose Jaw and sometimes it is just nice to enjoy a happy hour beverage with him too!

 

I started post-secondary in 2012 and spent four years finishing my Bachelor of Education degree in 2016. I took a short time off to start my teaching career but began my Certificate of Inclusive Education in 2018 and finished it during the height of the pandemic in 2020. During this time, I experienced my first online learning classes. I became quite familiar with URCourses, Canva, and Jamboard. Now, I am in the eighth course of my master’s degree in education for teaching, learning, and leadership. I have been able to advance my technology skills, make YouTube videos for presentations, and feel very comfortable researching through the University of Regina’s online library.

As Ms. Schutte, I try to stay “in the know” and keep up with the trends my students are following. I am teaching grades 6/7 where it is pretty obvious what trends are in or out just by listening to them for a few minutes. My students do love to learn with the use of technology, and I have used quite a few programs over the years that I am comfortable with. My notes, student resources, and some assignments are done through Google Classroom. Students in my classroom use the WeVideo program to make videos and commercials, and most recently I finished this school year by creating podcasts! Minecraft Education is an excellent cross-curricular program that engages my students in many different ways. Finally, Kahoot and Blooket are crowd favourites for studying, test-prepping, or downtime students have. Through the 2023-2024 school year, I tried to get more comfortable with coding and had EYES and SaskCode come in and do workshops with my class. When I am teaching, I rely heavily on my projector, Microsoft OneNote, and Edsby to get me through the workday.

 

My personal life and classroom would look very different without the use of technology, and I will continue to strive to learn more and adapt to the changing times. Finally, I think I am one of (maybe) very few middle years teachers who do NOT have a TikTok account. My students always ask and never believe my response because “everyone has TikTok”. Does anyone else not have TikTok either out there? Catch y’all on the next one!

This is me.

This is me.

Hello everyone, my name is Ashlyn Schutte. I live and work in Regina. I have been teaching for 8 years and have taught mostly grades 3-8. I have my B. Ed in middle years, my inclusive ed. certificate, and this is my 8th class towards my Masters of Ed TLL. In my free time, I enjoy playing dodgeball and ultimate frisbee. In addition to teaching, I also work as a lead retail associate for the Saskatchewan Roughriders Football Club, which I love! I live at home with my 2 cats (please enjoy our latest annual Christmas Card).


I am looking forward to learning with and from all of you over the next few weeks!