Social Media in the Education System
Social media generally gets a bad reputation in today’s society; causing depression, keeping kids inside, influencing childhood obesity; take your pick of any number of problems with social media. But there is a way to use social media in our education system that would be a positive influence on students and their learning. Integrating social media into our education system could actually help students with team-building, communicating with other students, organizational skills along with other important skills that would help improve grades and test scores.
Since most students participate in social media in some way every day, it makes sense that it would be a useful learning tool. Most teachers today do everything in their power to eliminate social media in their classrooms in order to get their students to focus. But if the students are paying more attention to social media, it would stand to reason that they would be more engaged in the classroom if social media played a part in their education. In an interview with Eric Sheninger, the principal at New Milford High School in New Jersey says, “Kids are collaborating and connecting all the time outside school. It’s time to experience a shift in schools and mirror that real world within the walls of our school.” Completely eliminating social media from our education would be like saying that math isn’t important enough to teach anymore.
In addition to social media providing a learning environment that would be more like the real world, it would encourage students at a young age to have better organizational skills. Starting at around third grade, students start to develop organization methods for all of the papers that they receive, most of which fall into the darkness of their desks. If social media was introduced as a way of organizing notes starting in fifth grade, there would be a better chance of test scores improving and getting the students to fully understand lectures. A couple of examples given by a communications team in How Social Media Can Help Students Study include sharing resources via Pinterest or Tumblr, post notes online, use sites that allow students to simultaneously work on the same project together.
Using collaborative social media sites not only can help with organization, but it helps improve better communication skills between students. When social media is used as a way to communicate with others, it relieves the pressure of face to face contact and allows the students to communicate with peers without fear of being judged for asking questions. When students can communicate freely, problems are resolved more quickly as well as bringing up ideas that may not have been considered otherwise. According to Erica Loop in How the Internet Helps Improve Social Skills for Teens, “Without the added pressures of in-person communication, your teen may begin to feel a greater sense of comfort in having a discussion with her peers.” Relaxed and confident students tend to understand lectures better and perform better in the future.
Although most studies argue that social media has a negative influence on the newer generation, there is a way to turn around this stereotype. Use social media to inspire your students rather than tell them that it is getting in the way of their learning. Use social media as a stress reliever from the everyday lesson plans by asking your students to post what inspires them the most on a social media site. One way of doing this is to use Pinterest to gather ideas for making in class assignments more fun. Social media can have a possitive affect on our education system if we allow it and encourage social media use within the classroom.