Thursday, November 29, 2012

Education: Integrating Social Media into Schools (Part 1 of 3)

With the rising technology, social media is becoming increasingly more integrated within our everyday lives. Even businesses are capitalizing on social networking and other forms of social media to engage current customers and gain new ones. Social media is having a profound effect within our work and social lives but one area where it is still being somewhat rejected is within our education system. Some teachers embrace the use of technology and social media within their curriculum, others avoid any use of it at all. 

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Many schools, if not most, even have the use of sites such as Twitter and Facebook strictly prohibited on school computers. Many schools and teachers are fully aware of the negative aspects of social media but few have knowledge of the benefits that come with social networking. Instead of shying away from new technology and social media, schools should learn to embrace it. The continued growth of social networking and its prevalence within society is inevitable, so simply ignoring it or banning it within schools is becoming increasingly ineffective. 

Many teachers aren't completely opposed to using social media within a classroom setting, they just don't know how to integrate it into their teaching. 

Teachers can utilize social media sites in four critical ways: to connect, to notify, to teach, and to curate. 

One of the most popular social media sites used within a classroom is YouTube. 40% of teachers report that they have used, or often use, YouTube during lessons. Teachers can capitalize on YouTube in countless ways. The most common way YouTube is used by teachers is to search for videos that tie in the current topics being learned to use during class time. This brings the lessons to life and the visual stimulation helps further engage the students -- especially those day dreamers! 

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Another way YouTube can be integrated into education is by recording lessons and posting them on YouTube. This way students will be able to access them from home and review them whenever they want. This is very helpful come test time when the students need to study.

Teachers can take this videos to the next level by adding quizzes to the end of the recorded lesson. Another way to utilize YouTube is by putting together a series of videos on your YouTube "channel" that are relevant to current topics being taught. This way students will be able to access related, and approved, topics with the click of a button. An idea much more appealing to students than only having access to a text book for outside-the-class learning. 

Find out how Facebook and Twitter can be integrated into education in the upcoming part two!

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