Social media is changing lives, no one denounces this. What I want to bring into the spotlight is a proposed spectrum of internet users that range of Facebook addicts, selfie junkies, to social rejuvinators and innovators. With all great spectrums, let’s begin with a graphic.
Here is a glimpse, and of course, a somewhat stereotypical view of how people are using social media to “enhance” their lives. This illustration offers a realistic perspective to Scott McLeod’s ted talk about extracurricular empowerment. In his speech, he highlights several teens and children who used social media to accomplish achievements in human rights, school food, science and pop culture. These examples all lead us to want to believe Scott, that social media when unleashed, can unlock the full potential within students. When we allow students to run free, without censorship, they will flourish within the context of success.
I enjoy Scott’s research, and his optimism. The most significant idea of his is that we need to eliminate our fear and censorship on teens access to tech. As a realist though, our fear of teens use of the internet comes from a real place. For ever child triumphing over some social injustice via twitter or YouTube there are million of average social media junkies, posting selfies, consuming nutrient-deficient content, and contributing nothing but misspelled words and self absorbed perspectives.
I am obviously pessimistic about the current use of social media.
What gives me hope, is if we can empower teachers and students to thrive inside schools with technology. New teachers need the confidence to let their students go freely in their studies, and veteran teachers need the updated technological skills to keep their classrooms buzzing. But who will initiate training for teachers? Who will take the lead?
I have faith in education, it is at the base of curing every social issue in our country. With technology and social media, teachers can bring their students the best content while empowering students to create their own content. If teachers can ween students off the endless ”retweeting” and “reblogging” and encourage students to create something new, we might see less selfie junkies and more social super heroes!