Search form

Back to Blog

Teachers Debate Social Media Use in Class

TweetIn a story by Paul Barnwell of TeacherMagazine.org posted on Education Week May 30, 2012, the self-described tech-leaning teacher derided the use of social media technologies like Facebook as having little to no academic value in the classroom. Barnwell wrote:

“I’ve always been open to new technologies in the classroom—in fact, in 2010 I argued that we were doing students a disservice by not incorporating cell phones into instruction. But over the past two years, I’ve seen or read about too many teachers and students who have become enamored with—even addicted to—social media and cell phone applications that fail to offer true pedagogical advantage or promote critical thinking.”

While Barnwell raises important issues, the argument rings hollow when one considers his points have been made for decades every time a new technology emerges. The onus is on the teacher to use these burgeoning technologies as effective classroom tools. Where someone complains that Twitter is killing students’ proficiency in English, a creative teacher is using the social media platform as a 21st-century version of the Chain Story Lesson, in which a student writes one sentence of a story, another student writes the next and so on, until a finished narrative is complete.

Thankfully, Barnwell says he is "a long way from giving up on technology altogether" and is working on infusing Web 2.0 tools into his curriculum.

Barnwell is right to question the technologies, but to abandon them after a single attempt at implementation is a disservice to his students, and to his own professional development.

As EPlybon, a commenter responding to Barnwell's story, explained:

"We encounter teachers every day who use technology because it is cool, rather than making sure it is the tool that will get that particular task done in the most meaningful and efficient way. To translate that into evidence against the use of social media is flawed. I have seen social media, and the concepts surrounding it, used in very meaningful ways which promote higher-level thinking, and I've seen it used as fluff. Making the distinction between the two is important. I will not concur with you that, because some teachers use it wrong, we all should stop using it."

More

A Great Start to the Day

Your classroom community is set up, you have your daily schedule, and you are ready to start the day. An exciting part of the day is when the children enter the classroom community. They are happy to be there, and they want to learn! I wanted to share some things I did in my Classroom that...

How Meditation and Martial Arts Help...

Creators David Friedman and Philip Kholos continue the adventure of Koga, a boy who uses meditation, yoga, and kung fu to navigate life’s challenges in Koga and Friends:ShelterThe film was  selected for Best of...

Oxford Michigan School Shooting

Once again there was a school shooting in the US and this time in Michigan. As a former secondary school administrator, I try to reflect on what I would have done if I was in that situation.  Every state and school district has their own rules and policies on suspensions, searching back bags, etc. Unfortunately, blame is being placed on school officials and what they did not do to prevent this tragedy. Did they school officials do the right thing by interviewing the student and meeting with...

Teaching in a Technology World

As we know too well, kids today from almost the time they leave the crib are tech savvy. Kids are glued to their devices and it takes a very entertaining teacher to distract students in the classroom from their phones.  Teaching the old fashion way of stand and deliver is no longer effective. Unfortunately, this is the way many educators still teach. For too many teachers they teach like they were taught, and that could have been many years ago. Also not all teachers embrace using technology...

Retiring - This Will Happen To All Of...

I have been blessed to retire twice, once in the USA and the last time in Egypt after 51 plus years in education.

I have a couple of suggestions for you. Check your financial status with your school or state retirement system, review your retirement savings and investment, find out when would be the best time to start drawing your Social Security. Do plan on inflation and other unexpected costs as best as you can. Always keep your family in the loop on these...

Academic Booster Club

For many years there have been debates in K-12 education in the US concerning incentives or rewarding students for grades, attendance, behavior, test scores, etc. I remember at one time that educators frowned on the idea of rewarding students, especially older pupils for showing improvement. The belief was that students should want to improve their grades, attendance etc. for its own self reward. That students would be more interested in the "prizes" than the actual improvement that they...

Teacher Shortage in America

As all school administrators must know, there is a very real teacher shortage currently in American schools and the projections are that it will only be getting worse. What is causing this shortage? It is estimated that 50% of new teachers will leave the profession in their first five years of teaching. Some of the reasons for this high turnovers are: lack of district and state funding for positions, student enrollment is climbing, the pandemic has caused many teachers to leave their jobs,...

Pages