Social Media in Education

06 Oct
When thinking about what I wanted to explore this week and much like Ashley I was drawn into the realm of social media in the classroom. I came across a podcast entitled Social Media and Education: The Conflict Between Technology and Institutional Education, and the Future by Sarah Robbins-Bell. Social media has changed the way that we interact with media. It has altered the way we learn and share information on a daily basis giving us access to things that are happening, sometimes within minutes of the event.
social-media-488886_1280Social Media exemplifies exactly what learning should be. Everyone should be a lifelong learner. Everyone should have access to high quality information they can engage with and share with other people. As parents we give “free access to technology but when students go to school it is stifled”. This creates a disconnect for our kids and is often the reason kids feel the need to “sneak” their phones in or quickly jump onto Facebook during a work period.

Learning is changing. The way technology allows us to get information and share information certainly conflicts with the old school vision of what education is. We as teachers are not the “all knowing” in fact there are several students in my classroom who have taught me a thing or two about media. Kids are proficient with technology like video games, cell phone, YouTube and even Google … they see the world differently. Robbins-Bell feels that there are many benefits of learning available via social media and “if we don’t embrace the shift we will get left behind”. Until beginning this class I thought I was doing well but I now realize that I have just been treading water when it comes to media literacy and my students. We have to understand it to teach it.

The podcast worked through a comparison of Institutional Education vs Social Media. So what does institutional education offer? First it offers membership to groups like social clubs and extracurricular activities. It also offers intellectual discussions and access to resources and experts. Finally it offers its official endorsement. When you graduate you  gain the stamp of approval from that institution. How does this compare to social media?  Social Media offers an opportunity of self-expression things like Flickr provide a forum for individuals to express themselves. It also offers a place to be with other people who share common interests. This also means that in many places on social media people are reviewing, commenting, critiquing articles / stories that have been created (the peer review process in real time). Also, like an educational institution Social Media offers access to experts and personalities. The big difference is the vast amount of people available increases exponentially. Social media also offers an opportunity to enhance personal and professional reputations by providing  a place where you can build your portfolio online. This could lead to future opportunities without the stamp of approval from an institution.

Social media changes how we can reach people and how many people we can reach. If all communication is education wouldn’t we we want students to learn through exchanging ideas via Social Media? It’s true that in a classroom sometimes we need to have a lecture style lesson happened but two way communication is much more valuable as a learning opportunity by giving a voice to each student.

Robbins – Bell highlights that when using Social Media is important that educators remember that we are not the gatekeepers of knowledge. Our role as educators is critical:

  • We need to teach students to learn in an “information economy”. This means we need to teach him that access to information is there right and their responsibility. We also have to give them the skills and tools that they need in order to look it up and analyze the information.
  • We need to teach students the importance of contributing to community. They are global citizens connected through  media.
  • We need to be able to relate to our students as co-creators. We need to shift from the mindset of doing this because I said so and become the guys to shave their own paths.
  • We need to ensure that they have the skills to interpret the information that there discovering and offer them a place to bring back their learning and share with the group.
  • Social media in the classroom offers us an opportunity to report activities throughout the day.

On the flip side of all of this do we want our students to be constantly “connected” or should school provide a place to spend time ‘offline’? or is this just the thinking of an educator who they themselves do not use a lot of social media and are uncomfortable?

Don Goble strongly advocates using social media in the classroom. ives us something to think about as he advocates social media in the classroom.

 Students communicate, research, collaborate, create and publish with or without parents or educators”. So doesn’t it make sense that we would want to use social media in the classroom to capitalize on this learning? When we feel a conflict with the new technology we are feeling a conflict with how we view education and knowledge and how we gain education.

I have shied away from using social media in the classroom but have started the journey with my students. The more I read and see examples of how others are embracing blogging, twitter and other forums with students and parents, the more encouraged I am to try it in my classroom. Today we posted our first classroom story in the news feed on our ClassDojo and they were so proud. Small steps right?


Posted by on October 6, 2015 in EC&I832


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5 responses to “Social Media in Education

  1. ashleydew

    October 6, 2015 at 12:57 am

    You bring up an interesting question…do we want students to be constantly connected. I know I struggle in seeing the amount of time students spend learning on laptops. Combined with screen time at home, this could amount for a large portion of the day. Is this part of a well-rounded education to only have one mode of learning? I enjoy the opportunity in science classes to provide students with hands-on learning experiences. Although it is neat to watch a biology dissection, for example, online, I still personally feel that there is something to be said about experiencing these activities in real life.


  2. jstewiestewie

    October 6, 2015 at 3:51 am

    Thanks for sharing your thoughtful considerations on social media and education. I like the point you make in the beginning, “Social Media exemplifies exactly what learning should be. Everyone should be a lifelong learner. Everyone should have access to high quality information they can engage with and share with other people.” If only every educator were to look at the potentials social media has to connect students beyond the confines of the classroom walls and help to guide students in this realm.

    I also really appreciate the point you noted from Robbins-Bell, “if we don’t embrace the shift we will get left behind”. I think every teacher, regardless of where they are with media literacy or even digital literacy needs to look at developing a growth mindset towards using technology. Often there are complaints that there needs to be PD around developing these skills, yet I wonder how many are taking home their device to explore or experiment? or even watch a Youtube video regarding using the devices. Do teachers have to have a 1/2 PD to learn how to be a better math teacher? Isn’t that something as professionals we should make time for? Embracing the shift is part of a growth mindset, even if it’s baby steps. Keep doing what you are doing!

    Anyways, great post… got me thinking and ranting! 😉


  3. andyforeman21

    October 12, 2015 at 6:49 pm

    Social media definately has an important role in being a lifelong learner, but I feel it can also make us lazy when it comes to asking questions as we become more accustomed to always finding answers and more information than we know what to do with it. This can be rectified with teaching digital literacy of course!



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