I read this article from the Sydney Morning Herald: Social media and mobiles require new response to cries for help.
As an educator, there has been no shortage in exposure to the potential in the classroom of social media and mobile devices. Benefits range from engagement to real learning, with a genuine boost in depth and breadth. Schools are acknowledging that the youth of today are more connected with their peers and realise that, like it or not, the intersection of social media/mobile devices and education is a reality to contend with.
What struck me about the article is not that teens are using social media/mobile devices to connect and cry for help. That’s a given for me. What struck me as an educator is why recipients of these cries are unable to decode the pleas for help. This leads on to more questions:
- Is this part of teaching digital literacy?
- Do recipients think that the ease of distribution afforded us by these technologies somewhat dilute the content as in, there’s someone else there to help – doesn’t have to be me?
- Can senders use language elements better to help send their message across, be better understood?
These technologies leverage the human need to connect and belong. As educators, we want to harness these to promote learning. Here, then, is another aspect to the educational challenge – what else can we teach about these technologies to help our students be better people, not just better learners?