5 Ways to Turn Social Media into a Learning tool

by Ella Wilson
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Recently, teachers are trying their best to readjust their learning techniques according to students’ needs. Since the learning style of students has transformed a lot, thanks to the internet, it has become highly challenging for teachers to catch up. A report by IAO showed that 95% of teens have access to smartphones, whereas 45% of teens are almost always connected to social media. Anyone who is above 13 can create an account on social media sites as majority of the social sites have a minimum age set to 13. Looking at the popularity WhatsApp has also reduced the age to 16 years old.

The stats show that students have started to rely highly on social media. Some teachers complain that this has resulted in reduced academic outcomes since students are seen using social media inside classes and skip homework at home. Experts believe that resisting social media is useless, it is about time teachers embrace the power of the internet and use it to their advantage.

Social media sites such as Facebook, WhatsApp, and Twitter can be of great use in the educational world when used smartly. Teachers who are already using digital methods testify that social media can be an effective tool for learning. These applications don’t require a lot of knowledge about the internet and digital world and are extremely simple to use. Teachers who don’t consider themselves tech-savvy can make use of these sites in enhancing class performance. We have gathered a few ideas to help the teachers use social media as a learning tool in their classroom and online as well.

1- Use Facebook to Create Online Class Groups

In a traditional educational system, there used to students groups and societies within the class. These societies would help the students bond with each other and work in groups. The effectiveness of these societies was evident in the form of improved class grades and a well-coordinated classroom. Teachers can take these societies to another level by taking them online. Teachers could use the Facebook group features to digitize classroom groups. Facebook groups will allow the students to mingle outside of the classroom and discuss classwork more effectively. They can help each other with homework and form better class bonding. It doesn’t have to be societies, but a normal class group can be just as effective, which teachers can use to implement a hybrid model of learning.

2- Use Educational Hashtags

Twitter is one of the most expedient and easy to use platform both for teachers and students. There are Academic hashtags on twitter where students and teachers can communicate with educationalists and students from all over the world. A hashtag #EdChat is a good example, which has timing and a schedule when teachers can join the chat and discuss different topics. Teachers can also personalize this hashtag feature and create their own weekly or monthly discussion in which students can participate. Moreover, the simple outlook of twitter can also be used to update the students about class schedules and other changes that may take place. Students are likely be more responsive towards the concise updates on twitter that are based on a limited number of words.

3- Use Blogging to Analyze Student Performance

When teachers were asked about the most challenging part of teaching, they said that keeping up with individual performance can be a bit stressful. It can be hard to find out whether their teaching methods are working for every single student or not. Blogging can solve this issue. Teachers can ask the students to keep blogs that they are required to update on a weekly or monthly basis. This blog should consist of essays and personal input of students based on the topics that have been covered inside the class. This way, teachers can take some time out and check out every student’s blog post and analyze whether they have understood the topic or not. Blogging will also help the students improve their writing skills for tests and assignments.

4- YouTube for the flipped classroom concept

Digital learning goes beyond emails and messages. Videos, images, and other visual content is a huge part of online learning. YouTube can be extremely useful in enhancing your flipped classroom model. A model in which both teacher and student have control over learning. You can guide your students to watch certain videos before class. These videos should consist of basic information about the topic so that flipped learning can be applied aptly. When all students have understood the basic concepts through media, you can conduct a healthy discussion and exploration session within the classroom. It is a convenient, efficient, and time-saving method that turns an entertainment platform into an educational one.

5- Keep Students Updated

A huge part of hybrid online learning is keeping in constant touch with students. Teachers who take the formative assessment online know the importance of online interaction with students. Applications of social media sites such as Twitter or WhatsApp can be used to update students about small changes, tests, and assignments. For instance, you are starting a new topic in class, you can use WhatsApp to inform students about the topic beforehand in case they want to study the basics at home. It is also beneficial for the students as they can ask questions regarding the syllabus from teachers even when they’re home and get instant feedback. This smooth communication between teacher and student would have a positive impact on the overall outcome and individual results.

Teachers have been detesting social media for quite a long time. Although, experts have found out that a digital classroom has high rates of student success as compared to the traditional one. The reason is simple, the student finds it more enjoyable to study in a hybrid or digital classroom, where they have freedom in learning. Social media doesn’t need to be abhorred as it has proven its usefulness in digitally forward class models. Safe to say that the internet has become indispensable in the lives of students, and instead of resisting it, the smarter choice is to embrace it.

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