Social Media: Good? Bad? Both?

am·biv·a·lent:

having mixed feelings or contradictory ideas about something or someone.

When describing my relationship with social media, I can’t think of a better word than ambivalent.  While I value the many positive and neat ways it can be used to communicate, learn, and educate, I can’t seem to ignore the negative aspects and the way it has changed our lives and world.

My activity on social media is also somewhat ambivalent.  While I browse Twitter and facebook daily, I have not posted on facebook in at least ten years and have sent one tweet in my life.  I appreciate the opportunity to follow what friends and family are up to and enjoy following sites and accounts that interest me.  However, I don’t feel the need to post details about my own life.  I value my privacy (and don’t feel that I’m exciting enough for others to want to follow!).

I see social media and technology being used in so many great ways in educational settings.  The access to information that kids have at their fingertips is something I longed for in my elementary school days.  There is no doubt that many sites and platforms offer great learning opportunities for all different types of learners.  I am hoping this class can kickstart my personal motivation to learn and implement more technology into my own teaching.  Working with an EC&I 831 classmate, we have plans for a project that will allow our kids to interact and learn using digital platforms such as Seesaw and blogging sites.

I sometime wrestle with technology’s place in education.  The world is heading in a direction where these skills are becoming increasingly necessary, but are they coming at the cost of basic skills?  Where is the balance between learning to read/hand write/develop basic math skills, and relying on technology to do it instead?  Are we becoming too reliant on technology just because it can help, or are we allowing students to experience success they may not have achieved otherwise?  Lots of questions, lots of great answers on both sides of the argument.

My two largest grievances with technology and social media are how we have allowed it to take over our lives and how it has allowed for the spread of misinformation.  I am guilty of being attached to my phone.  I feel naked without it and must force myself to put it away.  Even when I do I find myself wanting to check it to see if I have received any texts, emails, or sports alerts.  I need to do a better job of setting it aside and being more present in other parts of life.  As for misinformation, look at the situation we find our world in right now.  We are so divided.  Social media, technology, and the spread of misinformation bears a lot of this blame.  I tell my students all the time that they need to think for themselves.  Look at issues from all sides, check the facts, then decide on what you believe.  Unfortunately, too many adults in our world can’t do this and set a bad example for kids.