Somaliland:Students Use Social Media as a Toy not as a Tool
I remember my days in Mohamoud Ahmed Ali Secondary school where we were taking exercise books and some text books which were donated by aid agencies. Today’s students, especially those in secondary schools and universities have no interest by taking books both exercises books and text books they are carrying smart phones, laptops, tablets and other gadgets.
Allowing technology in the hands of our students opens a new opportunity and knowledge but it can be distracting because it keeps students busy during the classroom hours. Particularly when students are using those devices to check face book and etc.
It is good for our Teachers and administrators to have taken things to the extreme by outright banning the use of mobile devices in the classroom. Because I believe this isn’t encouraging students to embrace these tools for productive means. Our young students grew up with interaction of technology and they know how to use technology by taking more time for face book etc but my concern is most of them don’t understand the strategy that goes in to using to succeed their learning ways and to gain their educational goal. Let alone to build strategy they use the social media as a toy instead of a tool.
The impact of social media in the classrooms isn’t a positive because it is a tool that distracted students looking at friend photographs and other useless things and sometimes when you are in classroom you can see some students who are smiling at their smart phone or laptops instead of heeding the lecture. It is good for teachers to advice students the disadvantages of social media, how to control social media and use it in a way that helping them their learning process. I believe teaching the students how to use the technology in an effective way is a part of learning process. Using social media in the classroom may result maltreatment, cheating and distraction.
When used properly social media can be helpful rather than distraction, bullying and cheating. Most of our students only know to place their face book accounts announcement, status updates, latest photos and useless videos and that is what they like most to use in the classroom but do you know creating face book group for each class on which you post assignment and reminds students their education interests and even attentive parents can be given access so as to monitor what is going on in the group may be 100% useful the way we use it today.
Social media may have a lot of advantages if we use it as a tool such creating group assignment which can increase students’ collaboration. Using social media may also help students to develop their participation since some students may shy to display their thoughts in front of the class. Even teachers may use social media as resource sharing.
On other hand, my concern that always comes in my mind is using social media in the class improperly is a great distraction for students in the classroom and it may be difficult for the teachers to know who is paying attention and who isn’t. Taking smart phones and using social media in the schools may show the difference between family income (wealth and lower income family) and that isn’t good for students and even our society.
Although social media is so widespread part of our modern society particularly young generation. It is the duty of our government to encourage how to held social awareness about advantages and disadvantages of social media. My recommendation is either to ban phones and mobile devices and social media to be used the school day or to start to take different approaches by introducing social media in to the education by itself.
By: Mohamoud Dahir Omar