Benefits and Examples of Implementing Social Media in Education

This truly is a rapidly changing world, and if teachers want to be successful in the field of education, they themselves must learn to change with it. The biggest change we see today is the use of technology and Internet sites to supplement teaching. Even training teachers has incorporated the use of technology in the EdTPA and certification exams online at testing sites.

While developing technology and social media can be seen as a problem to some, they provide useful and endless resources when they are applied in the right ways. There are now great opportunities to have online lessons, projects, and interactions. Programs such as Google Classroom and Edmodo are immediately useful for any type of classroom and recommended. From my own teaching experience, students need interaction and familiarity, something they can relate to in their learning. Social media is very familiar to them and in using it, teachers can create fun and engaging lessons and assignments, which in turn is exciting to grade. Teachers are the actors on the stage entertaining their audience and capturing the crowd. What better way to do so than with the use of props and mechanics to enhance the experience? An “audience” engaged in the show is a happy one and that makes the “actor” successful.

Let’s start with the easy media for the classroom and build from there. Giving students assignments used to be limited to the in-school classroom. Now with social media and programs such as Google Classroom and Edmodo, teachers have the opportunity to post assignments online for students. This has a lot of benefits and in my opinion, is now essential for student success. First, students that are absent can now access notes from classes that they missed and continue to complete assignments so that they don’t fall behind. This is especially useful for students with a serious illness or injury. Second, through these programs, students can submit assignments for grading and teachers have access to these assignments without limit. Students will no longer “forget” their homework at home and lose credit in class since it will be submitted AT home. Also, the sites are very easy to access for students, especially since they are always on the Internet anyway! Next, teachers now have a record of all assignments and comments, and parents can access their child’s account to view homework and upcoming tests. Lastly, these programs are fairly easy to learn to use. I especially recommend Google Classroom for older teachers that are worried about learning the technology and only have a few posts. While I have more experience with using Google Classroom however, Edmodo has more features and capabilities for posting work. Also, it looks very similar to Facebook, which is bound to capture students’ attentions! They can even contact the teacher through these sites if any problems or questions arise.

Google Classroom Screenshots

Besides for using Google Classroom or Edmodo to post content, there are applications such as Twitter, Facebook, Pintrest, Instagram, Youtube, and Google’s handy tools that are extremely useful in teaching; the possibilities are endless!

Still, those are only some of the most popular and most commonly known tools; they are the first apps that come to mind when people think of social media, and there are plenty of ways to use them listed throughout the Internet. A goal for teachers should be to make instruction unique and make it their own. This is why searching for other apps and becoming experts is crucial.

In making a unique classroom experience, it is important to utilize new materials and tools. Since I myself am a language teacher, I will be focusing examples through language learning but the most social media that will be described are fairly flexible and can be used in almost all other concentrations. A key point to success in all social media and classrooms is sharing knowledge, whether teacher to students, students to students, or even students to teacher. It is important to remember that our students are experts already at using social media…and we have to keep up!

Besides for our common social media sites, a new tool that is handy in all classes is called blogster. (Really, one can use any free blogging site, but I have used blogster before.) The great thing about students blogging online is that they can share it with the class with the click of the mouse. In the past, teachers may have had notebooks for students and there could never have been enough time for students to read their classmates’ entries during the day. With online blogging, especially in a foreign language, students practice writing, and they can read and comment on others’ blogs.

Another social media application is called World Lens. This program is astonishing to say the least. Through your phone’s camera, the program can translate words in real time! By seeing translations to the foreign language, students can start to gather more knowledge and start to use phrases that they see more frequently. It helps students to see the language in use rather than completing rote conjugation and grammar exercises.

One other social media tool that I find extremely useful and realistic is called Cram. Teachers and students can create flashcards, worksheets, and tests to share with the class to study for an exam. Realistically, the students “cram” knowledge before a test, I see it all the time. So if they will do it anyway, why not at least help them study? This is another great way to share knowledge and have the students interact online.

All these social media sites and tools are great ways to complement learning in and out of the classroom. It is perfectly acceptable to use past methods of teaching, but social media is a part of our developing world. When information is readily available at our fingertips, teachers have to educate in ways that a cellphone or iPad can’t. So remember that social media is here to help and to make learning fun and interactive. Apply it; the students will love it and you as the teacher will love that your students are learning with social media.

Note: Keep in mind that using certain social media requires regulations and permission from parents. Check your school’s handbook or website for any social media policies before exploring the world of online education.

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