We are all aware and witnessing how technology and social media platforms have turned into an inseparable portion of our everyday lives. It is virtually unimaginable to spend more than several hours without scrolling our newsfeed or looking up through the stories on Instagram.
According to some figures, more than 2/3 of people over sixteen years of age own at least one profile registered on the mainstream social networks. Of course, no one can oppose the fact that the vast majority of these users are simply schoolchildren who use these social media networks for various purposes.
How to use social media for education?
- Class Facebook group. Students and teachers can share knowledge about the course. This a great way for students to communicate with their peers outside of the classroom.
- Student blogging. This helps students practice their writing skills
- YouTube. Many instructional and education videos can be found on this site.
Social media in education can be a helpful tool rather than considered a distraction when used wisely. Global fame and hunger for social media can be beneficial, so the question we raise today is how we can use social media to improve the overall education process.
In academic circles, social media platforms generate innovative solutions for exchanging ideas and working together with teachers and peers. Using it in class or in academic settings fosters content integration on multiple levels and it allows students to ask questions making them more motivated to engage online than simply visiting a professor in person. Social media platforms serve as alternative approach for shyer students to voice up their opinions and join the community. Furthermore, by being attracted to various social media feeds or hashtags focused on a current matter or posted by experts in the field, students can get a better insight about the world around them in a language closer to their mindset.
This information can be used in a variety of class discussions:
- research projects
- writing assignments
- field trip story telling
- book or movie reviews
- authoring news story reportage etc.
The result – having learning environment that not only overcomes certain barriers, but also boosts communication building and critical thinking among peers.
Another great perk of social networks is the availability of information on how and where to continue education for high school students. Many of them have a desire to live in another country, study abroad, become experts in some specific field and grasp every possible chance to fulfil their dreams. Social media platforms are rich with much useful data on available curricula, scholarships and grants as well as real time info about living and studying costs.
So, all in all, the first and foremost advantage of these platforms is communication. You can make a connection with anyone and anywhere at any given time. Students can be active contributors and establish their own communities with shared interests, approaches, events as well as topics for discussions.
How To Use Social Media For Education
Practical experiences differ in different regions, education levels, countries and age groups, however, the most common ones are:
- Class Facebook group – Creating a Facebook group for each class is an awesome idea. Students and teachers can post projects, make announcements, post videos, photos or resources and reminders about important deadlines. Parents can also access it to follow what is going on in the class.
- Student blogging – As the Latin phrase goes – “Repetitio est mater studiorum” (Repetition is the mother of study), so student writing gets better the more they do it. Unlike traditional writing assignments, blogs create unique ground for students to write and exhibit their writing, thus forming a stronger bond with one another, carefully practising their syntax, spelling, language and grammar skills while doing so.
– Topical Twitter feed – Twitter is made for interaction. Teachers should encourage their students to interact with others via Twitter and discuss a particular lesson. Many organizations and experts also offer live Twitter chat sessions aimed to boost student participation.
– Student videos on YouTube – YouTube is a brilliant choice to watch lectures and resources aimed at helping students to learn something. Creativity can give us plenty of options, so instead of watching video material created by others, teachers can support students in using social media to create student content online and further develop their skills.
Do’s and Don’ts of social media for students and educators
- Always set a boundary between personal and professional social media space
- Do make sure that strict privacy settings are in place for schools’ activities and that those settings are reviewed frequently
- Always post positive and helpful content
- Always quote references and give credits to authors
- Both students and teachers should not say anything on their social media profile that wouldn’t be said in class.
- Educators shouldn’t get too relaxed and all chatty with students. This may lead students into thinking you’re available at any time of day for this. Be available for them as much as possible, but always keep it professional.
- Students and educators alike should not share too much on school blogs and class groups. Personal photos or activities should be avoided as much as possible.
Advantages of using social media as a tool in education
Social media platforms are the home of an immense pool of different information interconnected with other resources through millions of hyperlinks. This means that aside from having fun, students can discover answers to some very important questions by using them. Starting from preparing for the lessons, digging up some data or survey results and up to getting help from others, they can become the pillar of support students needed.
New technologies have caused a momentous revolution in education and social media exposure has turned into a great driver for students to strive for better results. Up-to-date teachers grasp these contemporary movements in education and understand the vital role social media represents in students’ lives, so by combining these networks with educational content they come to the perfect solution.
When asked, students easily admit how platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Twitter, boost their learning and how they make it more exciting to develop a discussion over a topic through chatting rather than doing it in class. On the other hand, teachers can use social networking to foster collaboration among students and develop student relationships by providing a comfortable channel of communication.
Alumni are at the end of each education cycle. By using social media networks to stay associated with this group, we are indeed contributing towards a stronger community. Thus, schools playing smart can promote continuous learning opportunities for ex-students and endorse their successes – hence creating a really powerful marketing tool within itself.
Let’s not forget the numbers
Many studies and researches in North America have shown the magnitude of the use of social media in schools. The following numbers only support the efforts of building capacity in schools to use social media for the development of the educational system:
- 96% of students with internet access actively use social media
- 75% of 7th – 12th graders possess at least one social media profile
- 73% of middle and high school teachers use cell phones in classroom instruction
- 63% rise in the amount of time kids ages 2-11 spent online
- 59% of students active on social media discuss education topics online
- 50% of those who discuss education topics online talk explicitly about school related assignments
- 35% of schools promote establishing student or teacher-run blogs
- 59% of teachers say their students use social networking for educational purposes
- 27% of schools have created an online community for teachers and administrators
These figures show that social media can also serve as a professional development platform for educators as well. Majority of teachers report that a great deal of the time spent online is aimed at looking up and sharing resources with their students on Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter. The percentage of daring teachers or professors ready go above their comfort zone and engage through social media is much higher compared to only several years ago. Creativity brings unlimited potentials, both for educators and students alike.
Can social media be used in colleges and universities? – Student college experience and social life plays a big part in choosing where to study for prospective freshmen. By having the ability to be prompt, visual and potentially promoted by and for the students themselves, social media offers the best capture of student experience possible and therefore it should be used hand in hand with more traditional marketing models such as college open days, direct email newsletters and other promotional activities.
Can social media in education be misused? – Negative aspects of social media in the classroom are a fact and pose a certain challenge for educators. Unprofessional or offensive public postings from personal accounts containing foul language or targeting someone’s privacy are just the tip of the iceberg. However, all of these can be prevented or overcome with thoughtful interaction among students and teachers. The most practical way to do so is to establish or review the school’s social media policy and even ask parents to sign a form to express their consent when it comes to what their children can post online.
Can parents be involved in social media interaction? – As time goes by, more and more parents are active on mainstream social media platforms. Educators can also take advantage of this fact and connect with parents through the use of the networks and provide them with the possibility to track their children’s progress in relation to the study material and topics discussed.