Social media includes varied online technology tools that allow people to communicate easily via the Internet to share information and resources. The dramatic growth of social media creates new opportunities for engaging students. These include social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter along with blogs and wikis. Social media are rapidly changing the way the we interact with one another. The best way to experience the power of the social media revolution is to watch this YouTube video on the Social Media Revolution.
The Advantages of Using Social Media in the Classroom:
- Interaction using social media provides students with a sense of belonging and creates bonds between students and their peers, and between students and the instructor.
- Students likely have some prior familiarity with sites such as Facebook or MySpace, lowering the "learning-curve" associated with using a new technology.
- Wikis and blogs provide avenues to increase collaboration between students. For additional reading consider: Whither the Wikis?, 5 Strategies for Using Wikis in the Classroom and Why Blogging is an Effective Way to Teach Students Today.
- Students involved in projects can blog about their experiences.
- Social media content creators must protect the copyrights of others (see the page on cautions for more info).
- In the case of a wiki or a blog, clear authorship must be determined and maintained.
- Clear grading criteria must be provided to students to encourage their participation in the use of social media.
- An extensive list of best practices may be found on the Edu-tastic blog.