I am excited to blog about Social Media use in the classroom. I already blogged about this in my own personal school blog after the discussion question posed in Module 1. Because it is so new and relatively unknown for many, Social Media will likely be met with skepticism by most when trying to introduce it into an educational environment. Although there are issues that come with Social Networking in the classroom such as parents, teachers and administrators who don’t know anything about it and thus have an unfair negative connotation attached to it, society cannot deny that it is here to stay. It is time to stop fighting a battle already lost (which shouldn’t have been a battle in the first place). Other issues could be that social media may make it more difficult to keep students on focus to course content while using it but in all honesty, an unfocused student is going to be an unfocused student whether you give them facebook or whether there is a really cool looking bug on the wall. These issues are excuses for people who are afraid to try it in a classroom. I think another issue that seems to really spark fear in the eyes of some is the ‘danger’ involved with strangers on facebook. The reality is that the danger already exists! Having facebook in school doesn’t provide access to this danger – the students are already there! Bringing Social Media use into a school environment would only allow teachers to educate students on the CORRECT use of Social Media in order to better prepare students for what is out there in a world that uses Social Media every single day.
I guess when discussing the issues of Social Media, I already discussed what all of the ‘cons’ are in adding it to a classroom. But the ‘pros’ involved are numerous. Let’s start with collaboration, participation and REAL world connections for starters. Students who have a real audience of peers, educators and professionals around the world will write better, participate more, and become a part of educating activities that make sense to them. And they will learn more by doing so. This, in turn, would also cut down on plagiarism and improve communication among students and universities, professionals, educators and the world! It also gives students a place to find empathy, help on real issues including homework, study materials and friendship amongst other classmates, teachers and even students with whom they might never meet! Social Media also gives often unheard voices a voice. Students who are too shy or embarrassed to speak up in class will sometimes blossom into a collaborative contender for best contribution in the course. Online study groups can form where students learn more from their own peers than they could ever learn in a brick and mortar classroom.
In just one day of using edmodo in my classroom, I already see the benefits. Students enjoy that they are given a place to post messages and discuss homework assignments. They enjoy that I can post reminders to them all that they can see here or at home. They enjoy that I place trust in them as a human being to use it wisely. And they enjoy that I care enough for them to know that this is a real issue and a real environment in their life that I want them to use correctly. Any ‘cons’ to me, are irrelevant.
For more information on this topic, read the following articles: http://mashable.com/2010/09/29/social-media-in-school/ and http://facebookforeducators.org/educators-guide
The Webinar Attended dealing with Social Media: https://www.mheonline.com/EdX/?p=201