The development of new technologies seems to have a significant impact on the social living of individuals across the world. There are different forms of technology that individuals, institutions, and other business organizations use. For instance, Learning institutions are increasingly using mobile technology and social media to support learning activities (Vorenberg, 2012). This essay explores the use of cell phones and social media in facilitating learning, as well as examining the ethical issues surrounding technology consumption.
Social media and cell phone use in learning institutions
Social media refers to online methods of interaction among individuals where they create, share, and exchange ideas as well as information, in a virtual community network. Applications and Websites dedicated to social networking, microblogging, forums, and Wikipedia are among the different types of social media. Common examples of social sites include Twitter and Facebook. These sites allow registered users to create their own profiles, send messages, upload videos and photos, as well as keep in touch with friends (O’Keeffe & Clarke, 2011).
How social media and cell phones can be used to support or enhance learning
O’Keeffe and Clarke (2011) argue that there are several ways in which this new technology can support learning. Social media and cell phones make information universally accessible anytime and encourage knowledge sharing as well as gathering among students. Additionally, cell phones and social media contain various features that support instant messaging, information sharing, emailing, and games. The platforms also facilitate communication which Vorenberg (2012) argues that it forms an integral part of learning, which facilitates knowledge sharing among learners and instructors. Cell phones and social media platforms such as Facebook also enable effective and convenient communication. They allow learners and instructors to send and receive instant feedback, which improves their learning experience.
Other social media platforms such as blogs also present unique and enhanced learning opportunities. Vorenberg (2012) argues that learning institutions can successfully use blogs as teaching tools, which are beneficial in reinforcing reading and writing skills as well as improving the students’ creativity. Additionally, social sites such as Facebook and Twitter enable learners to get more opportunities to engage in active discussions including sharing ideas, opinions, and other information materials. Learners can also use Facebook sites to engage interactively in collaborative learning where they exchange opinions and experiences concerning different academic work. This enhances their learning outcomes. Similarly, if well utilized the practice of engaging in learning through the use of various social media platforms, enhances students’ communication, their level of social connection, and even improves their technical skills.
Ethical issues surrounding the use of social media and cell phones in learning institutions
The use of cell phones and social networking sites also present ethical issues and challenges in learning outcomes. Some scholars argue that continuous use of these technologies may lead to addiction, which means that learners waste valuable time on them. As a result, they spend minimal time interacting with their peers, hence losing their social and communication skills. Isolation influences students to adopt and develop aggressive behaviors, feelings, and thoughts. The Florida Department of Education (2013) suggests that this makes them less emphatic and deteriorates their ability to develop relationships with their peers, which may be detrimental to learners and society.
Multimedia platforms have transformed the nature of communication and interaction from traditional face-to-face interactions to online sharing of experiences. As a result, students demonstrate a severe lack of social skills because they are more comfortable with newer technology than talking with others. The new technology limits the ability of a student to learn proper conversation structures and communication skills (O’Keeffe & Clarke, 2011). This may affect the discipline of students and respect towards other individuals both at school and away from learning institutions, which is unethical.
Many students with technological devices accessing social media sites are prone to psychological disorders such as anti-social behaviors and aggressive tendencies. Anti-social students often do not consider what the effects their actions may have on others (O’Keeffe &Clarke, 2011). This is unethical and extremely dangerous, especially in the relationships which adolescents develop.
Additionally, a constant stream of information through cell phones and social sites such as Facebook and Twitter, pose another problem to students’ maturation and emotional development. These sites affect the ability of the students to express themselves and respect the feelings of others. As a result, they engage in unethical behaviors such as a lack of love and mercy on others (Florida Department of Education, 2013).
In my opinion, social media and cell phones can be efficiently used to support learning in schools. However, this can be made effective if school administrators enforce policies that ensure that students use social sites for education benefits (O’Keeffe & Clarke, 2011). Teachers also have to put in place building blocks, and the right strategies in place to create a more engaged and connected learning environment. The building blocks include the collaboration of students to identify responsible usage of policies and permissions in using social media. The policies will also hold one another accountable for any inappropriate use and state clear consequences in place (Vorenberg, 2012). Parents and instructors should take appropriate measures by regulating the technology that their children should use. Applying this strategy will ensure the effective use of social media and cell phones to support learning. It will also ensure that students maintain positive ethical conduct while using these sites.
The essay has explored the use of social media and cell phones in schools to facilitate learning activities. These forms of technology facilitate learning by enhancing communication and information sharing, among students and their instructors. However, there are ethical issues that result in using these forms of technology. For instance, the deterioration of social skills and empathy towards others raises ethical issues. Therefore, parents and instructors should develop policies, and communicate to their students on the effective use of social media and cell phones to enhance learning.
Florida Department of Education (2013). Code of Ethics and Principles of Professional Conduct for the Education Profession in Florida. Web.
O’Keeffe, G., & Clarke, K. (2011). The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and Families. Pediatrics, 127(4), 800-804.
Vorenberg, A. (2012). Indecent Exposure: Do Warrantless Searches of a Student’s Cell Phone Violate the Fourth Amendment? Berkeley Journal of Criminal Law, 17(2), 62-94.