Seeing the Big Picture

LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Second, Life, Google Dogs, and the list goes on.  With so many social media tools to pick from, it could be easy to get caught up in the Internet bubble.

Here are some important facts for educators to remember when considering social media:

Social media is not going away any time soon.  It is a channel where teens and adolescents feel most comfortable communicating with others, and schools should tap into that comfort.  Some schools have attempted to ban social networking sites, and students have retaliated by “breaking into” the sites on their own.  This takes away time that the students could be learning valuable information on the Internet.  Therefore, let the children have the communication channel that will create successful learning.

Social media encourages collaboration.  It produces a channel that invites all students to participate in discussion, allows students to share their assignments, and receive feedback from a teacher. While some students are typically shy within the classroom, the virtual world allows them to speak up and share their thoughts and opinions. This has proven very effective in special education classes. The collaboration establishes relationships between students and teachers that could not have easily been formed in the traditional classroom setting.

Social media establishes interactivity. This is especially important in creating engagement in online classes. Three-quarters of students who have social network profiles are typically wondering why their online classes are not nearly exciting and engaging as the social networks. The future of online classes should provide students the social, real-time interaction that has made the Internet such a dynamic platform.

Ultimately, schools should embrace social media as an essential part of curriculum. Social media opens a set of valuable educational tools which will increase success in each student’s future.

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