Why should educators use social media in the classroom? The answer is pretty straight forward, and it has to do with the changing times. It is important for classroom educators to work on mirroring society’s influence.
According to the Facebook site, “Facebook has more than 800 million active users and more than 50 percent of the active users log on to Facebook in any given day” Social media, combined with smart phone abilities and virtual communities, has students living in a different world than 20 years ago and educators need to teach in a way that is relevant.
Using social media in the classroom does not completely redefine the way we teach; it adds a real world component to enhance learning. In the business classroom, a topic of conversation is often how businesses are using both social media and mobile marketing. Instead of simply discussing the good, the bad, and the ugly students can access real world examples. Furthermore, they can create a social media campaign and actually see what it is like to manage a business at this level.
Using specific Twitter hash tags related to group projects or papers can help take the class beyond textbooks to find information. Twitter can be used to share current events as well as relevant articles across various disciplines. Tweeting can expand student communication efforts and get them comfortable using social media beyond social purposes. Twitter is also a great way to enhance the learning of the whole class by engaging everyone in discussions. A class hashtag can enable the whole class to see when one student asks a question and help students to connect with each other.
Pinterest is something many professors and students don’t think of as an educational tool, but it can do wonders for visual learners. It is a great way to share images in an art, advertising, or any other visually-oriented class. An image can often bridge the gap between theory and reality.
Proceed with Caution
There is a need for caution when using technology and social media in the classroom. First and foremost, the classroom should remain professional and educational. While increasing engagement and education is what we want, this does not mean the classroom has to move to platforms for socializing. Education must be the primary driver.
I do encourage all educators to venture into the world of education via social media. I think that you will find this adds a component to education that truly helps to bridge the gap between theory and reality.
About the Author:
Dr. Samantha Bietsch is currently an Associate Professor in the Marketing department. Academic background includes a BBA in Marketing, MBA in Finance and a DBA in Marketing. Professional background includes working as a financial advisor, bank manage, and doing business development and marketing for financial institutions.
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