Does Social Media Belong in Education?

The modern world is forward thinking, new technological advances are present everywhere, the internet has certainly not missed out on these advancements. The birth of social media as discussed here https://rmanningblog.wordpress.com/2013/12/04/social-media/ has implemented dramatic changes in the classroom. Web 2.0 technologies (https://rmanningblog.wordpress.com/2013/12/26/the-arrival-of-web-2-0/) have triggered a different way young people gather and collect information. New theoretical ideas have come across as to how people interact and learn (Hicks, 2010). With studies showing a radical change in information processing and the way students use social media it is important to understand to what extent social media should be used in education.

The benefits of social media platforms are vast – particularly in blogging where some interesting research has shown a new light for blogging, Mitchell’s QuadBlogging has opened up new realms of possibilities for blogging in the classroom   https://rmanningblog.wordpress.com/2013/12/16/educational-blogging-the-right/.

Facebook is another commonly used tool among students and education establishments creating easy ways to share information and open discussion boards, providing opportunities for collaborative learning within the classroom https://rmanningblog.wordpress.com/2013/12/20/a-friend-in-facebook/.

As with all new ideas and technologies the negatives are also become highlighted. Social media in the classroom can become a sensitive subject with e-safety and privacy issues increasingly becoming a major concern. The negatives of blogging and Facebook in the classroom are explained in these blog entries https://rmanningblog.wordpress.com/2013/12/16/educational-blogging-the-wrong/

https://rmanningblog.wordpress.com/2013/12/24/facebook-the-enemy/

With benefits and negatives from social media in education arising is it possible to understand how much social media should be used in the classroom?

Social media is widely used by students in their spare time. It is a form of technology they are comfortable using and are familiar with. The benefits bought forward from social media in the classroom take a positive line with students learning. Social media allows students and teachers to connect and interact in new and exciting ways. The sites are designed to nurture collaboration and discussion (Lederer, 2012).

The negatives that follow social media in education are important to understand. The understanding of social media and the problems that come with it are important, by understanding the negatives it can allow a change in the way social media is used and can prevent any problems arising. The negatives are possibly enhanced by the fact teachers have little experience using these forms of technology and don’t know how to best implement them and control them within the classroom. Soloway (2011) suggested that there is a level of ignorance from teachers, there must be some kind of professional development to keep teachers up to speed.

Research has shown that social media can and should have a very important place in education. The benefits that it can bring to the classroom are too inherent to ignore. The problem that is holding educators back is the lack of understanding of this new style of learning and teaching. Schools have little policies on how to use social media and teachers have little understanding of how to provide a safe learning environment on the internet. For social media to blossom in our education system there needs to be a higher understanding between teachers as to how social media can benefit the curriculum and students. Policies can then be placed which could essentially eradicate the negatives such as cyber-bullying and lack of privacy.

It is about moving social media way from a space to use in free time and embracing its full potential.

Hicks, A. (2010). Shifting Paradigms: Teaching Learning and Web 2.0. Reference Services Review, 621-633.

Lederer, K. (2012, January 19). Pros and cons of Social Media in the Classroom. Retrieved December 26, 2013, from Campus Technology: http://campustechnology.com/Articles/2012/01/19/Pros-and-Cons-of-Social-Media-in-the-Classroom.aspx?Page=2

Soloway, E. (2011). Learning and Schooling in the Age of Mobilism. Educational Technology, 1-10.

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