This generation of students has not experienced a world without social media. Good or bad, most students use social media every day and are influenced by the ever-changing platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok, and Twitter. Typically they’re seen as a distraction, but there are ways to use them to your advantage as a teacher in the classroom.
If you teach material that students are more familiar with, they are more likely to be interested and take in the content more easily. You can use social media as a way to start research, or a way to stay updated with recent news. Be careful though, as there is lots of misleading and false information on social media. Be sure to use verified and supported sources while doing research this way.
Collaboration is an important part of STEM, and using social media in the classroom fosters this in a virtual way by allowing students to work with other STEM classes within their school, as well as those around the country. Through this medium, students can share ideas about what they are learning with other students and can hear about new ideas in return. This will create better results not only in your students’ collaboration skills, but in the resulting classroom projects.
Because students spend much of their time outside of school on social media, using it in the classroom creates a unique opportunity to discuss the rights and wrongs of using the internet. Because students will be required to take on the role of model digital citizens in the classroom, this may very well translate to the rest of their internet use as well.
Many times, this is seen the opposite way: students who use social media are diminishing their writing skills because they don’t use proper grammar or punctuation while typing on these platforms. You can challenge your students to become better and more efficient writers by using some of the limitations social media presents. For example, there are a limited number of characters to work with on social media platforms like Twitter, so they must make every word count. When written instead of spoken, words can be interpreted hundreds of different ways. Be sure your students understand how they can be understood correctly. Students will become more conscious of the way they write, allowing their writing to become more focused and concise.
By implementing social media in your classroom, you could see your students benefit in unexpected areas. The only thing standing in the way is taking the leap to get started.
For more information about implementing it in your classroom, check out this resource: Using Social Media in the STEM Classroom.