Social Media During COVID-19 – A Savior for Students

by Ella Wilson
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The bond between the internet and generation Z is extraordinary. There’s a reason that the current generation is named after the digital age i.e. the digital natives. Mobile phones are not a mere device for them but have become an extension. They are hugely reliant upon their mobile phone devices, internet, and social media.

Coronavirus has impacted the lives of many people around the world in a negative way. Everyone is having a hard time adjusting to the changes, but the young generation is finding it easier to adjust. The reason is simple, they grew up with the internet and find it easy to stay at home and do things through the web. Continuing learning during COVID-19 was initially a huge challenge, but students and teachers have adjusted pretty well.

Learning has shifted entirely to the internet. Lectures have moved to zoom videos, notes turned into google files and attendance into excel sheets. This transition hasn’t been smooth for many, but impeccable features of the internet have made it easier for educators. Among many remarkable things that happened during this lock down, one thing was the wholesome collaboration between the teachers and students. Students and teachers co-operated and found different ways to boost the learning and productivity level during the hard times of COVID-19. Considering the fact that the majority of the teacher makeup is not fluent in tech-language, therefore, students played a key role in finding innovative ways to boost learning. Many teachers were stuck at Zoom when it came to online learning, however, students had different plans.

Tech-forward institutes are not using mere video call applications to conduct their classes. They have allowed students to provide their input to improve class quality and learning methods. Social media is one of the most unexpected sources/tools of learning for students. During the lock down, social media has spread smiles through relevant pictures and videos, however, it can be an extremely effective tool of learning, if used correctly.

There are many teachers who familiarized themselves with social media sites during lock down so that they can incorporate them into their class and learning methods. Some major social media sites are Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Here’s how teachers are using these sites to boost learning during COVID-19.

1- Facebook for Engagement

Facebook has been around many years, and it is only recently that people are realizing its true potential. Unlike other social media sites where the focus is directed towards a particular thing for eg. Images, videos, messages, etc. Facebook is a versatile platform that provides multiple features. Teachers are making full use of this social media site to boost class engagement.

We inquired the teachers about e-Learning challenges, and the majority of them believed that class engagement is one of the major challenges in e-Learning. Unlike face-to-face learning, in an online class, there are fewer opportunities or reasons for students to communicate with one another which results in reduced engagement. Teachers are using Facebook features such as group posting or group chat to promote communication between the peers. There are many teachers who are creating groups for different sections/subjects so that students can discuss relevant topics with more ease. Moreover, Facebook Live allows teachers to engage with students and update them about class/homework.

2- Twitter For Updates

Twitter is a platform that teachers have been using long before COVID-19. Unlike Facebook, twitter is a simple, convenient, and easy to use platform. It is everything that a traditional teacher could wish for. Many teachers who are not tech-savvy find it difficult to understand complicated social media concepts and features. With a 280 character word limit, twitter keeps things simple and uncomplicated. If you are a teacher who is not exactly a fan of social media, then you may want to shake hands with twitter. Many teachers are using twitter to post quick updates about class timing, schedule, assignment guidelines, and other details.

It is also an excellent platform to engage students with one another by starting a hashtag. There are also many pre-existing educational hashtags on twitter that students may find helpful.

3- Instagram For Lectures

Instagram is mostly used by people to upload their pictures and videos. However, the live video feature of Instagram is extremely beneficial if used correctly. Teachers are conducting post-class summary lectures on Instagram by creating a private account so that only followers can join their live sessions. These lectures are extremely useful as they summarize the class into a short video where students can type down their questions regarding the lecture and get a quick reply from the teacher at the very instant. Typically in an online setting, students are required to send an email to the teacher and wait for hours for their reply. This is not only frustrating for students but negatively impacts productivity as well. Through an Instagram live session, teachers can communicate and answer students’ queries promptly. Not only that, but teachers can add a creative touch to class announcements by uploading poster images on Instagram.

There are several other social media platforms that teachers may want to check out. Pinterest is a great platform for art teachers where they can post images and pin them. Platforms such as Reddit and Tumblr can also be used for educational purposes as they have many features in common with Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Before choosing a platform for learning, teachers may want to analyze student activity on these platforms. Choosing a social media site where your class students are inactive may not be the best idea. Hence, social media is not all about posting videos and causing stress to the teachers, but it can be a source of solace for both students and educators.

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