Social media in the classroom: Pros and Cons

Within the less than a decade technology and Internet have invaded our lives, and possess a significant role. They replaced a lot of things, services, and devices which are used continuously in different spheres. But the tremendous nuance – social media – is persistently being applied by teachers in educational setting. It is used as a new approach and tool of classroom activity, though it has certain advantages and disadvantages. There are a lot of benefits for children and students of using social media in the classroom. Firstly, at its simplest is –interaction, by which I mean the communication and collaboration with the peers and mates on specific topic or theme chosen by the teacher. It will enable the involvement of even the shyest and quietest students of the group to share their opinions and make comments on each others’ blogs and posts. The next is attraction. Technology, internet and social media are very popular, modern and perceived as “cool” among teenagers and students, thus they enjoy and gladly go into social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and other social blogs. This is a good tactic, that after long hours of boring maths or physics, they will be right away engaged to have classes with an extraordinary non-traditional method of implicating social media. So the social media could be another form of attracting students and provoke their lost interests into education. The another point is literacy. It is pivotal to have “media-literate” young generation, which will reinforce youngsters’ vision to create, research, do online publications, and essentially use these skills in their future jobs (Leicht & Goble, 2014). It is factual that any things have twofold sides. However in this case the cons are much more dangerous and exceed pros. There are some potential risks that we might be unable to control and prevent. One of them is the vulnerable security of growing children. Adults communicating with children through devices and social sites can put them in harm ways sometimes, and children might be unaware of such behaviors as Sexual Abuse Misconduct, and other psychological abuse and exploitation made by adults. So the safety would be the vital essence that should not be hurt. Distraction – is found as a big problem in social media. Plenty of advertisements and other entertainments on web sites will distract children from studying. That’s why it is very important to know and control children, and draw their attention on tasks. Leaving them unkept alone with social media during the classes will bring to procrastination and waste of time. And the last bad habit according to Goble (2014) is letting students to turn into self “All about me project” dedicated individuals with the intellect of “eights graders”. Such sites as Facebook, Instagram and etc are intended to show and post the selfie pictures, personal information and daily routine captured by the author – which brings unintentionally the insight and vision of limited person. Here I would stress Goble’s phrase “Social media is not expanding their social circle or worldview, it’s limiting it”. They are already committed to social media in their free time. And the teachers will intensify their addiction to internet by tying on to the assignments and homework on social media. After years we will realize that children and teenagers have lost the flavor of the youth and will never again taste it, because we let them to ignore the real life that was passing behind the social media. In my opinion, social media can be involved in a classroom as an activity in order to teach and show students how to use appropriately internet resources and social sites, and must be highly invigilated by a teacher or supervisor. However, it should not replace any other serious home tasks, rather than blogs, comments, posts and online assignments submission. Social media is and always will be social. That’s why it is important to limit and avoid of overusing it as class works. These are my thoughts and apprehension on the possible influence of social media in classroom and out of class on students and teenagers. Anyway it is hard to find perfect balance between them. Social media is needed and essential nowadays; however it must not be overused. What might be your ideas to share? Do you agree or disagree to use social media as teaching tools in the class? What might be your other pros and cons of social media that are omitted in this post?   References:

G Leicht & D Goble. (2014, October 1). Should teachers be using social media in the classroom? [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/social-media-valuable-tool-teachers/

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4 thoughts on “Social media in the classroom: Pros and Cons

  1. Thank you Meruert for raising such an interesting topic about the benefits and obstacles of the social media in the classroom.
    As for me, I do believe that it is impossible to struggle with the modern technologies and forbid children to use social networks. Today’s generation is more social-mediated and it seems to me that we have to accept this fact and try to do the best in the circumstances concerned. A lot of information, innovations, creations and researches are now available in Internet and our task, as educators, to teach them how to use those sources effectively.
    I agree with the disadvantaged you listed, but I think they may be recovered by the effective encouragement of students to social media (e.g.: share work socially, create group page in social network to share home tasks and marks, design specific hashtags by which they can also keep in touch with each other, keep blogs, use simple opportunities of Google, like questionnaire and time-table, and so on) and up-bringing process about the useless of the majority of application (only computer games come to my mind).
    Personally, I have a little sister, who loves surfing in the Internet. She studies in the mainstream school and unfortunately, even in the lesson of “Informatics” they rarely use computer (from her own words). At home we have an agreement with her: home-works first, then only mobile phone. And it works. Moreover, in length of time she starts to watch “National Geographic’s” together with her lovely cartoons. I would like to ask all other students, how they manage with such situation? Do you permit or forbid social media in the classroom or to your little siblings?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Meruert, for this interesting post.
      Yes, nowadays, the opinions about social media and its usage became more and more contradictory. As a parent of three children, one of which is teenager, I would say that my attitude is ambiguous. I am personally not addicted by social media, I can survive and live without them. I have the pages on several social sites but visiting them very rare. I prefer messaging systems to just send short messages for short communication. But my teenager daughter using her smart phone at any time she is free. And I see a problem here. I think that such virtual communication can not replace the real life, as Meruert said “the taste of teenage”. Can not replace reading books, meeting with friends ect. The teenage is an age of probes and fails, non-stop communication, first love – REAL, NOT VIRTUAL; it is a law of nature.
      But from other side the social media allows people to be closure to each other if they are far away by physical distance, besides telephone conversation and mails.
      As regarding to using social media for education, it seems like another tool to attract and keep the attention of kids. It becomes harder to attract the interest of young people and mach harder to keep it. But please, not more. . This process also is fundamental for human being. The wiser members of society share its knowledge, inspiration, soul with young member. The heartless machines can not do this.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you, Meruert for sharing with us such a burning issue about advantages and disadvantages of internet! I fully agree that the use of social networks
    can be applicable in terms of homework submission or teachers could involve students with interesting activities and exercises. Also, the teaching process should be modernized and meet the needs of society. I believe that the use of social networks needs the preparation because older generation as well as teachers should be ready to help their children and to be able to deal with some difficulties that may be faced. I suppose that we should set bounds in terms of the children’ age.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey Meruert, I am very glad to see a post on this topic, as my research work is about the use of ICT in secondary schools. In our environment where technology is developing rapidly it is an inevitable truth that the social media has become an integral part of our life. Moreover, it is a fundamental requirement for work in the 21st century. So I strongly agree and insist to use social media as a teaching tool in the class, even though there are disadvantages of it. Regarding pros, I would say that there is no way back, so all we can do is to control students in our classes or our siblings (as in Diana’s case) to utilize the social media in an appropriate way and demonstrate advantages below along with those what you have mentioned in your post.
    – Opportunities to collaborate on assignments with students inside as well as outside of the school;
    – Opportunities to develop independent and active learning;
    – Motivation to learn more as a result of student-centered learning;
    – Access to rich educational multimedia resources and many others.
    To sum up, everything has its pros and cons. The choice is left for us. So, let’s make the best choice and be the good example for others.

    Like

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