Social networks have been around for many years. Before Facebook, people already had MySpace, IRC, and Friendster. Still, social networks today boast hundreds of millions of users — all of them regularly browsing their feed. So, is it a good idea to restrict access to social media in educational institutions?
Backlash Against Social Media
It’s common for school administrators to view social media in a bad light. For one, it’s known that it’s easy to get distracted from class with just a tap of a button. Students could use the endless scroll feature to look at all the memes and posts on Facebook and Twitter.
If a student doesn’t pay attention, they might have a hard time answering a surprise quiz or quickly finishing an assignment. Likewise, professors would rather have students who recite and initiate a conversational form of learning than those who are always glued to their screens.
The fear that students will stop listening in class is one of the reasons why some schools ban access to social media using their wifi — even though pupils can still use mobile data. Plus, there’s always a VPN Instagram and Facebook enthusiasts can get to bypass the restrictions.
Another area of concern is cyberbullying. Students can easily use social media to post hurtful posts and photos of an individual fellow student during class. Faculty members could also become a favorite target of students, especially if they give low grades.
Benefits of Social Media in the Classroom
On the other hand, it would also be wrong to ignore the sound effects of social media. Facebook has made it easier for students to have group conversations and talk about group projects. The interface on Facebook is much better than when students had to rely on Yahoo Groups.
Through Messenger and other instant messaging apps, students can quickly share documents, photos, videos, and links. They can finish a project on the go if they have laptops and tablets. Likewise, teachers can use social media to help students speak up in class.
It’s no secret that some afraid to raise their hands and recite. A great solution is for the teacher to place a large screen in front of the classroom. Here, a specific Twitter feed can appear. When a student wants to ask a question or express their ideas about a lesson, they can opt to tweet their thoughts.
And lastly, social media is where all resources are found. A teacher can create a group for the entire class. Any updates about the lesson can be sent there. Likewise, they can upload copies of the current lecture to help those who are located at the back of the classroom and cannot see the visual aids well.
Social media has its pros and cons. What school administrators should do is educate both students and teachers about moderation. Teach them to utilize social media to improve how lessons are taught and provide advice on how they can prevent being distracted in class.