EdTech Thoughts, Educational Technology

Social Media in Education


Social media has many adverse effects on school-aged students. However, there are possible benefits to using social media in the classroom. The 21st-century skills indicate that a student needs to Communicate, Collaborate, Create, and Think Critically. Social media can enhance these skills in various ways.

According to Dennen, Choi, and Word (2020), “studies in these areas seek to identify how the technology might be leveraged to support learning-focused communication, information sharing, and information-seeking” (p. 1636)1.

Furthermore, a key component of effective teaching is authentic learning. Dennen, Choi, and Word (2020) explain that social media support formal and informal education. According to Greenhow, Gleason, and Staudt Willet (2019), “instructors can broaden classroom contexts by incorporating experts” (p. 995)2. Social media can give an authentic learning experience. However, there is little evidence that social media benefits students. Authentic learning is when students can discuss education in context to the real world.

Topics & Focus.

Social media in education is essential to educators because it can benefit students, but social media can have limitations. Although one can overcome that limitation by using other resources similar to social media, the experience may not be the same. For example, instead of using TikTok, using Flipgrid can be a possible alternative that allows students to share videos moderated by the teacher. Even if social media is beneficial for the students’ learning, it may not be worth doing with all the social media challenges. Although students are born into technology, it is not necessarily synonymous with understanding how to use it. However, according to Emerick, Caldarella, and Black (2019), “these digital natives considered social media learning to be more organic, more authentic, and more suitable for their needs” (p. 266)3. Authentic learning is why it is essential to teach about social media and digital citizenship to students.

Series on Social Media

Continue reading the next section or just see the summary below.


This literature review focused on social media in education, including three themes: challenges, benefits, and alternatives. There are many challenges with social media. A significant challenge to overcome is not using social media. The benefits of using social media have more value in education. There are alternatives to overcome social media challenges, for example, the tools that an LMS has or other educational technology tools. All three themes support this research topic.

These themes conclude that educators should use social media when adequate, and they should use alternatives otherwise. Educators and students need the training to understand and overcome the possible challenges of social media use.


  1. Dennen, V. P., Choi, H., & Word, K. (2020). Social media, teenagers, and the school context: A scoping review of research in education and related fields. Educational Technology Research & Development, 68(4), 1635–1658.
  2. Greenhow, C., Gleason, B., & Staudt Willet, K. B. (2019). Social scholarship revisited: Changing scholarly practices in the age of social media. British Journal of Educational Technology, 50(3), 987–1004.
  3. Emerick, E., Caldarella, P., & Black, S. J. (2019). Benefits and distractions of social media as tools for undergraduate student learning. College Student Journal, 53(3), 265–276.

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