When most people think about social media platforms, they associate it with fashionistas who use it to show off their designer dresses or foodies who use it to reveal their latest culinary finds.
But social media can be used for so much more than self-promotion and attention-seeking. Indeed, social media can be used as a learning tool in this digital age. Many post-secondary school students are already hooked on social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and they can often be seen posting pics or responding to comments via their mobile devices.
One report, in fact, says that 90% young adults between the ages of 18 and 29 used social media as of October 2015, up from 12% in 2005, which translates into a 78% jump. So when considering that many students already use social media, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to suggest that they may be open to using it to facilitate the learning process. And that would be a good thing since students can, post-graduation, leverage their social media skills to get ahead in their careers. With that said, here’s some info about the importance of social media as a learning tool.
1. Facebook Groups
Since many students are already familiar with social media, instructors can leverage the power of platforms like Facebook to set up groups for their classes. Instructors will be able to post reminders about upcoming tests, resources for projects, and other things. Students, meanwhile, will be able to use these groups to discuss class material, work in groups on assignments, and ask instructors or fellow students for assistance or feedback. The Facebook groups, which should be restricted to class members, can definitely be a useful extension to the physical classroom.
2. Pinning for Success
Pinterest is a social media platform that instructors can use to create virtual boards containing resources for the students in their courses. As well, instructors can restrict access to the virtual boards so that their students have a dedicated area to access course-related resources.
3. YouTube Videos
YouTube is a great source of educational material. Instructors can, among other things, ask students to film themselves as they deliver presentations on assigned topics. The students can then upload their videos to an approved channel where they can be viewed and graded by the instructors.
4. Google Hangouts
Instructors who want to help students to connect with other students for group studying sessions can opt for a solution like Google Hangouts. This platform is just the sort of tool that students in post-secondary school can use to make the most of the time they have available to study for tests and exams as well as to collaborate on team projects
5. Tweet Back
Twitter, the popular micro-blogging website where people can produce short messages called tweets, can be used in the classroom environment to connect students with one another and with their instructors, to get feedback, and to disseminate resources.
Social media is certainly an important learning tool in this digital age. There are, it could be argued, an unlimited amount of possibilities when it comes to using social media to facilitate the learning process, and the five suggestions above are just scratching the surface. And since social media competency can help students get ahead later in the workforce, it makes even more sense for them to get more familiar with using it in college or university for more than just fun and games.
Author Info: This is a guest contribution by Vera Marie Reed. Vera is a freelance writer living in Glendale, California. This mother of two specializes in education and parenting content. When she’s not delivering expert advice, you can find her reading, writing, arts, going to museums and doing craft projects with her children..