Social Media in an educational environment enhances both teaching and learning processes. Various sites and applications ease communication and studying. They attract prospective students, and promote social and academic activities. They also raise concerns about privacy and the time people spend there.
Educators insist on the benefits of using Social Media at schools and universities. So, what are the common uses of Social Media in the class, their pros and cons? And what does the future of social communication in the educational system look like?
Social Media in Classroom
Regardless of attitude to particular social sites, a lot of tutors and lecturers use Pinterest, Wikipedia, and YouTube in class. Students use social networks to buy essay paper, not only for chatting. They discuss assignments with their peers and receive feedback. Below are some social sites that have been widely used in the learning environment.
Creating, Sharing and Discussing Content
Both students and teachers are encouraged to write a blog. Teachers showcase their expertise, which they cannot always do in the class. The students exercise their reasoning, analytical, and writing skills. Open comments give the opportunity to discuss the topic in a more or less informal manner. Students learn to express themselves and develop a good reaction.
YouTube is great for giving and sharing video assignments. Flickr and Pinterest are perfect for photos and illustrations. Students may share their content in private and delete it once the task was assessed.
YouTube and Zoom are two principal platforms for streaming live lectures and seminars. Both have recently been used for videoconferences.
Wiki is a fantastic tool, too. It teaches students how to collect, analyze, organize, and present information.
Both school teachers and university tutors use Twitter. They create special hashtags to inform the students of activities and deadlines.
Facebook can be useful in many ways. Schools and universities post news and important information on their official pages. Tutors organize live streaming events and conferences there. It is also the means to connect the alumni to their alma mater.
LinkedIn is a not-so-obvious tool for students. Those who are career-savvy can dip their toes in the business world early on. They may connect to prospective employers, attend career fairs, and apply for internships.
One problem both schools and universities face is how to attract new students. This is particularly serious for educational establishments located in smaller cities and towns. They need to persuade prospective students that it is worth coming to study there.
Facebook and Twitter can rise to the challenge, yet Instagram is best for building the brand. Its stories, and now also reels, give a sneak peek at the on-campus activities and academic life. Sometimes students manage the institute’s official Instagram account. Such “takeover days” are very popular. They add a personal touch that attracts future students.
The Pros and Cons of Social Media in Education
The advantages of using Social Media in the educational process are obvious. Social Media platforms assist students in accomplishing tasks more and more often. Still, both teachers and parents have doubts about its efficiency.
Social Media platforms, with their opportunity to create, share, and discuss the content,
- empower students;
- improve reasoning and discursive skills;
- improve communication skills;
- build a community;
- make the learning process more creative and versatile.
These sites have advanced functionality that students can master. The modern world is increasingly geared more towards online activities. Social Media is perfect in preparing students for this.
All these benefits become drawbacks if misused. Empowering students leads to their contesting the teacher’s leadership in class. Developing communication skills can go a step too far if students perform in their assignments badly because they get distracted. Students impoverish their social skills by limiting their personal interactions to social networks.
Social Media has also harmed writing skills. Students see no difference between online jargon and academic language.
Connecting teachers and students on social networks has also been a matter of concern. Should teachers become “friends” with their students on Facebook and elsewhere? What private information and content can teachers share on their personal accounts? These questions are tackled on a case-by-case basis by educational institutions. Yet, they remain sensitive issues for teachers, students, and parents alike.
Social Media: from Chatrooms to Universities
At the dawn of the digital era, Social Media was primarily understood as forums, blogs, and different hosting services. Facebook and Twitter have altered the way we think about all social sites. It turned out that they are a powerful PR tool that can build or ruin one’s reputation. The issue of privacy also came to the fore. Then Instagram burst on stage. It has propelled content-making, communication, marketing, and online branding to new heights.
In academia, things have been changing slowly. This is not surprising, given the conservative nature of educational systems in most countries. The common view is that Social Media, if used improperly, is detrimental to the educational process. Yet, one cannot deny the fact that students are already on social networks. Schools, colleges, and universities have to go there too if they want to connect with students.
Thus, the focus has shifted on exploring and maximizing the benefits. A Facebook profile is now a must for colleges and universities as a part of their online PR strategy. Wikipedia has won a place in academic citing. It also proved to be a good tool for collecting and organizing information. YouTube offers limitless opportunities for tutors in all disciplines to share their expertise and teach students. Front-end technology continues to facilitate the educational process. Studying becomes more interactive, immersive, and effective.
The shift to distance learning will only strengthen Social Media. So far, it has been a catalog of tools that enrich teaching and learning. In the coming years, we will see social platforms challenging the status quo in teacher-student relations. It will further impact academic research and conferencing. Other aspects of the educational system that have yet been untouched by Social Media will experience change. The brave new world awaits.