Should Schools Allow the Use of Social Media in Classrooms?
Is there space for social media in the classroom? If you go to Debate.org to see what people think of this issue, you’ll notice something unusual: 70% of respondents believe that social media should be allowed in schools.
Some of the comments are not very serious, but others shed light on the “pro” opinion. People believe that students could gain general knowledge through social media. In addition, students who struggle socially may find it easier to communicate through these channels, so they can get involved in collaborative activities.
But there’s a dark side to social media, too. It’s highly distracting. The feed is not solely filled with educational information. If students are allowed to browse through their feeds whenever they feel like it, it will be hard for them to pay attention to the teacher.
What’s the right answer? Should students and educators start using social media in the classroom?
Pros: Using Social Media in the Classroom as a Good Idea
- The Teacher Can Control the Situation
This is the biggest fear that teachers have about allowing Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms in the classroom: they could be a distraction. There’s a lot of content that children and teenagers should not have access to. Hate speech, bullying, and fake news are only a few of the many serious issues related to children and teenagers using Twitter and Facebook.
However, school is a highly controlled environment. The teacher can check the content that everyone accesses. With that, they can instruct them on the proper use of these platforms.
We have to be honest about this: students are going to use social media whether we like it or not. When we show them how to use it, we’re contributing towards their safety.
- Social Media Can Encourage Engagement
If the teacher creates a private Facebook group for the class, they can share discussion prompts there. When they are done with the lecture, they can post a question to engage the learners. They can conduct online research and post their answers there.
For students who suffer from social anxiety and for those who struggle with insecurities, writing answers may make things easier. If someone prefers speaking instead of writing an answer in the discussion prompt, they can still do that in the classroom.
- It Supports Collaboration
If you want students to collaborate without creating a mess in the classroom, let them do it through an online platform. They can join Messenger groups depending on the team they are assigned to. They can use their devices to communicate with each other while searching for online sources and discuss the development of the project.
The Bad Side of Social Media Use in the Classroom
- It Really Is a Distraction
The teacher will always have good intentions when instructing the use of social media platforms in the classroom. But even if they have a certain level of control, many will keep browsing through their feeds instead of focusing on the teacher’s instructions.
If it’s a team project, the participants may discuss hiring https://uk.edubirdie.com/ instead of conducting thorough online research. The teacher has to pay close attention to the way the platform is being used.
- Social Media Will Affect Real Human Interaction
It’s a teacher’s dream to achieve complete silence in the classroom. But is that really a desirable goal? When everyone is looking at their phones and not really talking to each other, it’s not a good thing. As a teacher, you still have a responsibility to engage learners in face-to-face communication.
- The Content May Be Inappropriate
If your students are very young, social media is a dangerous place for them. They will encounter inappropriate content and speech there. It will distract them, and it can be damaging to their development. It’s best not to engage them in social media use while they are still very young.
Facebook doesn’t allow children below 13 years old to join. That’s the limit we should keep in mind.
Social Media in the Classroom? It’s a Double-Edged Sword
The world of social media is tons of fun. Learners love these platforms, and it’s easier for them to stay focused on classroom activities if they involve social media. However, these services are also very distracting. They limit traditional human interaction, and they involve inappropriate content and hate speech.
You should always consider the pros and cons of social media in the classroom before making a decision. If you decide that the good points outweigh the bad ones, you’ll have to be very careful with the way you introduce these tools in the classroom. You have to stay in full control.
Nicholas Walker has years of experience in blogging. His first blog was from the EdTech niche, and it’s still highly active and successful. He also maintains blogs in the niches of education, social media marketing, and daily use of technology.