The words “Social media” is enough to bring upon a smile on today’s youth. The age of 14-30 or the so called “generation Y” are the major users of such platforms. With the rise in the accessibility of internet, social media is one of the fastest spreading
culture. In fact, it has become a new language of communication.
In a broad thinking Social media refers to media used for social interactions. It is helping users to create their own personal learning networks. These can be web-based or mobile-based applications that allows individuals to create, share and engage new self-generated content in digital environment. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn, etc. are some of its prime examples. These are extensively used by the youth today for social purposes, professional purposes, organisational purposes, etc.
However, the real question is,
“Can it be used in education?”
With great power comes great responsibility. If we talk about the constituents of the mixture called education today, they are students, teachers/mentors and technology. Social media connects all the three. Both students and teachers use them for personal, professional use and with the help of technology it has become omnipresent.
Social media has already become a part of the higher education, where one can find, different groups, communities, pages, etc. used for the purpose of spreading knowledge and awareness. Some universities ban on use of social media, the fact that they had to take serious steps against them shows the reach of social media among students.
The role of Social Media in education is much diversified. The list of different ways in which we can use Social media is endless. They range from simple 140 character tweets to 14 years of blogging!!! The effects maybe good and bad, depending upon how it is utilised.
Many educational institutes and admission authorities use them for recruitment of new students. It is also used as a showcase by these institutes about their records, etc. Teachers can upload videos and other information on their blog and wikis usually gets shared to thousands of people in seconds!!!
What is the fastest method of obtaining information on breaking news?
Newspapers, TV, News, NO, the correct answer is Twitter!!! Social Networking sites allow learners and educators to share thoughts, learning, idea, media with each other quickly and easily. Students can locate an expert in a field they are interested in and follow them. YouTube can be used for distance learning, supplementary lectures, etc.
Some colleges and universities have utilized podcasts, video blogs, and webcasts to share the work of students, faculty, visiting scholars and alumni with the broader world.
Faculty can communicate with and engage students, provide them support. They can build and strengthen campus community and help students connect with the alumni.
There can be links between Facebook and blackboard, or notice board so that students can check class assignments and receive course announcements. Online courses, study from home courses can be introduced through social media. Also, edtech trends like flipped classroom have seen success through its use.
Measuring the extent of the power of social media is practically impossible. It is growing and diversifying with lightning speed. With the new advancement towards BYOD in education, social media has become a part of one’s life. Every time a photo is posted, status is updated, one contributes towards his/her own digital footprint and personal brand.
In a recent study published by University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, nearly 100 percent of universities in the U.S. have social media accounts. Granted, not all of them are using it on a consistent basis, but the mere fact that almost all universities in the country have some sort of social media presence tells us that the use of social media by universities is no fad. In the same study, 49 percent of universities have some sort of written policy regarding social media. This figure will only rise as more universities evolve alongside social media and begin to incorporate it into the admissions process. Many universities are now offering either coursework or majors in social media.
Though social media has its own cons, it can become a nuisance sometimes regarding personal privacy, but the pros outweigh them easily.
Social media is a tool and hence can be used as one likes. With its area being more informal and freedom-oriented, the results can be more haphazard but when you know the best practices and experts who can guide you, you can utilize the power to its best.
Social media is integrating in the lives of students. Schools can either accept this fact and start using it to further purposes or they can ignore it and distance themselves from students.
Enjoy learning through “Facebooking”, "Tweeting" , "Pinning" !!!