A study I saw today from a Wired article shows how Facebook and Twitter makes people more productive. It really is a great article and is certainly worth a read here: Wired Magazine
The basic principle is that we explore and then exploit. It also goes back to the idea that we are entering a time of non-linear thinking and doing. Our younger generation is a group exponential learners (and doers). They look like they are goofing off - and may very well be doing just that. But then the deadline comes and everything is somehow completed expertly.
Educators NEED to recognize this now. I'll say it again. Social Media is NOT a toy.
You might read further into the comments and you'll see someone who doesn't buy in to the idea. He/she makes the comment that "everything in moderation" applies here. Not sure what they thought was the argument to what was being said, but they certainly used the phrase to try and discredit the information. It was a worthy try.
I kind of took it as a response to a previous post that expressed the need for educators to read the article. It was something they needed to read and "get". This response downplayed the ability of social media to make people more productive through bursts of productivity interlaced with downtime.
So, I might disagree with the conclusion, but I'll always side with the "moderation" phrase. However, this is my conclusion:
I don't think anyone gets lost on Facebook and Twitter because they are being lazy or actively searching for ways to waste time. I believe it's just too easy to want to consume more information. And then we look up and the day is gone. So I don't think "moderation" is the problem/solution/goal here. It's focus. It's the ability or skill to focus. Or the ability to take the wealth of information, stop the input, and focus the information into a bright beam of productivity. Focus People.
And if Social Media is not a toy. If it will exist in the workplace. If it is a viable communication and teaching tool, then we have ONE MORE reason to teach with it in our schools. ONE MORE reason that we should be teaching digital litteracy and skills in the classroom.
Our students need to learn how to manage and focus, focus and manage. But they still need the right and then left brain activity spurts to keep them going. Ignoring what the world and workplace is doing to get product is putting our students years behind the industry. They need the skill - it's one that they will only learn on their own through maturity. Which means wasting a whole lot of time, taking zeros on assignments, getting reprimanded/fired from work, etc.
The stakes are high, folks. The stakes are high.