Social Media and the Classroom

Will this become a mainstay in the classroom?

 

An article regarding social media in the workplace caught my eye recently and it got me thinking about the broader ramifications of social media. The article documented a study that showed that one in three grads consider salary less important than the ability to access social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter in the workplace. Putting aside your (understandably negative) knee-jerk reactions to this little tidbit, we have to instead examine just how ingrained social media is into our daily lives, especially as more young people are being brought up with increased access to these sites.

 

What I want to pose to educators out there is how would you choose to better integrate social media in the classroom? Is it even possible? Consider that many teachers in the country are already incorporating Twitter into their lessons and experiencing  increased participation from students. There are even teachers who have encouraged their students to create a Facebook page for characters from a book they are reading, thereby allowing the student to virtually inhabit the character they are studying and immersing themselves in the storyline.

 

With more and more students being brought up in a world where the social media has always been a mainstay, perhaps there should be a move to incorporate it into the classroom. After all, these social media sites manage to keep a young person’s attention for hours on end and by integrating it in the classroom, students may now devote the same time and energy to the lessons learned in school.

Now excuse me while I tweet about this blog post.

-Johnny H.

Comments

  1. Michael Hines

    The discussion about incorporating social media and new technology in the classroom has been a hot debate lately. I actually wrote a short blog post about it on my company’s website, too. You can read it here:

    http://www.enrollmark.com/2011/11/01/technology-in-the-classroom-%E2%80%93-embrace-it-or-prohibit-it/

    I think if used properly integrating social media into the classroom can be a useful tool. As a parent I do understand concerns about the over-use and abuse of this medium. Does it take away from face-to-face interaction? Are students really using it for education, or are they posting the latest video of a guy on bike getting hit by large animals in Africa?

    I think the most beneficial use for educators and schools is the ability to create community with social media. It enables parents to stay on top of events going on in schools, contact teachers, check their child’s progress, and so on. I also see how important it can be when schools hope to increase enrollment by marketing their schools online.

    However, one big concern I have is: How much time do teachers and faculty have to spend on updating Facebook or Twitter? Are they using personal time outside of the classroom to update these outlets? Are they using valuable classroom time?

  2. Jonathon Hwong

    Michael-

    You brought up several excellent concerns and that is why we are not seeing the rapid spread of social media within the classroom as we have in society. Social Media does still have the stigma that it is essentially another way to waste time even though it has been proving useful during news-worthy events (the Arab Spring protests come to mind). This stigma certainly prevents people from getting a little creative with it.

    We do have an incredible tool here that can hold a young person’s attention and this is a great reason why educators should look to utilize it in the classroom. Social media is what we make of it and there are many different creative ways to ensure that the student will stay engaged.

  3. Brooke Skiba

    I am a prospective educator working on a project at the College of Wooster in which my group is exploring this idea of social media in the classroom. Larry D. Rosen’s book, Rewired inspired many of our ideas about educational technology – we really hope to be able to pass on knowledge of this tool to educators (our focus is on eighth grade teachers). We have a website that will be public soon that will provide a resource for educators as well as more information on Rosen’s book and the need for technology and social media in the classroom. Here’s a link to our YouTube video that gives a bit more information as well as some tips for using Facebook in the classroom: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZCzvlE7S_4

Continuing the Discussion

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