There’s an ongoing debate about the role social media should play in education. Advocates point out the benefits that social media provides for today’s digital learners while critics call for regulation and for removing social media from classrooms. Finding a middle ground has become a challenge.
As an educational tool, social media enriches the learning experience by allowing students and teachers to connect and interact in new, exciting ways. Web sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn provide a platform where users can dialog, exchange ideas, and find answers to questions. These sites are designed to foster collaboration and discussion.
Despite these benefits, people argue that there are serious risks to using social media in the classroom. What are these risks—and do they outweigh the potential for opportunity?
Lets start with Pros…
Educational Tool Today’s students arrive on campus, fluent in Web and social networking technologies. Educators can leverage this knowledge to enrich the learning experience. With social media, instructors can foster collaboration and discussion, create meaningful dialogue, exchange ideas, and boost student interaction.
Enhance Student Engagement Social media is an effective way to increase student engagement and build better communication skills. Students who rarely raise a hand in class may feel more comfortable expressing themselves on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube. Social networking platforms enable teachers to establish “back channels” that foster discussion and surface ideas that students are too shy or intimidated to voice out loud.
Improve Communication Among Students and Teachers Facebook and Twitter can enhance communication among students and teachers. Educators can answer students’ questions via a Facebook page or Twitter feed, post homework assignments and lesson plans, send messages and updates, schedule or announce upcoming events, and share interesting Web sites and multimedia content. Students can use Twitter to get help from instructors or other students. A great way for instructors to give participation points in addition to in class participation is by having students tweet about something that was discussed in class.
Preparing Students for Successful Employment Students entering the workforce can use social networking sites to network and find employment. With LinkedIn, students can establish a professional web presence, post a resume, research a target company or school, and connect with other job seekers and employers. College career centers and alumni associations are using Twitter to broadcast job openings and internships. Students should follow businesses or professional organizations on Facebook and Twitter to stay updated on new opportunities and important developments in their field
So we have covered the Pros of social media in classroom…stay tuned for Cons.