Jan 14, 2014
Photo by Flickr User Brad Flickinger
While it seems that many educators are focused on keeping kids away from social media during school, there are some teachers and institutions interested in incorporating social media as a valuable part of the learning experience. Along with its inherent disadvantages to learning environments, social media also has many advantages and possibilities that can enhance the the communication, involvement, and the exploration of the student with his/her teacher and the materials. Here’s a few ways that this is happening in classrooms today:
1. Communication: Social media gives more options for communication between the teacher and student, as well as between students. In my experience, teachers have used the platform Twitter to increase communication in the classroom. When students are either too shy or are not given the opportunity to make a comment, they can tweet their comment and add to the conversation that way. In later classes the teacher would read insightful or valuable tweets from students to generate more conversation.
2. Involvement: For many young people, social media provides community. Social media is a way to get involved in local, national, and global conversations. Encouraging students to enter these conversations through social media will help them to become more aware about the communities surrounding them, and begin to take a part in those communities. With hashtags and easy-to-follow trending topics, Twitter is a social media that can contribute to learning in a big way. Many tweets lead to important news and magazine articles and happenings in local and national governments, encouraging students to learn, form opinions, and get involved in their communities.
3. Exploration: Social media allows students and teachers to explore a wide selection of supplementary materials. By involving Twitter in the learning process, students can explore subjects that interest them even if they are not part of the class curriculum. Social media, especially Twitter, is a resource leading to millions of other resources. When used in the academic field, it can be a great tool to inspire learning and interests for many young people.
Twitter, along with other social media platforms, is an excellent way to connect current trends of social media and online communities with classroom learning. Using social media in the classroom promotes a healthy integration of technological advances with fundamental educational experiences.