The Evolving Role of Social Media in Education

In present globalized world social networking has effected almost every angle of life. Gone are the times of traditional classroom learning as now there are many alternative ways of learning. Social medium, in 21st century is seen as the key driver of communications and marketing. Social media actually consists of “websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.” Social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Google+, Slides Share and Wikis are the new tools for networking and knowledge sharing. These platforms have become the central concern for many educators, teachers and parents now a days. In a short time since its inception, people all over the world have welcomed this as an indispensable addition to education sector.

[pull_quote_left]There is no doubt that Social Media has taken the world by storm. In today’s world it is one of the best mediums for dissemination of knowledge and information[/pull_quote_left]

There is no doubt that Social Media has taken the world by storm. In today’s world it is one of the best mediums for dissemination of knowledge and information. Younger generation uses social media more than any other age group. That is why, social media in education can be proven as a best tool of learning. We all agree that learning is not just studying a textbook but also interaction and communication.

[pull_quote_right]The strongest element of students’ success in college is their ability to form and participate in small study groups[/pull_quote_right]

An educational theory gaining momentum in the literature these days may open the door to increased use of social media in education. Dr. Richard J. Light (Harvard School of Education), is an advocate of social constructivism-a facet of social learning theory. According to this theory “people learn most effectively when they interact with other learners”. According to Light, the strongest element of students’ success in college is their ability to form and participate in small study groups. He suggests that this is more important than their instructors’ teaching styles. Just like kids who learn more through “gamification of education” remember the knowledge and enjoy general learning style more.

[pull_quote_left]Some parents are of the opinion that social media can be very distracting and harmful for students. On the contrary, social media offers plenty of opportunities for learning and interaction[/pull_quote_left]

These outcomes have led some to focus on significance of social media—and its opportunities for “virtual study”–as an excellent way to increase student learning. Many users routinely use Twitter hashtags and Facebook pages to discuss specific topics thereby learn through nontraditional ways of learning.

Benefits of Social Networks in Education

  • Provide a casual place of learning
  • Encourage students to express their own thoughts
  • Provide effective collaboration and communication
  • Build an online learning community
  • Extends learning beyond scope of class
  • Platform for learning through social constructivism

For a generation who spends their maximum time in the virtual space, focus must lie on the key interests and needs of students while using social media in education. Also social media provide ways to enhance connection with students as it brings them closer by alleviating the necessity of physical presence. Social media has been criticized a lot due to the effect it has on the way students produce and collect information. Some parents are of the opinion that social media can be very distracting and harmful for students. On the contrary, social media offers plenty of opportunities for learning and interaction. It is rather simple to see how students benefit from social media. By using technology in classrooms, the young generation is paving a new way of education and learning. Students are getting a chance to explore and experience the world not only by books and assignments but also by adapting a new form of communication. In a world where your networks and connections are important, graduates enter the workplaces with a lot more to offer.

[pull_quote_left]Their ability to access, evaluate, maintain and share information is fantastic without even being aware that they are actually developing such skills day by day. The older generations need to understand the magnitude of this new style of communication[/pull_quote_left]

Teenagers are continuously connected to the internet through their mobiles, tablets, etc. and hence rapidly transmit information to friends, family and other connections. This information is a lot more than just hilarious videos or vacation snapshots. People share views, opinions, tips, projects, study material and other such useful stuff with each other. They exchange helpful information for classes and examinations. Their ability to access, evaluate, maintain and share information is fantastic without even being aware that they are actually developing such skills day by day. The older generations need to understand the magnitude of this new style of communication.

Students share personal information, links to other sites or comment on someone’s post. By doing this, they get engaged with each other instantly. The use of social media has made it easier and faster to interact with teachers about class-related topics. In a world where online engagements are important for businesses, these students are already experts at developing an online presence. Students are also experts in interacting with others on the internet. They know how to use basic as well as complex functions on various social media sites.

[pull_quote_right]In a world where your networks and connections are important, graduates enter the workplaces with a lot more to offer[/pull_quote_right]

We are all aware of social media marketing. The ‘new media’ has led professionals to build a social media strategy to publicize their product and service. Social media marketing is seen upon as a skill which is an emerging career option. It has become essential for all types of businesses to incorporate social media marketing in their organizations. Students are extensively carrying out social media strategies for several companies all over the world.

[pull_quote_left]Social media marketing is seen upon as a skill which is an emerging career option. It has become essential for all types of businesses to incorporate social media marketing in their organizations[/pull_quote_left]

The benefits of social media for students are many. The above are just a few to begin with. The young generation is going to learn and explore many wonders through social media in the coming years.

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