Virtual Technology: A Double-Edged Sword in Schools
As I investigated my digital footprint, I realized how much I have been using social media and other times let myself be used by them. There are a number of social networks I have used to mention here: Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsup. What I am going to say sound like a confession or an invitation. I personally got to know that most of the times, while using social networks, I have often confused what is meant to be my private life and what it has to be public life. I got to better understand that digital technologies represent a tremendous resource, but it does not replace human beings. The temptation for us students today is to think that we can get everything from internet and get rid of classes, from teachers. I think this cannot work. Internet is not self-made, it is rather made by human beings, by professors, by students, by many people around the world.
The first reason, I think so is that, on the internet, we find things which are authentic, but we find others which are unauthentic and disastrous for learning. We can find many grammatical errors, conspiracy and unfair theories or wrong ones.
The second reason is that digital learning, helpful it is, it does not replace direct contact with people. Allow me to explain myself. As one is in a direct contact with a professor, there is verbal and non-verbal communications, there exchange of gestures, there is intonation, there is an expression of face which may not be felt with virtual contact. I think has a power to mobilize a learner and stimulate curiosity for the search of knowledge.
Despite a number of lacunas highlighted, internet has advantages to be considered. It is an open space where knowledge could collectively be found and elaborated. As I search a meaning of this or that word on internet, I get many suggestions. I guess these suggestions came from different contributors. It is not an easy task to know which is the best to stay with. To me this is positive. It engages my acquired knowledge and my capacity to discern the false from the wrong.
Thus young learners can find the benefits of internet by making it a creative space. For instance, there are a number of young students who have got talents to learn and express themselves through images. Most of the time these students do not find a prosperous space to express their talents. Internet could be that space. These students could be helped to construct such media industries, and this could become a space for their esteem and growth. Schools could reinforce mutual exchanges in that realm of virtual imageries produced by their own students.
As they use the benefits of digital technologies, young learners need to differentiate the public from the private. In today’s era of social media and internet in general, youth are growing with an environment where what is public and private are confused, – confused by different media, by T.V shows, social, by some magazines, many things going on in our society. We become sons and daughters of our time. It is important for youth to know today that nothing could be done with our digital contact on internet and stay private. Would I be wrong to day that everything we put on our internet is public! For instance, the blog I’m creating now, it is no longer my personal property. It is public.
The reflection elaborated above could sound somehow moralistic. It is not my intention. I may call it one of today’s disturbing realities. And I share with youth the same reality in the world of digital media. With these in mind, I came up with a number of resolutions:
First, I have come to understand, first, that I have come to understand that not everybody has good intentions as regards to the information shared on social media. There is a need to have a positive hermeneutic of suspicion and keep some information absolutely confidential. One is not supposed to reveal too much information as regards to his or her private life on internet. It would be today unwise to share information and photo to everyone.
Second, It is needed to take a time to put order and take control of one’s profile and its related files. That would hopefully prevent maleficent searches or posts. It is important restrict unwanted entrance our contacts. For instance, I got to know that there are functions to make my social media private or public, to select friends, or even to block a person.
Third, It is important to know to whom I communicate. I may be communication to a close friend, to acquaintances, to my family, to my classmates. Before I post something, I need to whom I want to show this or that photo or communicate this information.
Fourth, I got to understand that it is need to security on the social media I use. I have to secure my profiles, by creating strong passwords.
Fifth, I need to take control of my presence on the internet. I have not stay connected when I’m not using internet, to click “Logout”.
Sixth, we find in the digital media what we put into it. Not everybody has good intentions as regards to the information shared on social media. There is thus a need to have a positive hermeneutic of suspicion and keep some information absolutely confidential. One is not supposed to reveal too much information as regards to his or her private life on internet. It would be today unwise to share information and photo to everyone.
To conclude, as a rwandan proverb says, “an uncovered stone would no longer damage a garden hoe.” The downside of digital technology could be addressed, and upside of digital technology need to be upgraded. In keeping with Narendra Modi, I dream of a digital world “where quality education reaches the most inaccessible corners driven by digital technology.”
- Narindra Modi, Indian Primer Minister (2014) https://www.narendramodi.in/shri-narendra-modi-shares-his-vision-for-digital-india-5944.