Social media has a pretty negative connotation, especially in academic circles. Most teachers curse it as the bane of all learning, and in some cases, that might be true. Social media has mostly earned its bad reputation in these circles, but not all of its influence is bad. In fact, social media can actually help with learning, depending on how it is used.
Before we get into the less obvious ways in which social media has effects, we should probably go ahead and mention what everyone already knows; it’s notorious for consuming a lot of a student’s time. Some students spend as much as four hours a day on social media, and needless to say, those four hours aren’t being used for things like studying or assignments, which would obviously improve how well they are learning. Of course, how those hours are being spent plays a big role; doing valuable things on social media would negate the issue of spending that much time there. Unfortunately, most students aren’t spending their time on social media studying or investigating topics for their classes.
Providing a Forum for Class
There’s really no way to stop students from engaging with social media. There’s no point in trying to force it out of their lives. Instead, teachers should try and use it to their advantage. Social media provides many opportunities and avenues for learning. If the teacher makes a group on social media for the class to be a part of, it helps keep learning within their focus even while relaxing on their own time. A Facebook group, for example, would allow a professor to post assignments through social media, lecture through Facebook Live, and even answer questions through comments and messages. This would also provide a way to connect with students that can’t attend a class for whatever particular reason. While it doesn’t do away with the distraction social media can provide, it does at least give a means for students to keep education in mind as they are using it.
A Bridge Between School Days
Everyone knows how hard it is to get back into the swing of things after spring or winter break. That’s because most students completely drop anything school related during those times. It’s difficult for educators to keep up the academic momentum when long breaks like this occur, or even when typical snow days break the stride. Social media provides an outlet for educators to stay connected with students while they’re physically away from the school, posting discussions, assignments, or just general reminders for them to stay on top of things so the return to normal function isn’t so jarring. It provides students with a way to benefit academically from social media even while they’re outside of school.
Potential Sleep Impact
Social media is far from the only thing that keeps students up at night, but it is certainly one of the big ones. It’s easy to get distracted and lose track of time when scrolling through posts and content on Twitter or Facebook. Before you know it, it’s two in the morning and you have to be up at six or seven. As everyone knows by now, a lack of sleep is a major impact on a student’s academic performance; it’s very difficult to stay focused when you’re tired, and you’re unlikely to remember much of what is discussed in class. You might not even manage to stay awake for a class in the first place. That said, social media can be a contributor to a lack of sleep, but don’t take this to mean that it’s the sole thing keeping anyone up. Any sort of distraction can contribute to students staying up later than they should.
Any educator can and will probably tell you that it’s really hard to get more than a handful of students to participate in class. Most students balk at the idea of speaking up in class, either out of shyness or simply because they don’t feel like it. Even if it’s toned down, participation in a physical class is still a form of public speaking, which few people really enjoy.
By engaging with students on social media, professors can encourage them to voice their opinions and engage in discussion on a platform that many students feel more comfortable speaking on, to begin with. A discussion started on social media is far more likely to garner interaction from students than a discussion in class, and discussion in and of itself helps promote critical thinking and more in-depth learning.
To Keep in Mind
It’s important to note that social media can offer many negative impacts with no extra assistance, but doesn’t offer too much in the way of academic help without intent. As a matter of fact, social media can provoke students into addressing a custom writing service to get professional help from expert writers. For instance, social media has the potential to be time-consuming and distracting regardless, but all of the aforementioned benefits in this article require an educator to take some initiative. In that sense, social media is inherently a negative influence on student learning but can be molded into something more beneficial than it naturally is. Of course, that’s really the best way to go about the scenario. As stated previously, there’s no way to root social media out of student’s lives at this point. It’s pretty ingrained. Rather than try to subdue or get rid of it, educators should think of ways they can use it to further their cause.
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