Social Media in the Classroom; Friend or Foe?
For teachers, bringing technology and social media into the classroom can be daunting at first, especially if it is new to the teacher themselves, or the school. But, introducing the latest tools and technologies does not have to be frightening. With a little practice, social media can be a great ally to both the educator’s professional development as well as to the growth of their students.
Social Media for Student Development
Many teachers are weary of allowing social media in the classroom at the risk of the platform being more of a distraction than a learning tool. However, if it is implemented well and used to help mitigate classroom challenges, social media can make a big impact.
Here are some benefits to bringing social media and technology into the classroom:
- Increasing Collaboration– Both in in the classroom and out, social media allows for easier access to peers when working on group projects or requesting help on homework. Online connections also allow students to post questions or concerns they might have about an assignment. While this gives other students the chance to respond and help their peer, it also gives provides reinforcement for the learning that occurs in the classroom.
- Fostering Communication Skills– The use of technology gives students, who might be hesitant to speak up in the classroom, the ability to have their ideas heard while also growing their confidence to later speak in class. The use of sites like Moodle, Google Classroom, Edmodo, Schoology, Facebook and Twitter provide students with other channels to express themselves and showcase what they have learned.
- Student Data- Using virtual learning techniques on social media channels, as mentioned above, allows both teachers and students to track progress and gain additional insights into factors that may be influencing or hindering such progress.
- Resource Sharing- Social media sites allow educators and students to easily share relevant website links, documents or videos with each other. Educators can also share homework assignments, updates, class schedules and upcoming events.
- Parent-Teacher-Student Partnership– Social Media gives parents access to information about activities, big assignments and school events. It also allows them to be actively involved in their student’s education. Further, the private message feature on most sites gives teachers and parents the opportunity to discuss sensitive information about a student, their grades or their behavior in class without the inconvenience of face-to-face meetings.
- Workforce Readiness– Just as the demeanor of the classroom is changing with technology, so too is the work force. The more that students are exposed to various professional uses of social media, the better prepared they will be for ‘the real world.’ Many schools are now teaching desirable workplace skills like coding, leveraging LinkedIn or running WordPress sites along with the standard Microsoft Office use.
Social Media as a Tool for an Educator’s Professional Growth
With increased web access, educators can not only use technology and social media as tools to better connect with and engage their students, but also as a means of fostering professional growth through collaboration with other educators. This interaction allows teachers to develop a large and trusted network of mentors and peers who can offer feedback and suggestions on teaching styles, methods or new ideas.
Such dialogue can expose teachers to new techniques, lessons and activities that they may otherwise have been unaware of. It also gives teachers the chance to “preview” the challenges that other teachers faced and can thus implement measures to prevent such from occurring in their own classroom.
Social media, when implemented properly in the educational setting, can improve both a student’s learning and an educator’s instruction. To learn more about the tools that could work well in your classroom, take a look at SchoolMart’s range of innovative learning products today.