Integrating social media into the classroom

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In today’s world, the social media has become an essential part of the young people’s lives. The young individuals use the social media to communicate with their peers and interact with different types of people across the world. Consequently, many schools find it relevant to integrate the social media into the classrooms. A significant number of the educators find it suitable for the students to use the social media for doing several school tasks such as the homework (Abe & Jordan, 2013). In an attempt to identify if integrating social media into classrooms is a significant move, the study interviewed this concept.

The issue regarding the timing when the students should be introduced to the social media in classrooms has been debatable over the past few years. Through an interview carried out with a middle school teacher for the grade levels 9, 10 and 11, the respondent thought that the middle school is the most opportune time to integrate the social media into the classroom. The reason given for the choice of this academic frame is that during this time, the student already owns some social media accounts including, snap chat, Instagram, YouTube and Facebook among others. Integrating social media in the lower level of education classrooms such as the elementary schools is inappropriate since at this age the parents of the students are still protective of their children and monitor them closely.

Many educators feel that allowing social media in elementary classrooms is irrelevant because the students have enough screen time already. Furthermore, these students at such a young age still need to learn how to communicate and air out their issues in person (Abe & Jordan, 2013). In most cases, the teachers who teach at this level feel like that encouraging the use of social media at such a level of education is not appropriate. At the middle school level, most of the students are starting to frequently participate in social media and explore a variety of friends while still figuring out what they want in life. Therefore, many educators at this level are integrating this technology into the classrooms because these students are already regular computer users and perceive the social media as a very engaging technology.

The respondent in the interview carried out admitted to using the social media in the classroom for various tasks such as class discussion, homework, and making class announcements. This respondent thought that it was crucial for the educators to reach their students using a source that the students found comfortable. Furthermore, if this platform is utilized using a safety protocol to avoid the cons that might emerge with the use of the social media, then it becomes a useful tool to utilize in the connection of the advanced technology to the classroom experience. The social media sites offer a forum that allows the extension of the traditional classroom with a variety of advantages that fit.

Many pros of integrating the social media in the classrooms do exist and therefore the main reason why they should be used in the classes. Some of the benefits of using the social media in the school include the development and enhancement of the digital literacy skills of the students. The development of the communication skills of the students is a core benefit. The students can easily be able to reach and communicate with other students in different schools across the world and share their common interests (Greenhow, 2011). The social media facilitates more participation in class, including the class and group collaboration. In addition, the social media is an essential tool that allows both the teachers and the students to share information.

How a teacher introduces and integrates the social media into the classroom is a significant determinant of whether the students will use this platform for the greater good or misuse it. In the interview, the respondent believed that the use of a class Facebook page was the most significant way to introduce the use of the social media into the classroom. The teacher can first start using this page for simple announcements that remind the students of their school tasks.

The opinion of the respondent regarding whether or not the social media was a distraction in the classroom was a positive one as they thought that it was not a distraction. The main reason provided for this purpose is that if the social media sites are used correctly as a teaching tool, then it will not be a distraction. This act means that when the students use personal social media sites such as Instagram or WhatsApp in the classroom for social purposes instead of using it for schoolwork such as finding out works to be done and keeping up with the announcements, then it becomes a distraction.

Distractions because of the social media bring about several risks. Some of the risks involved include inappropriate content, bullying, loss of reputation and privacy (Seaman  & Tinti-Kane, 2013). In regards to the inappropriate content, most of the social media sites such as YouTube may have services that might not provide relevant content for the classroom such as the pornographic materials. Filters to prevent such acts from happening in the school network are core. About bullying, the teachers may post students works or images on the social media platforms, which may profoundly expose them to negative comments.

The Moderation of such posts by the teachers using channels like Facebook that provide options for the teachers to approve comments first is crucial to preventing bullying (Pollara & Zhu, 2011). The students must also be careful in what they post in the social media account and avoid posting inappropriate things that may provide a poor reflection of the school leading to loss of reputation. Setting school policies, rules, and regulations in regards to the use of social media are core to avoiding loss of reputation. The teachers also need to avoid posting information that might disclose the personal information of the students such as the health or family concerns, which might be sensitive and infringe their privacy.

In conclusion, the respondent in the interview felt that the use of social media is a helpful platform for the students to learn in the classroom. However, the social media can only be useful if correctly used as emphasized in the study. When individuals do not have a clear insight of the social media, then they may be incapable of using it in the classroom. If the teachers understand the social media platform integrated into the classroom and why the students require the use of that particular platform, then these educators can be able to make the use of the social media a valuable tool to help the students succeed in their studies.

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  1. Abe, P., & Jordan, N. A. (2013). Integrating social media into the classroom curriculum. About Campus18(1), 16-20.
  2. Greenhow, C. (2011). Online social networks and learning. On the horizon19(1), 4-12.
  3. Pollara, P., & Zhu, J. (2011, March). Social networking and education: Using Facebook as an edusocial space. In Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference (Vol. 2011, pp. 3330-3338).
  4. Seaman, J., & Tinti-Kane, H. (2013). Social media for teaching and learning. UK: Pearson Learning Systems.
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