The Toy Shovel

Small red plastic toy shovel.

The Eyes of A Child flickr photo by -Jeffrey- shared under a Creative Commons (BY-ND) license

Once upon a time there was a young human who loved the beach. She had a toy shovel that she used at the beach all the time. She used that shovel to dig holes and make sand castles. Many fond days at the beach were spent with that shovel.

This young human also had a dog. The dog did what dogs do. Her responsibility was to clean up the dog doo when the dog was done. She disliked this task intensely and would often complain about it.

“Eureka!”1 exclaimed her parental unit one day. “Our daughter loves her beach shovel! Let’s have her use that shovel to clean up the dog mess instead of using the big metal shovel.”

After a few sessions where she was required to use her beach shovel to clean up after the dog her parental unit asked “Isn’t cleaning up after the dog so much fun now? You get to do it with that shovel you love so much.”

As you might guess, the daughter did not enjoy the shift.

The beach shovel did not make cleaning up dog poo more pleasant. It actually made things worse. It was a poor fit for the unpleasant task compared to the traditional shovel.2 The beach shovel was also now contaminated in way that made her not want to use it at all anymore even when she was at the beach.

This is my over-simplified parable on using social media platforms in education.

1 Probably minored in Greek.

2 A long sturdy handle is what you want in this scenario.

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