Minnesota, USA -August 11, 2011 - Children and teenagers face a situation that is even unfathomable to those who graduated from high school 5 years ago. Back then, we did not have as much 'social networking distractions' -even though Myspace was around - nor did we have excessive use of texting; however, we had some form of 'distraction' like any other generation, so why are the studies from the American Psychological Association continuously targeting this so-called issue If social networking indeed correlates to poor performance in school, then why do many schools incorporate it into the outside learning materials Is this smart learning or a desperate attempt to get children to 'learn' while still getting their fill of FacebookAll individuals on a daily basis are increasing in their exposure times to different forms of media; in reality, we can consume over 24 hours of media in one day. How is this possible We consume more than one at a time -for instance, we browse the internet while we watch TV or text message. This stimulates and shapes all of our minds; can you even imagine the affect that it has on a developing mind Children's and teenagers' minds are on overdrive all the time in our 'social media age'. They cannot help but be driven to constantly update and interact; they will have multiple internet browser windows up just to make sure that they do not miss out on anything. Then again, even adults have this tendency after getting involved in social networks like Facebook.
Yet, we continue to treat this change as if it is negative and abnormal. Instead of flowing with change and modifying our ways of educating, many teachers resist it. Luckily, there are select middle school and high school teachers who are experimenting with this by opening up Facebook pages and assigning their students to do certain tasks such as discussion in a foreign language; this makes sense when you consider the amount of online coursework that is assigned in college that these children will eventually face. This is giving them a skill to be able to focus on school while being amid the temptations of 'social networking'. Yet, it also keeps them in the comforts of what they know -social media. Eventually most of these students will have college courses which will have assigned tasks on an e-learning platform; this promotes individual focused learning, critical thinking, and self-reflection.
Although it could be considered personal opinion, social media opened up more opportunities for students to learn. Instead of only learning in the classroom, it is becoming 'normal' for online interaction and tasks to be included in the daily college schedule; my most critical thinking of my college years typically occurred while reading posts by fellow classmates on our online discussion board. We can feed off of each other's ideas and take more time to fully contemplate; our responses are well-thought out and articulated.
Yet, the question still remains; does online learning actually work If our changing college system is any indication, it does; students are expected to do more than in the past and encouraged to learn from each other. Our earlier education just seems to be lagging behind. What is easier: change the education system or point out that children do not have the attention span to learn in the traditional classroom setting The focus of these studies point to the latter.