Social media. A subtle, but effective attack on the brain concentration during school hours and some classes. With social media present in nearly all classrooms it can often become a distraction.
Whether it is on a phone, email, or Facebook, Science Department Head Bill Kenney thinks social media can cause substantial problems to a student’s learning if continuously used in class. “If you’re looking at your phone or looking at your email and someone is providing an explanation about how to do a lab or directions to complete an activity you’re not going to be capable of doing what they’re being asked to do,” Kenney said.
Kenney feels the consequences of using social media extend beyond wasting time in class. “If you are using social media in class, you are effectively stealing from your parents or whoever is paying the bills and you’re throwing away these amazing opportunities to work with professionals who are here to develop your intellect, knowledge and skills,” he said.
Rather than this being an issue that the school is responsible for, Kenney believes that students need to take initiative to address this problem and the school should not intervene. “It’s really down to the students. We need to develop a culture so that students comprehend that they need to step up to the plate and really understand what it is they’re here for and value that,” Kenney said.
Social Studies Teacher Natalie Jaworski has a different view. In her mind, people of this generation are good at multitasking. “I only think that perhaps excessive use of social media during class could have an impact on grades, but it’s such a natural part our lives now that I feel like students are able to separate social media from the time that you need to spend doing work,” she said.
Jaworski believes that teachers should not shut out social media, but rather welcome it because it is now very common in most students lives. “A solution to this problem is to figure out how to use social media effectively as a class tool at times so that students feel like you can still have access to social media in the classroom. As teachers, we should embrace social media and use it as a way to engage students in class then we would be able to let students use it, but appropriately,” she said.
Although teachers like Kenney believe that social media is a distraction, Rizal Zakaria (’16) uses social media during class only when he is finished with his required work. He feels that social media is not a distraction because he uses it appropriately. “It doesn’t really affect me per se, because I can control myself. I only use it when I know I can live without listening to the teacher,” he said.
Kenney’s goals are to come in prepared and give his best to develop students and their understanding of science, but he believes social media cuts in to his ability to do that. “I can always prepare my best and teach to my fullest ability, however students have to choose whether they want to retain that information. I can only lead a horse to the water but I can’t make it drink,” Kenney said.