People have always been looking for ways to connect and network with each other. In this digitization age, social media has not only reshaped the communication industry but has also redefined the ways in which we communicate and express. There are many social media websites like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn etc. that have grown in numbers constantly engaging people in some or the other activity. With the advent of the numerous social networking platforms and apps, individuals, businesses, and governments are utilizing social media platforms for constant engagement with the masses. Without any exaggeration, social media is now an integral part of our lives.
If I ask how many of us parents or any other have a Facebook account or a Twitter account or use an Instagram? Many people would be saying yes to having a Facebook account. It is definitely not a surprise a few would say no to the latter. Even if they do say yes, they wouldn’t be active or using it any longer.
But what if the same question is posed to any school going ward, you would definitely be amazed at his/her technical literacy. Technology advancement has impacted to a great extent that schools are often taking advantage of it. Schools are using social media as a platform for illustration of concepts using visual aids because certain things are better understood when seen than reading.
Social media does not include Facebook or Twitter or WhatsApp alone, rather it has several educational sites and hence many schools engage in the use of social media in classrooms. Here are the ways how educators use social media for school communications:
Schools use Facebook to improve communication by allowing students to easily message teachers and other students with questions. Creating a Facebook page for the class wherein they can post the events, updates or any assignments. They can even remind the students of the assignment due dates using this page. One can share any important information in short notice to all the students simultaneously using the Facebook page. You can even create Facebook groups and invite students to join them and post their updates pertaining to assignments or classroom activities. You can encourage students to post their blogs in the groups and ask other students to comment or discuss on the blogs posted. Students can connect with other students of different classes through Facebook pages and groups.
Twitter can be used to create a feed for your classroom and tweet about upcoming events, assignments, class activities and notes. One can connect with teachers or students of other classrooms and even communicate with the parents by building a community. Teachers can post links to articles and videos for students to learn after the class. You can follow other educators’ tweets and repost them on your wall to keep your students updated with adequate information.
Searching for videos of lessons or topics in youtube in the classroom makes lessons more effective and interactive. Record lessons and upload them to your youtube channel enabling your students to learn from them. You can even ask students to create a video of a topic or lesson and upload it in youtube for their own benefit further facilitating other students to learn from it.
Allow students to use Pinterest for presentations and promote their assignments and projects. Teachers can collaborate with other schools teachers and classes to share ideas and information. You can use community boards for group projects and save all the resources online.
You can allow students to set up their own blogs as online portfolios and encourage students to post blogs weekly. Post daily assignments or home works on the blog thereby benefitting those students as well who were absent that particular day. You can even post topics to be discussed on the blog and ask students to comment on the above.
Integration of social media into the educational stream improves communication by allowing students and teachers to communicate real-time information within seconds. Apart from these, students can also participate in online lectures and online debates through video conferencing enabling them to connect to different students or educators around the globe. Social media incorporation in schools helps students to cultivate their curiosity in learning and research by making it more interesting.