Teachers see social media's educational value

Posted on Monday, 3/4/2013 10:32 AM

Just because middle and high school students use social media to connect with their friends does not mean that websites like Facebook and Twitter do not also have educational value. Many instructors recognize social media's potential to become a technological teaching tool that can transform any learning environment into a virtual classroom.

Here are a few of social media's educational benefits, as well as examples of how it is being used in the classroom for instructional purposes:

The benefits of using media in the classroom
While some schools may view social media as nothing more than a distraction, others sing its praises as a modern teaching tool. NBC News Education Nation states that forbidding students from using websites like Facebook and Twitter at school actually prevents them from gaining the type of experience that can make them successful in their future careers.

As most businesses have a presence on social media websites, students who enter the job market with a limited knowledge of social media could be at a disadvantage. At the same time, social media provides instructors and their students with an opportunity to communicate in a different medium. Teachers can share assignments and information through Facebook, and pupils can develop their technological skills in the process. Finding ways to integrate technology into instruction will only become more important as schools transition to the Common Core State Standards, which are designed to prepare K-12 pupils for college and the workforce..

How schools are using social media
Many institutions have found ways to integrate social media into their classrooms at various grade levels. At California's Half Moon Bay High School, for example, AP U.S. history teacher Mike Putnam used Twitter's 140 character word limit as a way to help students become more concise writers, according to Edudemic, an educational technology news website. At the same time, Putnam taught his pupils about the role Twitter has played in shaping recent events.

Minnesota's Litchfield High School is another institution that has found a way to integrate Twitter into class assignments, according to the news source. Not only does English teacher Candace Boerema use the social media website to tweet writing prompts and reminders about assignments, but she also views it as a way to keep her students inspired.

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