Social media is a fundamental part of daily life for most people (exactly 3.48 billion according to the Global Digital 2019 report by Hootsuite and We Are Social). Schools are no exception. With staff and students both involved in various online communities, many schools have started tapping into social media to provide better service and assistance for everyone.
But in an age which rightly has concerns over data privacy, cyberbullying and the sapping of attention spans, what are the real benefits of incorporating social media into the educational environment?
— Kami (@usekamiapp) October 15, 2019
Building supportive online communities
Online communities help to create a feeling of belonging and pride in any organization. Having a lively and friendly social media group or page allows students and teachers to affiliate with their school, while keeping up to date with news and goings-on, that would otherwise be hard to share with everyone. Think sports updates, individual student achievement or a new recycling project being undertaken by members of staff.
Not only do these things create a more cohesive school community, but they can also help alumni or prospective students or staff to keep up to date and get a flavor of the school’s character. It can also make it super easy to reconnect with people who have already graduated in the case of planning reunions or school gatherings!
— Kami (@usekamiapp) October 8, 2019
Keeping the wider school community up to date
Social media is a fast and efficient way to spread important announcements, not only to students and staff but the wider community. At the click of a button, the administration can save time, effort, energy, and paper, in spreading urgent concerns, key event dates and warnings to parents and those in the neighborhood who may be impacted. The reply function for both Facebook and Twitter also means that school administrators can respond quickly and visibly to questions, rather than fielding many individual calls.
Promoting Digital Citizenship
Digital Citizenship aims to provide a comprehensive digital education to develop conscientious, ethical and safe online users. The concept argues that students need to be shown how to use online tools safely and responsibly, rather than having these applications removed from the educational sphere entirely.
Utilizing social media in the classroom, as a tool for learning and exploring, helps demonstrate to students how these online communities function in a safe environment. It also develops digital literacy and greater awareness of digital risks and the necessary security practices to combat them.
— Kami (@usekamiapp) September 26, 2019
Sharing relevant educational sources
The internet is undeniably an invaluable source of information for all subjects. Social media gives students and staff a great place to share and engage with online resources, creating a fun and collaborative working environment.
Social media groups are also a great place to post student projects, such as artwork, performances, and other activities online. This showcases exceptional work, boosting the confidence of students, while also letting pupils learn from each other. The ability to comment allows for peer discussion and encouragement to thrive.
Another significant advantage of social media as a forum for sharing ideas and resources is that it is not constrained by geographic location. Students who may be unable to physically attend school due to prolonged illness or personal life events, can still take part in collaborative learning and feel part of the classroom community.
Enforcing practical online etiquette
Within any community, there are rules and etiquettes which must be followed. This ensures that all members feel safe and valued. Embracing social media into the classroom allows educators to develop students understanding of appropriate online behavior and how it impacts real people. This can be done by creating class discussions around what rules should be adopted into their own social media page/community. These can then be revisited or addressed if and when they need to be.
Social media is a powerful digital tool and one that can be harnessed to great effect in the education environment. To learn more about the possibilities of EdTech, check out the Kami blog today!