5 Tips on How to Use Social Media as an Educational Tool

June 27, 2016
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It is safe to say that social networks have become an integral part of the fabric that makes up our lives, for better or worse, and that there is no area which they haven’t influenced, and that includes education. At this moment, millions around the globe are online either looking for, or posting new information. Students are using it to study and to find answers to their assignments. Researchers have made it their library. Social media can prove to be a very useful and powerful tool if you know how to use it effectively. In this piece of writing, I'm going to take you through a few tips on how to use social media as an effective education tool.

  1. Start a Twitter feed

Twitter is a social media platform that enables people to interact efficiently. It offers quick communication and real-time feedback, among other things. For teachers and students alike Twitter could be a great place to form a community and interact with one another. The messages shared on this platform are short, however, it’s great for sharing links, connecting with other people of interest and creating lists and groups for your students so they can explore and get more insight into a particular topic. For instance, teachers can start a Twitter feed and post reminders about upcoming assignments and tests, make use of hashtags so that their students know exactly what to look for, facilitate discussions, take polls, and make important announcements.

  1. Encourage Your Students to Post Blogs on Facebook

Blogging helps your students improve their writing skills, plus it is fun. It also helps them build up a community related to the course they are taking. By posting what they learn in class, field trips or through their findings, they make their learning easier. It also makes it easier for them to share new ideas and experiences thereby helping each other learn. You can encourage your students to blog and read each other's blogs. One other benefit of blogging is that it forces students to do some research before sharing their blogs. By doing this, they will not only be helping others, but it will also encourage them to revise. To make this effective, you can give the topics they need to cover in their blogs as part of their homework.

  1. Start a Facebook Group

Everyone is on Facebook. Each time you give your students free time to choose what they want to do, the chances of you finding that they are chatting, browsing or updating their status on Facebook are high. Take advantage of this opportunity and make it fun. Let them know that Facebook is not only a place to socialize but also serves as a great learning platform. Create a class group and encourage them to join. On the group's wall, you can post assignments, remind them when to submit, post whether you will be away or not and more. It also allows your students to ask questions and share their findings. Through this group, their parents can also have an opportunity to monitor what is happening in your class.

  1. Pin Educational Items on Pinterest

When you go online, you come across educational content from many different sources. Pinterest enables you to save articles and material found online into specifically assigned boards, that you create by yourself.  You can collect, pin and organize educational content you find online for your students to access later. You can also use it to search for additional educational content to present later to your students in class. Pinterest also enables you to install a button in your browser, so when you go surfing through the web, you can easily pin content onto your boards using the button.

  1. Post Videos on YouTube

With YouTube, you can use a flipped classroom model as one of your teaching methods. You’re able to reverse the usual classroom process, as your students can simply subscribe to your YouTube videos, watch what you have posted, then come back and do the homework in class. This requires a lot more effort on your behalf, because you have to record and post the videos. However, it can save you some time especially when you can't be available for class. You can also post videos of field trips that will help remind students of what they learned.

In summary, social media is not only meant to ease global interaction but can also work very well as a learning tool. When used appropriately, social media can prove to be a powerful educational tool for students and teachers. Social media is there for you to exploit it. It offers a lot of opportunities to make your work easier. As a teacher, you don’t have to get everything done by meeting with students or posting information on a notice board. You can simply make posts on social media where students can access them from anywhere and at any time. In short, social media has made learning easier than before.

About the Author:

Mary Kleim is an educational expert and one of the founders of Assignment Masters. She is also a distant learning coach and mentor, taking advantage of modern technology and using it to enhance her working productivity.

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