Social Media: Good? Bad? Both?


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.

4 thoughts on “Social Media: Good? Bad? Both?

  1. Chris, for a person who says they don’t post on Social Media I thought your blog post was really thought provoking! I think you made a point you didn’t necessarily realize – in regards to basic skills. You shared “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?”.
    I think it might be argued that some of the “basic” 21st century skills children will need are not the same as the ones we needed. Basic math is always important but if I can shorten complex math with my phone, as an adult I will. Handwriting is an important skill but when I am not teaching in the summer I think I can count on hand how many times I pick up a pen, and when I do it’s certainly not for perfect cursive! You completely hit the nail on the head when you mentioned the issue of misinformation/disinformation. I think we are headed to a time when being able to discern the validity of information in front of you is a basic skill.

  2. I love the theme you chose! Throughout most of your post, it appears that you struggle with finding or knowing how to balance technology and life. Whether that is writing with a pen and paper, or spending more quality time with friends and family without the ongoing phone checks. I can relate to you. I know that technology has a vital place in our lives, and we should be teaching it to our students and prepare them for the future. However, what are we omitting unconsciously that is vital for students to know? Or what are we no longer focusing on because we don’t see it being relevant right now, that they are going to maybe need in secondary or post secondary schooling? You have raised some great points! I look forward to learning more about how you navigate through this over the course of this semester.

  3. Chris, great post! I too find myself losing all control to be in the moment due to the attachment to my phone, tv, laptop, watch (the list goes on). This attachment has really affected some of my relationships and made some very important people in my life feel not that important when they are try to interact with me. I feel I have been struggling to find that balance/strategy to help me to pull myself away from my devices; its soo difficult and I am still trying to figure out why.

    In terms of basic skills, I often look at my students while they are outside at recess or engaging in unstructured play; a lot of them do not know how to do this. I have noticed that the kids don’t really “play” like my friends and I did. Very seldom do I see a group of kids ripping around the neighborhood on their bikes, or playing some sort of pickup game in the park! I remember my friends and I would plan the evening activity throughout the school day and as soon as that dismissal bell went, we were off! The main difference between then and now is the prominence of technology and social media. More kids would rather be inside on a device then in the backyard learning to throw a baseball or how to catch a football.

  4. Chris, I am excited to hear about your plans for a project that will allow our kids to interact and learn using digital platforms. When I was an instructional coach, we made use of Flipgrid and it was so great to connect students from across our division. I really enjoyed how the students could respond to prompts via video and was amazed at how long some students took to make such a short video response.

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