Although there are challenges to using social media, there are solutions to overcome those challenges. Not all solutions will be transformative, but these solutions will have a connection to social media. However, it is essential to understand that the learning objective is the primary reason to choose a tool.
Social Media in Education
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A lesson can be more engaging when selecting social media, but an alternative for writing could be a social media template. A social media template is a piece of paper that contains the structure of a social media post. For example, suppose the assignment is a historical figure, and the template is that of a Twitter post. In that case, the template will include a profile picture that should relate to a historical figure. This name, in this case, is that historical figure, the Twitter handle that starts with @ that should relate to the historical figure but not the same, the actual writing which will be limited to 280 characters, an image representing the writing, and possible comments from other historical figures. Paper is not a direct alternative to social media, but it simulates social media on paper.
A better alternative to writing on social media is the learning management system (LMS). Each school uses a different LMS like Canvas, UTRGV uses Blackboard, and La Joya ISD uses Google Classroom. Each LMS typically includes a similar feature to whether to create a blog or a discussion forum. Teachers can use this feature to engage students in class discussions, similarly to using a site like Facebook. For example, some discussion features allow students first to create a response to a question. Then, the student will be able to view and reply to other students’ responses.
Seesaw is another alternative to social media. Seesaw is an engagement platform that allows students to share text, drawings, photos, videos, and voice recordings in a timeline. The teacher can moderate each post and allow other students to view or interact with those resources. It is similar to an LMS, where students can also turn in homework assignments.
Padlet is another social media alternative where students can share ideas. This website is popular in many educational settings where the teacher asks a question, and students can post an answer and reply to each other. The difference is that one can view this website as a corkboard where students virtually pin their answers.
There have been many social media websites that allowed for sharing of bookmarks. A bookmark is a way to save a link to a website of interest that includes a title and, sometimes, an image or description. One social media website that educators use is Wakelet. Unlike other social media sites for bookmarks, Wakelet has changed its business model to cater to education by partnering with Microsoft. Students can create a profile to curate and share different resources by including bookmarks, images, videos, text, and more. Since it is collaborative, students can work together to find references for a research paper and include a description of what information they find in that link. Therefore, students use critical thinking to curate resources and share ideas.
There are some alternatives to video channels. Seesaw provides a great alternative to sharing videos with other students while the teacher monitors them. However, the commenting feature is limited to the teacher. Another alternative is Flipgrid who also partnered with Microsoft. This platform allows a teacher to create a topic which students need to answer. Like TikTok, students can record a video on Flipgrid, which is time-limited (Davies, Boyer, & Williamson, 2020). Then, other students can reply to that video either with “likes,” text, or video1. In TikTok, replying to another video with a video is called dueting or stitching. Another similarity is that both use filters, virtual stickers or GIFs, and text in the video. Best of all, the commenting features can be limited to likes or nothing at all. Another great feature is the ability to moderate videos before students post them.
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- Davies, P., Boyer, F., & Williamson, J. (2020, April 17). TikTok turned Educational? Come learn About Flipgrid and engagement. Video on YouTube. ↩