Photo Credit: pexel
These days, it’s not uncommon to see young kids using smartphones and tablets, and it’s almost an accepted fact that most kids will have some form of social media account by their young teens, if not earlier. So that raises an interesting question: To what extent can social media help to turbo-charge learning in the classroom at a young age?
Communication and collaboration
Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of social media in the classroom is improved communication and collaboration. With social media, even shy introverts who never raise their hands in the classroom can be transformed into dynamic leaders. They are much more likely to send rapid-fire text messages back and forth to a close group of friends than they are to participate in classroom discussions.
And for slow learners, social media also provides a number of unique advantages. Imagine someone being stuck on a homework assignment and being able to reach out for help or advice via social media, instead of waiting on mom or dad to come home from work to help out.
Some educators are even using social media to communicate with kids outside of the classroom via functionality like video live-streaming. In an era of the “flipped classroom,” it makes sense that an entirely new communication dynamic is going to emerge between teacher and student. So it might be perfectly OK to watch your rock star teacher on Facebook Live each week.
Social media also opens up an entirely new world of information resources for learners. A generation ago, kids had to rely on encyclopedias and school librarians. A decade ago, they had to rely on dial-up network connections and text-based resources like Wikipedia. Now, with social media, they have access to rich information troves filled with images and videos. There’s a social media interest group for just about anything.
In the hands of kids, social media platforms like Pinterest can be used to help plan school projects or build momentum around new volunteer or extracurricular initiatives at school. Need inspiration in getting a new initiative off the ground for your school class? Head over to YouTube and see what other kids have uploaded to the platform.
And, finally, mention needs to be made of the myriad ways that social media can tie together parents, educators and kids – all of whom are responsible for the learning process. Most schools now have private social media groups for parents to follow along with their child’s progress, and SMS text messaging platforms like WhatsApp now make it very easy for parents to get push notifications sent directly to their smartphones. In general, the more involved parents are in the learning process, the better that kids learn. Moreover, the easier it is to remove stumbling blocks in the classroom.
Social media and child safety
Just remember, as great as social media can be in the classroom, it’s important to keep your kids safe on social media outside of the classroom. Thus, parents have an important role in teaching kids about responsible social media use. While social media can improve communication and collaboration, and open up an entirely new world of information resources, it also comes with its share of “watch-outs.” With the right guidelines and guardrails in place, though, social media can help to turbo-charge the learning experience.