How Schools Need to Catch Up With Kids

School- a place to learn, grow, and develop. Really?

The technology landscape has developed rapidly in the last few decades, and as I said in a previous article, I think in the future we will look back on this time as a bigger period of growth than the Industrial Revolution. We are now living in an age where you can tell your phone to run your bath as you are driving home, and then reserve a ticket to Mars. That’s no exaggeration.

So compared to the hare of innovation in the tech world, the education sector is the tortoise. We still teach a standardized curriculum full of maths, English, science (and so we should). But as tech has developed, education on how to use it has remained at a standstill- save some basic skills like word processing. But children need to learn about social media and how to use it properly. Because right now, we’re not. And it’s breaking people.

The state of things is even leading people to quit. This article, which I contributed to, illustrates this perfectly.


According to the Guardian, poisonings among girls have risen by 42% in the last 10 years, and in the same amount of time- the number of girls admitted to hospital for cutting themselves has risen by 285%. There is clearly a massive issue which needs to be addressed. And not just in girls (although I used female figures to illastruate my point).

It is not clear that social media is the sole cause of these dramatic rises- but there is a large consensus among specialists that this is one of the main causes. What else has changed? And this is something which relates directly to education.

It seems we are at breaking point. Fortunately- many YouTubers are starting to pick up on the issues social media can present to younger people. PewDiePie, who is pretty much the face of YouTube, made a video in which he commented on ‘forced positivity on YouTube‘, and stated how everybody has their ups and downs- and how social media is an idealized version of reality. Other YouTubers such as Casey Neistat have also since commented on this.

Photo: the Guardian

However, even if awareness rises, the problem still remains. The vast complicated problem of social media which is leading so many people to unhappiness. What can we do? Educate.

The curriculum needs to adapt if it is to truly educate younger people and equip them properly for life- and not just leave them to navigate this ‘underworld’ for themselves. There needs to be education on social media, how it works, how it is different from real life, and how to properly use it without being left in a state of unhappiness or confusion. I propose a new lesson- digital media. Teachers should be trained in the art of Facebook Twitter and Snapchat, things which young people have been left to learn by themselves up until now.

Times have to change, otherwise people will.

2 thoughts on “How Schools Need to Catch Up With Kids

  1. have you written a book yet? this is refreshingly intelligent and un-full-of-crap. addressing a modern issue of increasing importance without wrapping it up in baseless assumptions or tired old cliches? my goodness, man! whats your secret? write more, please.

    that being said, if i were teaching social media in the classroom i would be using a brandless simulation. i dont want a class to be advertising our for another silo community.

    sure, real-life examples would have to be part of it, but obviously generic brands and the opportunity to interact with the full gamut of situations online (at the very least, the ones that are “safe” to demonstrate in a classroom) would work if the simulation was aesthetically convincing. such a platform could be developed between myself and a few other teachers. which gives me an idea for a sort of 21st century martial-arts class: instead of teaching kids how to block a punch (im totally in favor of classes like taekwondo for kids)

    perhaps we could get small groups of kids together to desensitize them to online bullying on an occasional basis. two teams of 3 or 4 each to talk to each other “online” (hidden from each other, preferably in a way that they didnt know which other kids were participating) and have them say the meanest things they could think of about each other– then discuss how they felt, and encourage the teams to support each other as friends. (if you can get people to work as a team, they will often do this anyway.)

    maybe if they cooperated and supported each other more, they would be more difficult to bully online. obviously you would need some psychologists/experts handy to keep the thing documented and avoid gettind sued. a permission slip from parents would help too.

    Like

    1. Thank you. I was using the real world brands more for the sake of reading- but you have some great ideas on how to implement such a system. It has to be drawn up by more experienced people than just me! I would like to write a book but am not sure how to go about it, in the mean time I’ll just keep on ‘dumping’ my ideas onto the Internet…

      Liked by 1 person

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