Benefits of social media use in the classroom

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February 16, 2015 by HCDE-Texas

Benefits of social media use in the classroomAccording to Pew Internet Project’s research on teens, 95 percent of teens ages 12 – 17 are active in the online environment and 81 percent of online teens use some kind of social media. At the same time, 80 percent of teachers use social media for personal use but only 20 percent feel they are trained to use social media in a professional setting.

While many teachers avoid using social media for fear of conflict or going beyond the boundaries of appropriate use, social media use benefits the classroom by encouraging collaboration among students. Students are engaged in their world outside the classroom and are provided access to real world applications of the content learned. It also allows for faster and more effective communication.

While the benefits of social media in the classroom are great, the importance of proper training on digital literacy and digital citizenship for students, parents and teachers is greater.

Here are a few ways that social media benefits classroom engagement:

  1. Offers opportunities for engagement and collaboration with other students outside the face-to-face classroom.
  2. Provides an open, real-time pathway of communication between the classroom and experts.
  3. Encourages students to explore their personal interests and establish a digital presence.
  4. Allows shy and introverted students the opportunity for their voice to be heard.

While social media use in the classroom provides unprecedented opportunities for students, the role of appropriate digital citizenship should be taught and modeled by teachers. Teachers should be comfortable in the digital space, aware of the possible consequences, be able to teach students safety online but also share and engage in the benefits.

The following resources provide examples of how teachers can use social media in the classroom:
http://www.edutopia.org/blog/guidebook-social-media-in-classroom-vicki-davis
http://www.edudemic.com/social-media-in-education-series/
http://www.pearsonschoolsystems.com/blog/?p=2041#sthash.kW216YlM.dpbs
http://www.teachthought.com/technology/22-simple-examples-of-social-media-in-the-classroom/

Social media remains a natural choice for students to communicate in today’s digital society. It holds a place in education that fosters collaboration and engagement, while also encompassing generations of safe and responsible digital citizens that may take advantage of its benefits.

How are you using social media as a tool in your classroom? Tell us in the comments below!

About the Blogger
Lynnice Hockaday is a technology analyst for the Cirrus Learn Project at Harris County Department of Education. For the past 20 years, Lynnice has been an educator, curriculum specialist, technology coach and online instructor, and loves helping students and teachers reach outside the classroom walls by engaging and collaborating worldwide through online learning. Lynnice stays very busy outside of work with three active kids and enjoys hiking and biking in her spare time.

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