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Social Media in School? You Decide

This post was first published by Andrea Proulx on March Communications’ blog PR Nonsense.

Having graduated college less than a year ago and also being a social media enthusiast, I’ve been interested in the controversy social media has caused in many classrooms worldwide. While some modern teachers welcome social media with open arms, others are reluctant to accept it as a valuable communication tool. Instead of sharing my bias opinion about this topic, I’ve provided a list below of pros and cons representing both sides of the argument so you can decide for yourself:

Pros:

1. Engage with enormous classes: Often times lectures have as many as 300 students per one teacher. One solution to the communication gap between teacher and student is social media, allowing teachers to track student’s progress in “real time”

2. Increase participation levels: Many teachers now encourage students to bring some kind of technology device (iPad, Smartphone, laptop) to class to ask questions, answer survey questions in real time, post in discussion boards, etc. This may also be an opportunity for shy students to feel comfortable participating in a classroom setting

3. Posting assignments: An increasing number of teachers post assignments and homework on specific social media groups made for each class. Facebook groups have replaced emails, and some social media savvy professors even Tweet assignments to their class

Cons:

1. Too much personal communication: Bringing various tech devices into classrooms increases the level of non-related communications between students during lectures by way of texting, Facebook messaging, and Tweeting. Students have also admitted that social media interferes with homework

2. Information in many locations: Opening up a class to a variety of social media platforms in addition to standard communication tools (email, blackboard, dashboard) can be confusing. Unless you are diligent in updating each network simultaneously, students have a hard time keeping track of them all and can miss important notices from their professors

3. Student/ teacher relationship: Many are concerned that a teacher “friending” or “following” a student on a social network crosses the boundary of teacher and student because social media sites are considered personal

Should social media be accepted in the classroom as a vital communication tool? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!

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