Today, students and teachers both are adept at using social media to meet their interests and needs as far as learning is concerned. Students use Facebook, Twitter, etc. to chat with friends, share valuable information, interesting news, and photos in groups and social circles, while teachers use it for a number of other reasons – to connect with scholars and find better learning opportunities, share a great learning video clip or website, and join education related groups of interests.
There is an urgent need to introduce social media in classrooms. If you are opposed to this concept then it won’t be too far in the future when you find yourself lagging behind. In reality, social networking sites lead to silent learning. I have seen many instructors exploiting Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ to enhance classroom discussions. Students are encouraged to write their views and comments on a specific post and in the process carry on with interesting conversations.
With Twitter and other micro-blogging platforms, from elementary schools to universities, teachers are setting up what is known as “backchannel” in their classrooms. The real-time digital streams allow students to comment, ask questions (answered by classmates or the teacher) and voice their opinions in writing. According to many students, it is much better to express what he/she thinks in writing than talking about in an open classroom set-up.
Teachers are finding in social media the hidden potential to engage the iGeneration. Let’s figure out in what ways can that be accomplished.
· Teaches can post a question or take a live poll on social media sites to know the preferences of their students. Instructors can also engage in online discussions to explain a lesson to the learners; you can share colorful info-graphics or slide presentations to make a traditional class highly interactive.
· You can create blogs to post informative articles and such similar documents and video clips for the students to view and comment. You can also encourage learners to create their own blog where they can post their completed coursework and projects for the one or more teachers to review and assign grades.
· Through networking online, students gain confidence from conversing with other like-minded peers. This medium proves specifically helpful to people who feel awkward to speak in front of a crowd and prefer expressing themselves through writing.
· Students can also join online communities to share their innovative suggestions and sort out critical learning problems. Social media communities help in enhancing coordination amongst students to learn and finish project work jointly.
· Social networking websites help students become better communicators, enabling them to understand issues and problems they are not familiar with. They can come up with new views and ideas that may improve their learning styles and approach to deal with new situations.