Many of us could not imagine a day without the deep urge to tap or scroll through what our social media feeds. When we prepare for bed, we move on from checking Facebook on our laptop to checking Facebook on our phones in bed.
Social media is ingrained in our lives so much to the point that it’s seen as normal. The only issue is, it’s come to the point that students are being graded on how many likes they can rack up on their school projects, and only recently has the government stopped to think that maybe, just maybe, there’s something wrong with that.
In the Philippines, the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) urged teachers to avoid assigning projects that require social media interaction after parents complained that these aforementioned projects are compromising their children’s security.
In a recorded interview by ABS-CBN News TV program TV Patrol, a student said that the number of likes on a Facebook post for their project is correlated to the score that they will get. “We need to get 100 likes or [heart reacts] to get 100 points in our project,” the student said. Other variants include popularity contests where posts with the most likes get bonus points. A 2018 Twitter thread went viral after calling out the required Facebook contests.
Aside from security concerns, the students’ capability to access the internet was also put into question. The Philippines has one of the lower internet speeds in Asia, with an average download speed of 14.46Mbps according to a February 2019 report.
Unless the project is marketing-based, I fail to see the educational value of teaching your students to beg for likes on social media,” said the Twitter user who points out how the contests fail to educate anything about the subject matter, no matter what it is.
Parents are also concerned that instead of working on their projects, their children are just wasting their time on social media. One student in the recorded TV interview said that they’re already using social media as an education tool. Group chats of students and their respective teachers are common, and teachers send school updates where students are most likely to pay attention: on social media, where most of them already are all the time.
The DICT is set to meet with the Commission of Higher Education (CHED) and the Department of Education (DepEd) regarding the issue at hand, and hopefully this will produce clearer guidelines for how social media should factor into schoolwork. One can hope that while practical uses group chats will still be allowed, school projects that require Facebook likes should be banned forever, simply because school is bad enough without being obliged to ‘like’ homework.