Seriously though. a reoccuring comment by those who see it as negative is:
Kids are supposed to be learning in class. There is no place for socializing. They can socialize on their own time.Well sure they can, but don't we want them to do homework on their own time too? The lines between home and work life are blurring as we see more flexibility available due to connectivity. Additionally, I personally believe that as long as we avoid the internet as the domain of "them" then we don't have a stake in how it turns out. When responsible thoughtful adults and educators take back some of that territory and use the internet for worthwhile purposes I think students will follow suit. As far as learning being more important than socializing. Isn't learning a social experience? I learn from what I talk to people about, from listening to their opinions and disagreeing with them. Sometimes heatedly. We are social beings. Education is a social construct that is designed (at least ideally) to take the very best people in our society and have them pass on our social and cultural values. I think we learn socially and as long as we are going to help students learn we need to find ways to cultivate exceptional conversations in our learning environments.
Another person, commented: They don't have time to be commenting on someone's hair. Why not? We do it all the time. In the hall, with other teachers, in the lunch room, even when a student comes in dressed a little nicer I would often ask "Why so dressed up?" I would get varying responses, but invariably it was a time I connected socially with these people I was teaching. I stand firm in my conviction that people learn from people they know care! We must be social, the question is what it too socialy to effectively teach.