By Nancy Chavira
Teachers will know that using many different instructional tools in class, at all grade levels, is beneficial to students, and this is also true for using social media in the classroom. This can be especially relevant to students ranging from elementary to post-secondary classes. Incorporating social media in the curriculum will have many benefits like teaching networking, communication skills, and support for the classroom.
- Support to students outside of school
More and more, students are searching for ways to get feedback and answers outside of the traditional classroom, and social media provides expectations of immediacy of information. Social media and other online tools make it possible for students and teachers to connect quickly and support each other outside of the classroom, not only between students and their teacher but within their community of students.
One great example of this would be the creation of a Facebook page or group, that’s set to private, for the whole class to use outside of school. Teachers can use the page to post assignments, provide extra guidance or explanations, and answer questions, making full use of evening and weekend hours to expand student learning. Students can also share ideas and suggestions between each other which is great for brainstorming and gaining critical thinking skills and creativity.
Another option available to teachers is creating a private YouTube channel that allows them to teach their students through videos. By taping your lectures and posting them on YouTube afterward, students can reference them later in the week when they’re working on their homework assignments outside school hours and they need a refresher on the subject matter discussed in class.
Another great social media option is using Twitter to share key information with your students like status updates on classes, reminders, and reinforcement of important points from a class, as well as any supplemental learning tools and materials. This can be beneficial for teachers who want to send reminders to their students about tests and assignment due dates that are approaching. If there’s an important article online or a good television program, they can post it immediately when it would otherwise be too late to wait until the next class.
When students are a bit older, learning about and using social media tools like LinkedIn which are primarily for networking will help them get an early start at building important connections for job opportunities and post-secondary studies. According to Francine Drury, a tutor at Research Papers UK and Writinity, “lessons should also include information about building and using toolkits for professional communication, creating a resume, cover letter, and portfolio, and researching online for pertinent material on their future career or degrees. Facebook is also a good option for learning about networking, communicating in a professional environment, and how to make good impressions on employers and during an interview process.”
3. Parent involvement
Another great benefit of integrating social media in the classroom is allowing parents to become more involved and aware of their child’s educational process. As Frank Boone, an educator at Last Minute Writing and Draft Beyond explains to his readers that “parents can get updates during field trips, look at assignment requirements, and even support the students by sharing their own knowledge and education experiences to the whole group.”
4. Weighing the benefits
When teachers are considering bringing social media into the classroom, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons. This allows you to understand the benefits but also being prepared for the downsides and having an action plan in place. Despite all the benefits of social media, it can be a distraction, hard to monitor, can lead to cyberbullying, and reduce opportunities for face-to-face interaction. Teachers have to be aware of these negatives and have a plan in place to make sure their online platform is a safe and beneficial space.
Social media is more and more present in society, especially in younger kids’ lives, so it’s important to show proactively all the useful ways social media can be used to further learning, and preparing children for future communication. Social media benefits the students, the parents, and the teachers in providing educational support, improving communication after hours, and preparing students for their future careers.
Nancy, a freelance writer at Lucky Assignments and Gum Essays, loves to research and write about educational issues and initiatives, and her goal is to create an engaged community that can discuss different teaching and education tactics.