Social media is not just about news, social events, concerts, chats, or online games; it is also about education. Social networking has become available wherever you are; you can use it at school, home, through various platforms like computers, iPads, smartphones, or tablets. It facilitates interactive communication for individuals, communities, companies and why not, for educational institutes as well.
Moreover, the process of learning shouldn’t be contained within the limited space of the classroom. Students should be encouraged with pleasant teaching experiences to be curious outside the walls of the educational institutions. This learning process won’t stop even after the 17 years that a student spends in the educational environment. Life is a continuous lesson that changes every day, and one’s mind should easily adapt to it.
Social media is one way the classrooms get updated to modern technologies. Through social media, teachers unlock the positive and educational benefits of today’s technologies. It is not just about literature anymore; students should be encouraged to express themselves academically on social profiles, search and select only reliable sources to populate their news feeds and back away from articles that are damaging the social community (poor-quality articles that promote negative behavior, pseudoscience or mass manipulation).
Twitter is a great social tool to promote micro-blogging. Many teachers are starting to use Twitter as a way of completing assignments, and they urge their pupils to create profiles on this social platform. They don’t have to use their own personal profile; they can create adifferent profile for educational purposes and thanks to the fact that Twitter encourages pseudonyms, they can choose to remain anonyms outside the class.
Here is how the teachers use Twitter. They choose a specific hashtag which students add at the end of their tweets. Students have to tweet about the proposed subject, and they can easily find their colleagues’ tweets thanks to the hashtags. The limit of 140 characters imposed by Twitter is harnessing the imagination to express a complex idea in a minimum of space. Thus students come to learn how to select only powerful words that send compelling messagesto make the most of the limited number of characters.
And this is how fun subjects are created, that students really enjoy having as school tasks. For instance, literature teachers can set as a task a live blogging through which students recreate a day of the main character from the studied book. Thus, students should think of what the characters must have gone through, their inner conflicts and storms, and use just 140 characters to express their inner thoughts on Twitter.
The best thing about Facebook is that you can create private groups where you can digitally meet and discuss with all your students. Through this group, you can assist everyone in real time, use it during your lessons to share useful links and videos related to your lessons or highlight the main ideas of the lessons like if you were using a digital blackboard so that your students have a visual plan of the lesson even outside the classroom.
You can create polls for quick surveys: are your students familiar with your next lesson? Do they want to spend their Friday class on a fieldtrip or viewing a documentary in class?
Getting help might be hard for students sometimes. They have to search for their teacher through the entire school or wait outside the teacher’s room (where they are not always allowed to enter), and many of them will eventually prefer to do as they think it’s best.
However, a quick question on your private Facebook group will save them lots of time. The teacher then can quickly answer their questions related to his assignments, lessons or even extra curriculum activities. Students can also answer the questions, which is an action that encourages them to express themselves and improve their teamwork abilities.
This social platform is all about photography so it can prove to be a great tool for visual learning for your students. Everyone has a camera phone nowadays, so the possibilities of Instagram are limitless.
Teachers can use an assignment type that is possible thanks to Instagram to keep the interest of their students alive. The assignment in question is photojournalism, and it can be adapted to any major school subjects. Students can become more fascinated by geography by creating digital collections with photographs of the geographical curiosities of the local structures. The love for History can be nourished by supporting students to visit the local museums and take pictures of the exhibitions or, better yet, supporting students to visit the historical places around their hometown. What is a better way to discover history if not through adventurous trips?
Podcasts are a useful innovation to the teaching world brought by social media. By listening to interesting interviews, lessons, guest lectures, case studies, the students are honing their listening skills and attention span.
Teachers can record their lessons by using the right Podcasting tool to open the school to the entire world and make it accessible to everyone. Their students can resort to the podcasting archive to refresh their knowledge in the go, wherever they are.
All in all, the classroom is beginning to change its classic form to a more adaptable, intuitive and empathic stage. Social media offers learning tools that encourage a 2-way learning process, and teachers are stimulated to make the most of them.
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