Social Media in the classroom. Is it good or bad?
It’s a tail as old as time, most professors don’t want any type of unnecessary technology in the classroom, cell phones, laptops ipads etc. In today’s world when majority of students arrive on campus, we have a fairly large amount of knowledge about the web and todays social media sites such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, and when I say large I mean that we might as well be born with phones glued to our palms because of how well and how often we use these technologies and sites.
Unfortunately for several reasons a lot of professors think that these technologies aren’t useful in the classroom and therefor don’t allow us students to use them. Social media is an educational tool, it enriches our learning experience by allowing us students and our teachers to connect and interact together in new and exciting ways. Web sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn provide us with a platform where we as the users can exchange ideas, find answers to questions and make our attempt to add value to the person we’re exchanging these ideas with. The sites are designed to foster collaboration and discussion and if used properly they can be very beneficial.
Before this semester in college I had only known not using technology in class. I would leave my computer at home because it wasn’t necessary for me to bring it with me and add an extra five pounds to my backpack that already felt like it weighed 50 pounds and also because I wouldn’t really any time to even look at my phone while in class because I was too concerned with the cramps in my fingers from writing the seemingly endless pages of notes the professor had on the bored so that I wouldn’t miss something important. This semester came as a huge shock to me. Three of my five classes encourage the use of technology in the classroom and have begun to incorporate it.
Having an 8 A. M. class was obviously not my idea of fun, being a 21-year-old who loves sleep more than anything, I cringed at the thought of what time I would have to wake up just to be on time for this class. When I did get to class I was pleasantly surprised with what is called social media Friday’s and webinar Monday’s meaning that I can stay at home in my pajamas and get the in-class experience and credit without actually having to attend class. Who doesn’t love the idea of that? It saves me from having to leave my bed at some ungodly hour.
Unfortunately, this semester I have encountered one of the worst professors that I have ever had. Not only does she not want technology in the classroom but if she even catches you looking at your phone or if your phone accidentally goes off in the middle of class she takes points off your grade, like almost a whole letter grade worth of points. Which in my opinion is a little ridiculous to put it nicely. I go from one class wanting us to use our phones and computers, to another one punishing me for using them. I have learned so much more from being able to use my computer and phone in class.
In most cases, students are not learning social media skills in classes. If you really think about it: would you give the keys to a brand-new Audi to a 13-year-old with no driving lessons and say, have fun? This is essentially what we are doing with social media. Social media has become one of the greatest educational tools, but yet, it goes untaught. But why? Fear of the unknown? Lack of value? What is so scary about social media? If professors don’t try it, how can they know the benefits that it has to offer?
Students communicate, research, collaborate, create, and publish online with or without the help of parents and or their professors. The same students then hop on social media to promote, discuss, and share their thoughts with the world. The digital environment is offering us some of the greatest learning opportunities that we have never had.
With social media we are able to communicate our thoughts and perceptions over different topics with a large number of audiences, and raise our voice. The sharing feature available on social media makes your opinion about any topic can reach a large number of people, even to those who are not on your friends list. We have the option to make groups with people who share similar thoughts which allows us to share news with them and ask for their opinion or input about the topic. These opportunities enhance how we communicate with one another.
Majority of the time we don’t even notice this but as soon as we open our phones or laptops to access the internet, we sub-consciously open our favorite social network just to see if anything new has happened. Businesses have noticed the value of social networks in our life, and they are starting to use different techniques to promote their products. There are a number of customized apps being made on the social platforms, whose main purpose is to promote these products or brands.
Social media has become a part of almost every person’s daily life. Companies use and thrive from it. I mean, even our President uses it for crying out loud. It has become vital and can bring value into our everyday relationships. For someone to have a differing opinion, that it should not be used by professors/students, makes me think that they do not realize what can come from it. Social media is not going anywhere. If anything, it makes advancements daily and will continue to make advancements for what I would guess to be, a very long time.