There are benefits for teachers to use social media for instruction.
Studies have shown that there are some benefits for schools to use social media in instruction. Dr. Richard Light's research provides evidence that working in groups have a variety of benefits that include: more engaged in their studies, better prepared for class, and learned more than students who studied on their own. Social media are a "virtual study group" which can help student learning. (http://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/study-suggests-social-media-has-place-in-classrooms.shtml)
Additional benefits include a connection to the world and community. Students can have interactions with experts, authors, museums etc. Parents can see real time events going on in the classroom through such sites as Twitter and Instagram. Also, students can interact with other students from all over the world with social media sites such as Skype.
There are a few drawbacks to using social media with students.
- Social media can be a distraction for students. Students use the educational tools to become a way to goof off and look at items not educationally based.
- The tools could be used to increase cyber bullying if students choose to use them in inappropriate manners. Students have more access to each other through social media.
- Minimized face-to-face contact. Students do not learn how to interact with each other personally. Therefore, students are lacking interpersonal skills that were once present.
If teachers choose to embrace social media it is imperative for them to be diligent in providing access to students that are safe and is beneficial in their learning. The question is how do teachers insure student safety.
There are some basic ways to make sure that students are safe when using social media.
- Teachers should learn how to use the specific social media before giving it to students
- Keep the social media site academic
- Teach students how to use the websites safely by protecting identities, passwords, and content.
Teachers can use social media as a resource.
Some sites provide instructional ideas. While, other Social Media sites such as Edmoto, Schoology, and Google Classroom are all ways to deliver instruction to students. Those type of sites are a way to provide students access to assignments that are secure and private.
A few favorite sites are Schoology, Bloomz, and Twitter.
Schoology is a learning management system to deliver content to students.
Bloomz is a resource that connects. communicates, and coordinates information between teachers and parents.
Twitter is an online social media and news networking site.
Twitter is a way for teachers can connect with other teachers and find a variety of resources.
Social media can be both a blessing and a curse for educators. However, if teachers are diligent in researching and implementing social media it can be more of a blessing. The access to resources is endless and the benefits for instructional use is also powerful. Teachers need to put forth effort to make it work for them.