Can you imagine what it would be like if the educational system didn’t make any progress at all?
The origins of education are pretty interesting. At the very beginning, children learned through exploration and self-directed play. You know; just like kittens. If humanity stopped at that point of development, the concept of society would take a whole other direction.
Fortunately, the idea of uniform education came up. But it was linked to religious studies, and we’re very lucky that the educational system outgrew that stage.
Where are we today?
In the modern classroom, technology is the guiding point. Since we can’t imagine our lives without it, we should teach students how to unlock its full potential. That’s when we encounter the concept of social media education.
Students mostly use technology for accessing social media sites. The teachers use this inclination to make their lectures more interesting and engage the students on a greater level.
How Is Social Media Educational?
When mentioning social media, people usually get the impression of students wasting time on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. That’s not what these platforms are about. When the teacher uses the right network with the right purpose, it becomes an educational tool.
- First, let’s talk about YouTube. This platform isn’t the first one that comes to mind when you think of social media. But it’s a pure social media product, where users upload content and engage others in the comments.
There are countless educational videos on YouTube. Regardless of the concepts the teacher is trying to cover, they can find great content to show in the classroom. The YouTube Learning section, in particular, is a great source of learning resources. The students can watch them in class, but they love accessing them in their free time as well. Many educators decide to create online courses with social elements to them. They teach the lecture through a video and engage the community of students in a discussion.
- Skype is the perfect example of a tool that brings social media and education together. It connects classrooms from all over the world. When learning about Africa, the students from the USA can have a video conference with students from an African country. They can also talk to representatives from European museums, Australian zoos… the opportunities are endless.
The Teacher’s Role in Global Media Education
Textbooks are no longer the foundational learning tool. In fact, the student could do without them. If the teacher presents interesting learning materials they found online, they can still stick to the curriculum.
Today’s students consider textbooks boring. It’s not because they are lazy and demand the teacher to become an entertainer. It’s because textbooks truly are boring. A history lesson presented through text is nothing but a mere collection of facts that are hard to memorize.
When the teacher asks the students to show what they learned through essays, they rewrite the textbook content. Some of them are so confused that they find professional writers. “Can you write my essay for me?” is a common question among students, and it has a definite answer. Yes; professional services write their homework. To avoid such a situation, the teacher has to engage the students with more interesting lessons and projects.
That’s where social media gets into the picture.
- An educator can create their own social learning platform that connects students from all around the world. Online learning is a huge trend and it’s not going anywhere. As more teachers become part of it, learners of all ages will have greater choice of resources that teach what they want to learn. In addition, they will get into a global community of learners with similar interests.
- In the classroom, a teacher can use social networking tools to help their students to learn more and solve different problems. YouTube is a classic tool for educational videos. But creating private Facebook groups and inviting students from other countries is another great educational method. If the students can’t solve a math problem, they can see if the students from another country can help them.
- It’s all about communication. When we were young, we used to send letters to students from other cities and countries, and they responded. It was fun! But with time, we lost touch and we hardly remember those friends anymore. Today’s students have a better chance to develop lasting friendships through social media. Let’s support them in that goal!
Social Learning Is Heading in the Right Direction
Things are moving forward in the educational system. That’s the way it should be.
When students say they are interested in technology and social media, their teachers and parents shouldn’t complain. They should find a way to use this to the advantage of the learning process. When we provide the students with fun educational resources with a social media element to them, they will become more curious to learn.
It’s time to set the boring textbook aside. Sure; textbooks are still important. But they are no longer the foundational studying method. The students should use them as support. They will learn most things in class and through their own research.
Elizabeth Skinner has taken more online courses than she can count. She is a firm believer that social media helps us learn better. Through her blogging activities, Elizabeth recommends different methods for using social media as a learning tool.