There’s no denying that, ever since social networks and social media made way into our lives, everything is different. Beginning with the way we socialize, interact, plan for parties or even how often we go out. We won’t go into a debate regarding the ethical aspects of the way Social Media is influencing our lives. Instead, this article proposes to focus on the numerous ways in which social media is changing the way the education system works.
Starting from elementary school up until university graduation, social media has the role to empower parents, students and teachers to use new ways of sharing information and build a community. Statistics show that 96% of the students that have internet access are using at least one social network. What’s even more extraordinary is that, even though some of the students use the social networks for entertaining and other purposes, there are a lot of them that actually use it to promote a lot of positive and useful activities. From finding a summer internship, promoting a success story about how to win the student-loan battle or collaborate on international projects, everything is made possible.
When it comes to social media, schools tend to adopt different positions. It’s a general consensus that they’re useful when it comes to sharing information or organizing the school tasks. And at the same time, the social networking is blamed for the lack of attention in students during classes. But an increasing trend of adopting social media in school is starting to show. And since students already devote a lot of time for social media and connecting with others outside school hours, why not do it during school as well?
It’s a matter of practicability, really, because it makes perfect sense to use the online universe to communicate with your students since they’re already there most of the time. There’s no need for another case study about the usage of social media in schools. You simply need to walk through the hallways of any school or college to see kids of all ages totally immersed in their smartphones. Browsing their news feed, sharing photos on Instagram or sending Snapchat messages has become a part of their daily routine.
The benefits of social media in the education process doesn’t have to stop at the teacher-student relationship. There are a lot of other benefits that can be extracted from the use of social networking at higher levels as well. For example, principals or administrators can find a new way to integrate social media. Like sharing school news via social networks, holding online meeting with the parents or even starting fundraising for different projects.
And social media can quickly become the only channel of communication since we’re living fast-paced lives, parents are usually busy with work and cannot attend school meetings. But this doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be in touch with events or be able to check on their kids every once in awhile. Just like in every other field, communication is vital and if it can be done easily with the help of social media, why not go for it?
It may not be criteria just yet, but soon enough questions like ‘Does this school have a Facebook page?’ could become just as important as the things that parents are asking right now. Like, how well equipped the library is or what are the optional classes their child can be part of.
The bottom line is that social media is a big part of our day to day life and there’s no point of keeping it away from the education process. School, college and university staff should be encouraged to make use of technology for student and parent communication. This could easily turn into a argumentative essay topic in college. But the benefits are obvious, starting with healthier parent-teacher relationships and all the way to permanently changing the way our children will learn.