STEMscopes Asks: When Should Social Media be Integrated into the Classroom?

Posted by Tahlea Jankoski on July 29, 2016





From Facebook and Instagram to Twitter and Snapchat, social media is pervasive and a huge part of many people's daily life. However, should social media be a part of classroom learning?

Social media can be an amazing tool for current information, but it can also be a distraction from work and learning tasks. So, how could integrating social media into the classroom benefit classroom curriculum? Education experts are realizing that social media tools can have a place in the classroom without obstructing the learning experience. In fact, certain education-based sites use social media to support announcements, updates, and blogging, providing better communication among teachers, students, and parents.

 Why Should Social Media Be Added to the Classroom?

It offers more opportunities for teachers and students to connect and interact outside of the classroom. It also allows students to share their personal experiences with their teachers and peers, as they may see social media platforms as a place for open discussion. Social media can also bring students greater awareness of news and events outside of their local community.

A dynamic and connected learning environment is also a great way for students to increase their understanding of the educational curriculum. Through digital resources, students may more easily retain the learning materials. 

Students are generally comfortable with social media platforms and enjoy expanding their learning through tools familiar to them. Plus, social learning theory has shown that people learn most effectively through interaction with others. This is easily accomplished through social media.

How Can Social Media Be Integrated into Learning?

Classroom Facebook Page—Students can receive assignments, announcements, and reminders, while classroom discussion can be extended beyond the classroom.

Student Blogs—Helping each student create their own blog can improve writing skills and an understanding of how to work with online platforms.

Student Showcase on Instagram—Student projects and artwork can be displayed and stored through Instagram. Students can also post images that are related to class assignments. 

Skype for Global Connections—Students can use Skype in the classroom to build connections with other students and learning experts throughout the world. 

What Grade Levels Benefit Most from Social Media Tools?

Social media can be implemented in classrooms at any grade level. For pre-K and elementary students, social media may be more appropriately used to help parents stay informed about classroom activities and their child's performance than for direct teaching. 

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers may use social media by collaborating with the class to create a blog post or community announcement. For example, Kitch Deaton, a teacher at South Elementary School in Mooresville, North Carolina, creates blog posts at the end of the school day two to three times a week, and the students work together to determine what should be included. Their posts and social media tweets are then shared with other classrooms across the United States.

Why Social Media?

We now live in a connected world that is made possible through social media platforms, and this is not likely to change in the future. By using social media tools, students can interact more with the local and global community. Students will also be more involved with facilitating their own learning, as classroom instructors lead discussions and assignments using social media tools. Finally, future generations will be more prepared for the increasingly connected landscape if they are exposed to its benefits early in their education. 




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