How does social media affect learning?

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Social media is without a doubt changing students’ learning experiences. There are so many ways that social media can be used as a positive source for learning, but there are also some negatives, which is why the use of social media in the classroom is such a debatable topic.

In the blog posting, Social Media and Literacy, the author made some very interesting points to support the idea that social media is positively changing the student learning process. “Rather than engaging in the opportunity to engage with a variety of media to help students understand the forms and techniques, we often focus on traditional reading and writing tasks which by no means is bad but does not offer students some of the skills they will need in the workplace.” This sentence stood out to me because it is often seen that skills that are being taught in school are no longer translatable to skills that are required in the work force. Especially for my middle school students, by the time they are in the work force, technology will have increased even more than what it is now. It is important that we, as teachers, make sure that the skills that we are teaching our students will be transferrable to work outside of high school. I think those skills should be based off of social media and technology.

Tanya Joosten states on page 23 of Social Media for Educators, “by making connections to colleagues via social media, you are building an expert network that can afford opportunities in gathering information, ideas, and perspectives.” YES! This is important for educators, as well as other professionals in other careers. Being an active part of social media (Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc.) makes me a better professional. If we are not teaching our students how to properly use social media now, how can we expect them to use it properly when they are working in the professional world?

In the article, Using Social Media to Enhance Students’ Learning Experiences, it is concluded that it is beneficial for professors and students to utilize social media in the classroom (Griesemer, 2012, p. 11). Even though it might take some time to plan different lessons or activities using different types of social media, the time is worth it because it can lead to learning different skills that would otherwise not be learned if social media was not used. It is important that clear expectations are set with students in order to make learning successful within these means, but the outcomes will be far more beneficial with the use of social media versus without it. If these findings were supportive of social media at the postsecondary level, I believe they can be transferred to all grade levels.

What are your thoughts on social media and the impact is has on classroom learning and environment? There are drawbacks, but I believe the benefits out weight those drawbacks. It is important that social media is used, but also implemented correctly like stated by Tanya Joosten on pages 29-30 of Social Media for Educators. Follow the appropriate steps and the learning outcomes will be tremendous for you and your students.

Resources:
Griesemer, J. A. (2012). Using social media to enhance students’ learning experiences. Quality Approaches in Higher Education, 3(1), 8-11.

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