Using Social Media in the Classroom

Instructor: Theresa Spanella

Theresa has taught college Writing for 15 years and is two classes from completing a doctorate in Education

Social media has become second nature to today's learners, so why not use it in the classroom? This lesson provides an overview of social media and explains how it can be used to enhance student learning.

Social Media in the Classroom

Today's younger generation is hooked on social media. If given the choice between Tweeting or textbooks, which would students choose? Many teachers think that if they allow their students to use social media in the classroom, students will be posting status updates about how their day is going, which would only detract from educational experiences. However, social media can be a powerful educational tool that provides unique and dynamic learning experiences to students and teachers alike.

Social media can network people across the world.

Social media are internet sites where people interact with one another. They provide a place for people across the world to share information and engage in discussions. Social media provides the means to share graphics, videos, and audio files. With a history dating back nearly 20 years, social media has become second nature to today's students.

Why Use Social Media

Social learning theory says that students learn best when they learn from each other. Several studies have found that when students study together, they earn higher grades, are more engaged, and are more motivated. For that reason, teachers have incorporated group/team learning into their classrooms for decades. Today's learners view social media as 'cool,' making it useful in providing social learning activities that are both educational and engaging. According to Dr. Richard J. Light of Harvard University's School of Education, 'This group learning format appeals to younger, socially conscious learners and is built around the notion that many minds are better than one.'

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