As social media becomes a norm for students of all ages, teachers may want to consider how this platform can impact learning and how it can be used to benefit students’ education. For this blog post, I will be discussing the evolution of social media, how Twitter can be used in education, the concept of “new power” and its relation to social media, and what has stood out to me about social media over these past few weeks.
Social networking has come a long way since its conception in the late 1970s. With the introduction of the internet, social media sites came along for students and adults to connect on. Calling over the phone became impractical with the introduction of Facebook. What has surprised me about the evolution of social media is the transition to smart, mobile devices. Websites quickly transitioned to create these apps to make communication more accessible on the go. Facebook created Messenger – messages were suddenly on the tip of our fingers without the inconvenience of searching through the Facebook app. I’m using Facebook as an example as it was the most prevalent platform during my formative years in middle school. Other apps like Twitter and Instagram also transitioned to a mobile format effortlessly, and created a more accessible platform for mobile users.
Twitter is a fascinating platform where individuals can openly share their thoughts and comment on others’ thoughts. Not only that, but people are able to keep up with their friends, celebrities, and current trends and events. In schools, students can compare what is trending on their profile as the Twitter algorithm takes into account location and interests when it presents what is trending. In my experience, professors have used their Twitter profile to post relevant articles they think the class should look into as it relates to our studies. In addition, professors have encouraged me to post reflections about class and current events. This gives the Twitter community an opportunity to respond to these thoughts and engage in online conversations. Twitter can be used in education settings as a tool to allow students to reflect on their studies and tweet about their inquires and insights.
The concept of “new power” comes from Jeremy Heimans and his 2014 TEDTalk where he describes it as the combination of two main elements: peer coordination and mass participation. These concepts are relevant to education in the 21st century since they are valued by teachers as the education system becomes more collaborative. Students are often encouraged to engage in conversation about the course content. In regard to social media, I explore the mobile app called Slack: a communication app that allows people to collaborate with colleagues, share files, and send direct messages. The audience for Slack is primarily business; however, its communication features lead me to believe that it can be used in a classroom setting as well. It is an accessible application and website that students can use during group projects and in-class brainstorming. In addition, students would be able to send messages to their teachers if they have questions about particular projects or assignments. Each account is personal to the student; they can personalize it by organizing which groups they are in depending on their classes. It can be a tool in the education system for students to share their reflections with their classmates.
When using social media, it is good to remember who one is representing before posting anything that could be deemed incriminating in the future. Following social media etiquette can help maintain a thoughtful, encouraging, and positive online presence. Social media etiquette is not necessarily something learned through courses, but rather experience. If someone makes a ‘mistake’ on social media, they will be called out by their peers or even strangers. When I post on social media, I take into account that future employers may see this, and more importantly, my grandmother.
Thanks for reading!