Monday, February 10, 2014

Bringing Social Media into Education

By: Sean Scarpiello

These days, it seems as if everybody has a Facebook – especially students. As social media becomes a greater part of our lives, we can also make social media a greater part of our education. Many educators are finding new and innovative ways to implement social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and more into education. As a result, students are beginning to learn unfamiliar material in an interesting way.

One example of this implementation of social media into education that I have experienced personally has been in a college level toxicology class. In the beginning of the semester, our professor had our entire class join a closed Facebook group where we had to find and post news articles pertaining to toxicology. After posting, our professor was able to track who read each article and we would later discuss these articles in class. I found this extremely interesting way to learn new material. While this not only had us to post articles to the group pertaining to toxicology, it also causes us to learn about topics we normally would not come across. Plus, I found myself becoming more vigilant to news I came across which related to class material.

While it is obvious that a program such as this would clearly benefit science students, science is not the only subject where new advances are being made each day. A psychology, sociology, and political science class could definitely benefit from such a program. This holds especially true for political science classes where students can read articles on political views and stances that they normally would not come across. These types of social media based homework assignments later spur debate and feed conversations in class. Also, students can read about the different interests of their classmates and explore new and unfamiliar areas in classes such as psychology or sociology

Social media based homework assignments do not solely need to be based off of Facebook. In fact, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, and others may be just as, if not more, effective. For example, Pinterest is a site where users can share pictures of things they like. While it is most often used for sharing pictures of clothes and jewelry by girls, there are some pretty cool pages on science, math, geography, politics, psychology, and many more. Plus, educators can create their own Pinterest for students or come up with other interesting and innovative ways of getting students to learn through these types of social media. Teachers could even "tweet" homework assignments or class updates through a class Twitter

In all, social media websites are quickly becoming a large part of our lives. Therefore, it would not be difficult to make use of these websites in class. Just about all students have a number of different social media sites that they use daily and are completely free to use. So, educators who can come up with innovative ideas to incorporate social media in class will face little difficulty in implementing these ideas. Further, making use of social media in the classroom will benefit students because it is a no cost method of bringing a higher quality education to more students through the use of technology.

1 comment:

Alisandra Wederich said...

I know that due to bullying issues, many K-12 schools don't allow social media use on their premises. Consequently, I've heard of other programs, such as Edmodo, which enable more teacher and administrative controls than Facebook's "group admin," settings, making it harder for students to perpetuate online harassment.

Of course by the college level this is rarely an issue anymore, but for K-12 the bullying is such a problem that banning use of these sites is the only solution that many schools have found.