Social media is now more popular than ever, especially among young students. Parents and teachers express their worries that social media apps take away the students’ time and are very harmful. Facts stay facts: very few youngsters do not check on their social media profiles daily. For that reason, it is essential that educators adapt to the preferences of students in order to make the most out of the current situation.
One study concludes that as many as 95% of teens in the United States own a smartphone, and almost half of them admit being online constantly. Some professionals in the educational domain find this fact alarming and aspire to decrease their students’ online presence, whereas others try taking advantage of it. As Carla Dawson, a Digital Marketing Professor at the Catholic University of Cordoba, said: “We live in a digital ecosystem, and it is vital that educational institutions adapt.”
Here are some ways in which we can benefit from social media usage in education.
Make Studying Fun
Being open to new technologies and trends will undoubtedly create a stronger student-teacher bond. Here is a brilliant example of a biology teacher working in Bergen County. He started a debate challenge with his students on Twitter. They had to debate about the subject matter using a particular hashtag and compress their thoughts into 140 characters (good old Twitter). In such a way, students stayed focused on the subject and used their creativity at the same time. You can also create a class blog and invite classmates to contribute to it by sharing their experiences. This blog will be a great memory journal for the future after graduation.
Usually, students do their research before enrolling; that is why creating a school page on Facebook is a great way to promote it. However, Facebook has recently lost its first position, at least among students, who prefer Instagram and YouTube. It is a good idea to post recent news and updates on social media accounts of a school or college so that people could have access to it at any time. However, the page administrator should be attentive about what has been shared as it can influence the school image.
Share Additional Sources
Social media is not only a communicational tool but also a source of information. YouTube proved to be a great (and free) learning platform, so students can easily find lectures from the leading specialists in the area and then discuss it in a class. Another idea is to create a Pinterest board where a teacher or students can pin relevant material to learn what was discussed during the lesson. You can post links to interesting videos on a Facebook page of a class and even lead discussions there.
Build a Community
It is a common misconception that students use social media only as mindless entertainment. However, they actually raise many important topics using their accounts, such as eco-friendly choices, climate change, racism, equality, and others. Now, YouTube and Instagram are the most popular platforms among students. There they share their habits on productivity, show off their work on assignments, etc. You can always find real examples of essays using social media or use a do my assignment service online. What is more, people tend to share their experience entering college and can even compete online on how fast they managed to get a scholarship. Using social media in an educational process is an effective way to build a community.
We simply cannot deny the importance of online education after the outbreak of SARS-Cov-2. In the condition of a lockdown, it is vital that educators learn to use social media because there they can effectively stream live lectures. Only fifty years ago, this pandemic would stop the educational process, but today we have the opportunity to continue learning online as if nothing happened.
Dangers of Social Media
In the previous points where we were discussing how we can use social media in education, we were talking about benefitting from it outside of the classroom. However, free use of a smartphone at school is associated with certain risks, such as lack of attention and decreased focus.
Another important factor is that interpersonal conflicts and conflicts with an institution are much easier to appear online because one can post whatever anonymously. For that reason, the administration should pay special attention to cyberbullying and the content that the school representatives spread on behalf of an institution.
Finally, using social media can be time-consuming both for students and professors, especially if the person is using it mindlessly. We are convinced that modern problems require modern solutions, and people from a young age should be educated on how to use social media to their benefit.