5 social media uses we must teach in schools
Gary Brady

While most teachers I know would agree with the bulk of this article and are probably thinking, like me, ‘if only’, there is a flaw in the reasoning.

It is not just the snail like pace of change in education policy that is to blame but rather the unrealistic expectations of what schools are responsible for. It is a constant frustration for many teachers that the ‘educating’ part of their job can often seem to be the one least valued.

School administrators are charged with keeping children safe physically, emotionally and mentally and this requires multiple layers of protection and security. If they are risk adverse they have reason to be. Teachers often spend more time reporting, documenting and putting out fires than they do teaching their subject. Mostly this is accepted as part of the deal and schools take their duty of care very seriously. But there are only so many hours in the day and teachers do not have a limitless supply of energy or resources.

Teaching cyber security needs to be done before children take their devices to school. There are too many documented cases of cyber bullying to be ignored. To make schools responsible for teaching cyber security on top of social skills, sex ed, tolerance, etc, etc, oh and subjects without either the funding or support of communities and parents is not all together fair.

Yes, we would love to be able to teach these skills, there is a huge amount we could do in our teaching if our students could have mobile devices in class. But, how do you avoid the damage that can be done by a group of 13 -16 year olds who have not yet become familiar with boundaries and filters, while you teach them. There is a great product in the US called ‘Clever’ that manages this situation brilliantly, yet many tech people are horrified that it limits Internet access.

Schools and teachers have the care of other people’s children and that is not something they take lightly. Nor are the litigious possibilities that have and do occur. Offer ways to introduce technology while maintaining that duty of care and teachers will embrace it enthusiastically.