EdTech Thoughts, Educational Technology

Benefits of Social Media

A substantial benefit of social media is the authentic learning experience. Social media is ubiquitous today, which educators can use to engage students effectively.

Social Media in Education

This is a series of blog posts on social media. Read more about…

Benefits

Chen and DiVall (2018) state that success is not dependent on just having a social media account, “but on how effectively that social media account is run” (p. 355)1. Teachers will require professional development to implement social media effectively. Crǎciun and Bunoiu (2015) explain that the initial training needs to derive from the “pedagogical foundation suited to this style of teaching” (83) to gain the necessary skills2. Once educators have the skill, their lessons can become transformative and create an authentic learning experience.

An unforeseeable benefit of social media is how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we communicate. For some, social media was the primary method of communication. Social media benefits communication in education because it enhances the eLearning environment by improving collaboration and self-directed learning. Dua and Baloch (2020) express this well when they state that social media “provide students with an exciting new and easy-to-use space for dialogue on professional skills and knowledge where they can share ideas, thoughts, and methods” (p. 2)3. As a result, we can use social media to allow for authentic learning as part of our eLearning experience.

One type of social media that is beneficial for students is blogging. Blogging can tie to several pedagogical strategies like writing an essay or commenting on the work of other students (Hernandez, & Munyan, 2020)4. Notably, one prime example is the use of a portfolio created to demonstrate what the student has learned throughout the academic years. In some programs, like the Masters of Education in Educational Technology at the University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley, the portfolio replaces a comprehensive exam or dissertation paper. Similarly, another prime example is reflection writings. Students can post their reflections with a blog and end with a question that allows others to answer that question genuinely. The SAMR Model refers to two different sections of Enhancement and Transformation. Overall, it has four different levels: Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition (Aldosemani, 2019)5. The transformation includes Modification and Redefinition, where technology prompts for task redesign that could be inconceivable without technology. Using the SAMR Model as a metric, a blog can be transformative in education because immediate feedback and interaction worldwide can be inconceivable without the technology.

A PLN, or Professional Learning Network, is a group of people who interact on social media by sharing ideas and exchanging resources. When a student has multiple interests in future careers, building a PLN that includes professionals in those career paths allows students to discover what is important to them or possibly pivot their path. Academically, students can build a PLN around a topic, like High School Calculus or College Algebra, or Research Methods in Education can help build previously inaccessible knowledge. Sharing ideas and resources in any instance will build knowledge and resilience to help with a better future for short or long-term goals.

Even with some negative digital footprints, social media can help overwhelm the internet with a positive digital footprint to overshadow the negative. For any business or school program, building a positive digital footprint means building positive relationships which turn into clients, leads, or alumni. Similarly, when students build their positive digital footprint, they build a positive relationship with their future or prospective employers. The whole LinkedIn social media network works on having a positive digital footprint, allowing employers to find the right candidate for their jobs.

More on Social Media

References

  1. Chen, E., & DiVall, M. (2018). Social media as an engagement tool for schools and colleges of pharmacy. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 82(4), 354–364.
  2. Crǎciun, D., & Bunoiu, M. (2015). Training teachers for the knowledge society: social media in science education. BRAIN: Broad Research in Artificial Intelligence & Neuroscience, 6(3/4), 82–88.
  3. Dua, K., & Baloch, H. Z. (2020). Social media and e-learning in pharmaceutical sciences – A symbiotic role. Manipal Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 6(2), 1–4.
  4. Hernandez, J., & Munyan, K. (2020). An integrative review of the use of social media in graduate nursing education. Michigan Academician, 47(1), 60–67.
  5. Aldosemani, T. (2019). Inservice Teachers’ Perceptions of a Professional Development Plan Based on SAMR Model: A Case Study. Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology-TOJET, 18(3), 46-53.

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