Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Age of Screenagers

Who are these kids? It used to be we worried about too much Sesame Street and Barney, or other TV time, but those days are gone. Today, we worry about another type of screen time. Kids are either texting, IM'ing (instant messaging), on Facebook, or possibly even doing a Web 2.0 assignment for school. Should we be concerned? Is all of this time staring into a screen of one kind or another harmful to kids?

Many educators are concerned about the adverse affects on students' writing. They feel that the slang, or casual language used extensively in texting and IM'ing will have long term detrimental affects on students' writing. Most seem to ignore the fact that kids today are writing constantly. In fact, putting thoughts into written words is part of the natural lives of kids today. Anyone who cannot share their thoughts through texting is at risk of becoming a social outcast.

Another concern is the constant focus on a screen. Although this has shown to have some merit, this has basically replaced other forms of entertainment such as hours spent watching TV. At least many of the hours spent today are somewhat interactive.

Another worry, especially at the secondary and collegiate level is how students spend class time texting instead of focusing on the lesson being taught. However, forward thinking instructors have begun to use this to their advantage by engaging students in real-time dialogue and assessment.

In many classes today, students are participating in online learning, web-based collaborative projects, and various other computer uses throughout their school day. Often students are much more motivated in class by the use of video and interactive Smart Boards.

Obviously, the screenagers of today have lifestyles, both in and out of the class that are much different than the traditional classes. Many educators are concerned about the long-term affects of these changes. Some of us though, are celebrating the advancement of education. Our goal is to open doors and encourage students to push forward using every tool available for a more interesting and challenging learning environment.

If you qualify age-wise, go for it. Become a Screenager!


Anonymous said...

I will say that it does shock me sometimes when I get a email letter from a student and the lack of proper sentence structure is appalling.

Having said that my dad is new to social media, had a very strong educational background and his sentence structure in email is just as bad...

Mr. McGuire said...


I think sentence structure should be correct, even in email. Hopefully students will become more proficient writers as their education continues.

As long as your students don't hear about your dad's writing, you will be OK. :)

Thanks for the comment!

Anonymous said...

I think that way too many kids are always watching TV,texting or playing video games. I think kids need to start being active and start playing outside instead of having their face in a screen all the time. Video games have lots of violent in them and so does TV. I think a lot of kids are taking advise of all these violent video games and TV's. I think parents need to understand what their kid is playing or watching.

Anonymous said...

I think that each kid learns differently and if they're spending more time on the computer maybe that's a better way for them to get a grasp on something. Each kid or adult has a way of learning that works better for them. For some it's hands on for some it's computer others it may be straight from the book. I think it should be a healthy balance but some ways of learning are just better for some than others.

I feel grateful for all the new options our kids have now because someone will be out there going o.k. now I get it. The more ways to learn the more kids are helped on their road to education. Who knows what will help us next.

Mr. McGuire said...

I think that each kid learns differently That is a good point Sandra. We are all so different, who knows what will help make learning easier for any one student.

I am glad that we have the technology available because it makes learning more interesting for students. Even if it didn't help learning that much, it motivates. And, the more students are interested, the more they learn.