Social Networks Damaging School Work?

I just read this interesting article from the BBC tweeted by many of my twitter friends.

Social networking ‘damaging school work’ say teachers

Many teachers believe pupils’ work is suffering because of an obsession with social networking, a survey suggests.

Two thirds of teachers questioned said children were rushing their homework and doing it badly so they could chat online.

Out of 500 UK teachers involved in the online survey by One Poll, three quarters said parents should limit the time their children spent online.

And 58% said spelling was suffering in the digital age.

A similar number said children’s handwriting was not as good as it should be because they were more used to keyboards and touchpads than pen and paper.

Half of those who took part said children’s “obsession” with social networking was affecting their ability to concentrate in class.

And one in four said they believed children with the poorest grades in school were those who did the most online social networking.

The survey was carried out JCA, a company which provides school trips.

Spokeswoman Janie Burt said: “Rather than relying on life experiences, educational travel and face to face interaction with others, children are becoming obsessed with social networking and this is shaping their attitudes instead.

“And as the teachers spell out, it is this obsession which has a direct impact on the future of our children – affecting their grades because they fail to complete their homework on time or to the standard required, and being unable to concentrate in class.”

The survey for One Poll was carried out online in the UK between 19 and 25 October.

I was disappointed that this article did not include information about how many of teachers that were surveyed use social media in their classroom.  In addition, how many have an understanding of the benefits of social media and the development of community?

To say that “children with the poorest grades in school were those who did the most online social networking” ignores numerous studies that say the opposite.  For instance, this recent article

The part that bothered me the most was about children’s handwriting beginning to suffer because they are typing more frequently.  I can honestly not remember the last time that I had to actually use cursive writing.  In addition, I print when I am teaching as it far more clear when on the board.  When will typing be taught at an earlier age and the frustration over diminishing quality of handwriting no longer be an issue?  Am I off base here?

Many non-digital natives struggle to understand how social media can be useful and that the positive aspects out-way the negative.  Digital or not, people make inappropriate decisions and choices when dealing with other people.  Is spreading rumours and bullying not just as bad online as it is in person?   Social Media or not, we need to continue teaching social skills and use anti-bullying strategies in our schools.

For those of you not using social media, here are a couple of resources that you might useful when introducing teachers to Twitter and Facebook.

Twitter Handbook for Teachers – Moodlefan Scribd article

The Ultimate Guide to Twitter

100 Ways You Should Be Using Facebook in the Classroom

Is anyone else mildly annoyed by this study?


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