Ever thought of using social media as an educational tool in your classroom? Maybe now is the time. It is a great tool that can enrich the learning experience and improve communication. Form a deeper connection between your school and students. For instance, students can be updated with events and happenings through the school’s social media profile. We look into ways how using social media in the classroom can be helpful in the classroom.
How it can help alleviate students’ learning experience
Teachers can use social media as a positive tool by indirectly educating them on digital literacy. It may seem unnecessary, but it is a crucial skill to know. Especially nowadays when children are exposed to the internet constantly. The problem is that social media is viewed as taboo in schools. It is engraved in our heads as a ‘bad influence’ and should be nowhere near a learning setting.
However, many problems involving younger users on the internet stem from a lack of guidance and monitoring. Some parents do not monitor or teach their children how to act online. Perhaps by incorporating social media in the classroom, it could be an initiative to teach students to be responsible users. It can guide the younger generation to avoid being cyberbullies. We have all witnessed users hiding behind a fake account spreading falsehood and leaving offensive remarks to strangers online. Perhaps what the younger generation needs are proper guidance.
Social media as an effective communication tool
An advantage of adopting social media in a learning environment is that most students already know how to navigate these platforms. Teachers do not really have to ‘teach’ students how to use social media. They can act as a guide. Reminding them to be more mindful of the types of content that are being posted, as well as their behavior.. Whether or not teachers choose to include social media in lessons, students are already on it anyway. Therefore teachers might as well take it as an opportunity to use it as an effective communication tool. Students probably already have a group chat for classmates where they communicate outside of school.
Connecting with classmates, join school clubs or organizations can all be done through different platforms. This is helpful for students to also be more informed and updated about co-curricular activities. Social media could also be useful for remote learners to stay in the loop with out-of-class activities happening.
Some other ways teachers can use social media is by conducting assignments. Perhaps students can come up with their own campaign to raise funds for a good cause. Another example is to just spread awareness on a given topic. For example, students can choose a local animal shelter to collaborate with. Creating a dedicated page inviting the public to ‘adopt, don’t shop.’ This would be really helpful for the shelters and could be a great activity for students. Students will have to come up with posters and possibly visit the shelter to volunteer. They’d also learn to take and post photos of kittens and puppies up for adoption. Plus, learn how to communicate with the shelter for collaboration, and effectively communicate with the public.
Challenges in adopting social media in the classroom
There is also the challenge of bringing social media into a classroom setting, as some studies show. Students could harm the school’s reputation by posting inappropriate content.
Another challenge is ensuring students aren’t distracted during lessons. They may not pay full attention in class. It will take a lot of discipline to keep the students focus in the classroom if there are ‘entertainment’ notifications at the same time. Perhaps teachers can come up with a strict “no mobile phones during class” rule and only utilize social media for out-of-class activities and assignments instead of literally using social media in lessons. Unless the purpose is for research. Perhaps platforms like YouTube to showcase an educational video as an example.
The times have changed and technology has evolved. This tech-savvy generation is already using social media in their everyday lives and it is only sensible for schools to take advantage of it. Schools should figure out ways to integrate social media in classrooms not only to carry out lessons but also as a way to mitigate issues such as cyberbullying and educate them.
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