A vast majority of students are now engaged in social media on a daily basis, accessing various platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Though social media in the workplace is often discouraged, using these programs in the classroom brings a pedagogical element to a resource students already use regularly. Furthermore, while many students may be uncomfortable approaching a teacher after class to ask a question, social media provides a space for students to feel safer posting inquiries. Moreover, social media encourages communication and collaboration, teaching students valuable Internet-based networking skills. Engaging students over social media can involve creating blogs, wikis, and digital storytelling. Enhance student engagement by making social media a vital part of an integrated curriculum.
As one of the world’s largest social networks, Facebook is a platform many students already use to express personal opinions and share news. Facebook can be used to benefit a learning environment by providing students with an informal, conversational venue for talking with teachers. More so, Facebook provides students with a digital workspace for discussing assignments, sharing notes, and participating in general collaboration. Considering conversations and posts on Facebook are archived, unless deleted by the user, it also gives students an ongoing digital reference of shared ideas and insights.
Twitter is also extremely popular, with over half a billion active users worldwide. Many educators, writers, business professionals, and publications share news and ideas over this form of social media. Hence, Twitter is a great place for students to actively engage with a wider professional audience. However, the educational applications of Twitter go well beyond simply interacting with a professional network. This social media platform is great for challenging students to think creatively and encourage critical thinking skills. Teach students writing skills by challenging them to create micro-poetry in tweet form or encouraging them to write tweets that actively engage other users.
Whereas Facebook and Twitter both cater to short-form writing, blogs provide students with a digital venue for developing long-form pieces of both academic and creative writing. Blogs can be written by students individually or in groups. This online forum give students the ability to go back and revise their work, as well as receive comments and criticisms from other classmates and educators. Blogging also allows groups of students to collaborate and create a piece of cohesive work.