Page 39 - Campus Technology, May/June 2018
P. 39

with “self” and more of an inquiry of thought through a community of learners. The pressure for social media users to self-promote within expected and recognized contexts is antithetical to being free to risk being viewed as “weird” or obscure during an open and vulnerable process of academic inquiry. The reality of high social media users is actually more isolated, albeit self-promoted or produced.
Implications of the Intrusion of Self in Learning
Recently, I wrote in an article regarding the current challenges for online educators, “Our challenge is to become more flexible and value and reward innovation,
design and application. Additionally, we must maximize critical thinking and problem-solving as the essential skills they are for all jobs now and in the future.”
Certainly, newer technologies have provided amazing tools and opportunities to increase access and application of learn- ing. Specifically, however, it seems that the overall uses of technology, socially, are intruding into processes and systems of communication and interaction to the level of presenting completely new realities in terms of student perception and involvement. Increasingly, students perceive their own choic- es and identifications of “self” to be paramount and non- negotiable. Helping students understand that in active learn- ing, engagement with others and various information in an open and cooperative and constructive learning environment is foundational to useful learning and the development of new knowledge. I cannot already know what I need to learn in a process of collaboration with others; such collaboration requires open and unpredictable social and academic interac- tion. Students accustomed to isolated and self-absorbed envi- ronments of their own production are increasingly less likely to desire or understand the level of interaction and open, high- risk dialogue and critical thinking necessary to truly learn and gain new knowledge. Teachers must understand the chal- lenge of this reality and continue to support students to fully engage in the learning process and risk extending themselves into true contexts of critical thought rather than retreat into
isolation. This may include planning instruction around “pas- sive” and “active” in a more obvious manner and increasing projects and “talk time” with others rather than individual work.
The changing realities that self-promotion is creating in the business world, in professional networking and job seek- ing, and in other aspects of society are just as affected and evolving. In our discussion here regarding education, the implications for the future are challenging. As educa- tors, we must keep the discussion open and develop strat- egies and methods to involve and engage while maximizing the skills also being developed through the uses of new technology — and particularly the increased uses of social media. The positive benefits to learning of increased accessibility, mobility and continuous and global connec- tivity, which have been and continue to be explored and discussed, should not be minimized. However, the emerg- ing challenges of developing skilled but fully engaged learners remains with us. We must continue to explore and reinvent learning spaces to support and develop new gen- erations of learners who are capable of acquiring and applying new knowledge.
Ruth Reynard is a higher education consultant specializing in faculty development and instructional design.
Freitas, Donna (2017). Instagrim: Why Social Media Makes Students Miserable. The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Hobson, K. (2017). Feeling Lonely? Too Much Time On Social Media May Be Why. Health News from NPR.
Reynard, Ruth (2013). Controlling Social Media: Current Policy Trends in K-12 Education. Campus Technology.
Thompson, Zac (2016). Social Media Is Making Us All Awful and Self Absorbed. Huffington Post.
Reynard, Ruth (2017). Technology and the Future of Online Learning. Campus Technology.
My thanks also to Bethany Reynard, MAT, elementary school teacher (grades 4 and 5), OH, for her input and discussion on the topic.

   37   38   39   40   41