Social media, like any other online resource, has so much potential in the classroom. Most educational institutions today are making use of online resources such as e-mail, e-books and video streaming sites such as YouTube. But as with anything online, social media also has its inherent disadvantages or even risks. How can educators and students use the various social media platforms to their benefit?

Getting in touch with technology

Burlington Public Schools assistant superintendent, Patrick Larkin, believes that access to social media can help students become more proficient in technology. The key, according to Larkin, is to “get teachers comfortable with it first, before students will learn how to do it responsibly and effectively.” It’s not like schools can just adopt technology such as the iPad with 3G or 4G sim card or social media to their existing structure and expect immediate improvements. Teachers would have to

Embracing the reality of change

Times are changing, and the world of social media has just as much information and influence on everyone compared to other media. In fact, Social pages are widely used by young people. A study has revealed that up to 90% of teens have used at least one social media channel. If this medium is highly used by students, then it’s time that educators start to embrace social media as a new learning tool. Larkin said that “whether we are embracing social media tools in our classrooms or not, most likely, your students are using Twitter”.

Positive versus negative online exposure

The nature of social media is that users can control their levels of exposure. What teachers and students need to realize is that information that they share are governed by privacy rules. These pieces of information, good or bad, are accessible for everyone to view. “We know that colleges are Google-searching our kids; we’ve heard it first-hand from admissions officers,” Larkin revealed. He demonstrated this vulnerability as he showed his students just how easily accessible their Tweets are on the web. However, Larkin insists that it’s just a matter of using social media properly to one’s advantage. “If the only thing we’re saying is, ‘Don’t do something wrong,’… Our goal should be to not have empty Google searches when someone does a search of our students, but that they find amazing work when they do those Google searches,” he says. Improving students’ and teachers’ online personas are important in such that more than just being their online presence, they reflect academic personalities.

Also read this article about The Role of Social Media in Education from London College of International Business Studies.

Use with caution

While social media in general has that much influence in educational circles, students should exercise their better judgment, especially when it comes to academic boundaries. In 2008, a Ryerson University student was accused of cheating which led to him being expelled from the school. The said student created a Facebook group to discuss assignments with his classmates which the school took as an academic misconduct. The school’s spokesperson said that “we want them (students) to achieve. But that also means that they sometimes have to do the hard work of learning and not take the easy way out.” Thus, although social media has proven to be a great educational tool, it also has its downside.

It’s best to maximize the social platforms for learning and not only for chit chatting with friends. Perhaps, search about the latest news or get in touch with professors who can help you with your on-going class paper. As long as you utilize it properly, we don’t see the reason why having a Facebook, Twitter or other social accounts are wrong. Do you think so too?

For example, the current Facebook network. For a modern educator, such features as creating ads, pages, groups and events can be useful in this social network; discussion of publications, photos or videos; organization of polls; real-time communication; add multiple contacts to the chat; video communication organization; possibility of group activity, etc.
The Facebook social network can be used to:

  • group training (for work in educational mini-groups);
  • personal training (for self-education);
  • random learning (the ability to learn something new unconsciously);
  • In-service training (use for informing about the functioning of an educational institution and related activities).

Social networks are also useful for extracurricular activities and for communication between participants of competitions, competitions, summer schools, seminars, camps, clubs, etc., which allows not only to create a positive emotional climate of events, but also to improve their quality of conduct.

Social Networking Ideas for Facebook:

  • Literature: creating a profile (or group) of the protagonist of the work and adding the necessary images, links, discussions that correspond to the character of this hero;
  • Tracking events in the lives of well-known people that are related to the study of a specific topic;
  • Study geography (publication of information about geographic objects, their photographs and relief with reference to interactive maps, etc.). An example is an open group of interesting geography;
  • Communication with peers from other cities or countries (including in the process of carrying out research tasks);
  • Use hashtags to track posts and discussions on topics being studied.
  • Quick communication with parents about student education, news reports, etc.
  • The organization of interactive competitions for students (for example, the Contest of Merry Science) and many others.

So, what do you think about it? Do you use social networks?