You've heard about Facebook, I suppose. I have and have even glimpsed it in operation, but I have yet to sign up. As Thesha says, she and Daboy are on the old side for Facebook, so where would I fit in, I wonder. For I don't suppose that too any of my contemporaries are flocking to the site for me to connect with. However, I will probably succumb sooner or later.
One thing that stood out to me, however, in the article about Facebook that I read in the Toronto Star today was the following sentence: "In fact, educators should seize these opportunities to teach students about both the benefits and drawbacks of social media, while encouraging them to use the tools in positive ways." Like everybody else in the world, I can see the benefit of this, but it rather flummoxes me how glibly people say such things.
As a retired teacher, I still recall not being able to cover the curriculum as it was. I recall the heavy workload and the stress. I recall the job becoming more and more difficult. For example: when I left the job, the teachers in our school were being told that next year they should have eight separate mark lists for each class — eight categories where they could evaluate students. In a perfect world, that would be great, but in an imperfect one, it's a rather ridiculous expectation.
So, exactly who would teach the students the responsible use social media? Would your friendly physics teacher walk into class one day and say, "By the way, I became an expert in Facebook and social media last night, developed a curriculum, and am ready to lead you to the promised land today"? What about working it into the languages curriculum? History? Math? Technology?
Well, of course, it could be worked into a course somewhere. Maybe computers? But not many students really enroll in computer course per se; most computer usage in this jurisdiction at least is actually left up to the various subjects. For example: as a geography teacher I would show them how to use computers to manipulate statistics, construct graphs, and create and analyze maps, but most teachers weren't as up on the technology as I. It's really not an easy thing for most teachers to do; in fact, most students are much more computer savvy than most teachers.
The point is that most curricula are already jam-packed, and most teachers are already frantically pedalling into a stiff wind just to try to keep pace. I'm sure that schools will find a way to teach social media at some point, but there's more to it than someone glibly observing that educators should just up and do it never mind "seize the opportunity." It's simply not that easy.