Editorial | A fine line: Are social media too prevalent in the classroom?
The technology-is-ruining-our-society argument is nothing new. As a nation, we spent 230,060 years on social media in July 2012 alone, which averaged to about six and one-half hours a month per person, according to NBC News. Have you seen the YouTube video of a young child who was handed a magazine and tried to zoom in on a page with their fingers after using an IPad?
Some insist iPhones and Facebook are driving us farther apart, that the Internet has ruined social interaction and nothing is what it used to be. We tend to agree on some degree, though we must recognize the positives.
The Editorial Board of The Miami Student has noticed a good number of professors requesting us to follow them on Twitter or Pinterest, friend them on Facebook and connect with them on LinkedIn. We have seen integration of social media into the curriculum and teachers attempting to make learning more convenient and interesting using unconventional outlets. These are great educational tools for a lot of areas of study, such as journalism, interactive media studies, political science and communications. And without a doubt, professors and students can become more connected and better involved with the use of technology, but we think there are limitations to this-social media use especially.
Miami has made it clear they are headed towards a more tech savvy curriculum. Online classes have proven to be the next big thing in educational reform. As for social media, professors are beginning to assign more assignments incorporating sites such as Pinterest and Instagram (these seem to be the most popular). For example, some foreign language professors are uploading educational videos straight from YouTube to their Pinterest pages and requesting students follow them. Others may develop assignments requiring their students to document work on a project via Instagram or Twitter.
Whatever the outlet, it is impossible to ignore the booming presence technology has had on our college classrooms. In general, technology has been an increasingly vital tool for educators. It has proven to increase participation, interactiveness and connectivity between peers and professor.
There are also great networking opportunities associated with this trend. We agree that a solid relationship with a professor can take you places; connecting with a professor on LinkedIn or following them on Twitter keeps you in touch. And, in case you need career advice or help connecting to a former colleague of theirs, these professors can be contacted in an instant. It doesn't hurt to maintain these relationships long after college, either.
We have just one concern:
Where are we, as students, supposed to draw the line between personal and professional? When we connect with our professors over social media, they are with us everywhere. They are with us at a party; they are with us at the gym; they are with us at home over fall break. We are constantly connected to our peers and professors, and it starts to get to be a little much. Aren't these the same professors who recommend we make our social media presence as private as possible (especially if we're job searching)?
Simply put, we've seen technology successfully wiggle its way into the classroom, but social media is a whole other story and, frankly, we don't want professors knowing what we did last summer. We want to protect our social media footprints. In order to do this, we need to make the distinction between personal and professional when it comes to using social media tools in the classroom.
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