Social Media in the Classroom
Social media plays an important role in many students' day-to-day lives. Take advantage of this opportunity by bringing some of your educational content to social media! You can use social media in many ways. This guide offers some pros and cons of using social media in the classroom.
What Is Considered Social Media?
Social media is any platform where you can share information for others to see, freely exchanging ideas. There are many social media platforms, but some of the most commonly used platforms are:
People use their social media accounts to share life updates and photos, connect with friends and family and explore a whole world of information. Social media has many uses, too. People can tailor their accounts to their interests, and students can create separate accounts specifically for educational purposes.
How to Use Social Media in the Classroom
Many students already use social media. Around 94% of older students, aged 18 to 24, report using social media. And, 71% of those students report using multiple platforms a day. Social media usage decreases in younger age groups, but most still have access to platforms like YouTube with parental guidance.
Some ideas on how teachers can use social media in the classroom are:
- Create a Facebook classroom group: Create a private Facebook account to embody your classroom. Use it to post photos of student work, remind students of deadlines and make important announcements.
- Watch and post videos on YouTube: Record class lectures and share them on your class's dedicated YouTube channel. During classes, use YouTube resources to share educational videos. This is also helpful when teaching students who can benefit from combined auditory and visual learning or captioned videos.
- Share students' work on Instagram: Use Instagram to share photos of your students' work or fun videos of engaging lessons you did during the school day. If you are an administrator for a club, consider posting fun club activities, too.
- Share writing assignments on a blog: Instead of traditional writing assignments, encourage students to write blog posts. This allows students to share their hard work on a larger scale. Plus, they can access their schoolwork and memories online in the years to come.
- Use Twitter for communication: Twitter allows you to share photos and "tweets," a 280-character text post. Tweet out important class updates and information for your students to see.
There's no shortage of opportunities when using social media in the classroom. But, like almost every teaching strategy, there are some pros and cons.
Pros and Cons of Using Social Media in the Classroom
Like every tool you use in your classroom, you'll want to consider the advantages and disadvantages before integrating social media into your education strategy. Consider the following pros and cons for using social media in an educational setting:
The pros of using social media in the classroom are:
- Most students have access to social media: As previously mentioned, a good portion of U.S. students have access to social media platforms. It's worth noting that older students will have an easier time using a wider variety of social media platforms. Comparatively, younger generations will require a stricter use of social media, along with parental supervision.
- Enhance communication outside of the classroom: When your students are in your classroom, you can actively talk to them to share information. Continue this line of communication outside of the classroom by using social media.
- Digitally share important information: You likely have important information that you don't want your students to forget, like the deadline of a paper or an exam date. Use social media to remind students of important information.
The cons of using social media in the classroom are:
- Students may want to keep academic and social lives separate: When students are on social media, they're typically engaging with their peers or influencers. And, some students use social media as a way to unplug from stressors, like school. So, some students may not want to blend their personal and school lives.
- Social media may promote unproductive behaviors: Social media is packed with distractions. If you use social media during class, remember that these distractions are still present, and you may risk losing students' attention.
- The idea of safety in and out of the classroom: Millions of people use social media. Sharing student information online risks sharing information with the wrong type of people. Be aware of these risks when using social media with your students.
Tips for Using Social Media in the Classroom
Ready to start integrating social media practices into your classroom? Then, consider following these recommendations:
- Make it optional: Not every student will be eager to use social media outside of the classroom. So, make outside use of social media optional. During class, practice group social media usage, like watching educational YouTube videos or connecting with a speaker via Zoom.
- Be transparent: At the beginning of the semester, be transparent about your social media usage. Include resources in your syllabus that plainly outlines how and when you plan to use social media. That way, parents stay knowledgeable on social media usage, too.
- Respond to student feedback: The point of using social media is to benefit your students. Talk with your students about how they're liking using social media in your classroom and be open to feedback. Adjust your usage as you see fit.
- Encourage safe practices: Protect your students' safety by establishing a safety guide. Make your classroom profiles private, and never share student information, like performance-related documents or contact information.
Most importantly, talk with your students! Social media is a great way for you to bring personality to your classroom, both in and out of school. Use social media to organize your information and have conversations with your students.
Keep Your Classroom Organized with Success by Design
Social media is a great resource to keep your classroom organized online. Keep your classroom organized on paper, too, using one of Success by Design's strategically designed planners.
Our planners keep students organized, teaching them valuable skills of scheduling and planning. That way, students always know what the next step is to further their education.
- SBD, Inc.