Driving down Social Media Way

This was originally published in my column for the Generation Next newsletter.

Another week, another call for social media to be part of the Australian schooling curriculum. 

For what it’s worth I wholeheartedly endorse any approach that is more proactive and meaningful to the way we currently address social media in schools.

Imagine for a second if we taught our teenagers to drive a car in the same manner we attempt to teach them about social media.

1. Driving lessons would be taught by adults (teachers or parents) with little or no experience of driving.

Sure they may know ofcertain brands of cars or be aware of some of their capabilities. They may know it is illegal to speed or drive without a seatbelt, but in reality they have spent little time behind the wheel.

2. Driving lessons would only focus on what not to do.

An average driving lesson would entail students being preached to about the dangers of speeding, drinking driving or not wearing a seatbelt. There may be a little advise on how to keep you and your car safe, eg. regular service checks, installing an alarm and NEVER allowing a stranger to get into your car would all constitute sound advice.

3. Driving lessons would NEVER take place in an actual car.

In fact cars would be banned in the majority of driving schools. So students would be able to take notes, draw pictures or even present a PowerPoint on how to drive, but they would only be able to put these lessons into practice once they were out of sight of an adult.

It’s time for politicians, teachers and parents to stop burying their heads in the sand when it comes to social media.

The fact is, social media isn’t technology in the lives of our kids, but an essential aspect of their world. Social media isn’t ‘new’ anymore.

We can’t continue pretending that it is, and using this as an excuse for not addressing it.

And by addressing it I do not mean banning it!

17 Comments on “Driving down Social Media Way

  1. The fact is, compared to the USA, Australia doe s a TERRIBLE job of educating young drivers and teaching them driving skills. Hence we have ridiculous restrictions on P platers to supposedly ‘limit risk’ while not upskilling young people to have the expertise they need to be safe drivers…

    Sounds like what we do with social media too. I remain in support of kids being able to use their smartphones in school. even in the poorest schools I’ve worked in kids have them. the power is in their hands and we deny them access because we dont trust or empower kids.

    • Thanks for taking the time to stop by Jocelyn! I also think sometimes we deny them access to technology, because we as educators don’t understand the value or potential of it.
      Cheers,
      Dan

    • the highest death rate in the world is from car accidents in Australia. a crazy waste of great people and talent

    • Thanks for stopping by! Not sure I agree that kids learning on their own ALWAYS leads to them learning how not to do something… but in this instance certainly!
      Cheers
      Dan

  2. I would submit that the flip side is also true. So often adults just assume that their kids know how to “do” social media. As if by virtue of being young, they know all there is to know about online communications.

    Online media is just another social setting, and young people need coaching and practice on how to interact appropriately. Just because you know how to text with your friends does not make you an expert in social media.

    Banning it is the wrong approach, I agree. But so is benign neglect.

  3. Let’s not forget that in many instances, a child’s age would be misrepresented, often by their parent, so they could drive at a younger age than the rules allow.

  4. I agree! I think kids should use social media in school. It is a great learning tool but some educators only give the students what technology they want them to have, that is silly. That is like putting a kid in a candy store and saying “Look at all the neat candy but you can not touch it”. It is silly, the kids would learn from the world, diff opinions, diff people, diff cultures and the student can teach the teacher a few things too. I think social media is good if used the right way. :)

  5. I encountered the term techno-barbarians. Interesting. Are we in a techno-barbarian age where we haven’t figured out how to control the “fire” we discovered?

  6. Great article here! We are pushing forward with technology verses innovation. We use social media in our classrooms daily to connect and engage our students in their world. Like Teaching Hamlet through Twitter! Imagine that…the impact was huge. We had a collaboration from two teachers and an administrator even publishing an iBook for social media in education! Great stuff! Keep up the great work! https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/reaching-the-tweeps/id561315812?mt=11

    • Thanks for the comment, and the link!
      Just the title: “Teaching Hamlet through Twitter” would start conversations I should imagine!
      I appreciate you taking the time to stop by!
      Dan

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