Educating Kids About Social Media—21st Century Technology in the Classroom

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Have you seen the recent news article about the six girls who created a Facebook event, “Attack a Teacher Day,” and were arrested? It’s a tragic story. It’s also another great example of why schools need to educate students about social media. This story, like so many others that make daily headlines in the U.S. can be easily avoided.

Learning ethical social media skills is just as important as learning how to write a killer essay nowadays. Students need to learn how to write for the Web, how to use online applications other than simply connecting to their friends and chatting, how to collaborate online, and how to accurately use the Internet to gather research and information. These are the life skills employers are looking for.

Yet, teaching social media skills isn’t a typical part of today’s lesson plans. Online learning is beginning to make an impact, yet many schools still lag behind incorporating technology into their classrooms. Perhaps part of the reason schools are behind in technology is the lack of capable facilities. However, teachers are not innocent. Professional development for older, nontech-savvy teachers is a necessity—and fear of online learning should simply not be an acceptable excuse anymore.

There are more benefits to technology than there is room to mention in this article. However, for starters, online teaching expands the boundaries of the classroom, and makes it possible for students to be engaged even when such situations as snow days, crises, and illnesses happen. Beyond being connected to a wealth of information 24/7, online applications are proving themselves to add real value to classroom experiences. A student can experience science, history, music, art, math, and English like never before through digital demonstrations.

Even more than the benefits to your school’s students, technology is a sought-out “upgrade” that parents are incorporating into their decision-making process about private school education. Over the last few years, public schools have made great advances with classroom technology upgrades. Private-independent schools need to remain competitive with public education just as they need to keep competitive with other area private schools—especially as the surge behind 21st Century Learning continues to build interest.

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