Social media is thought of by educators, parents and sometimes even students as a distraction or nuisance to their education and learning process, but it is actually another helpful advantage and resource to the new generations way of learning. Over 66% of all adults aged 16 and over have a profile on at least one social media website (BBC Active, 2010), since young people in particular communicate and interact with social media regularly, making it a perfect vehicle for learning. Social media has made it easier to connect the younger generation to other young people, so they can discuss and share opinions on things like classwork and group projects. Social media can also aid students learning by making their assessing and analyzing skills better just by scrolling through social media sites. Schools have even started using social media as way of sharing and teaching information, Google classrooms is an example of that.
Social media reshaping the way we educate, allowing students to make connections with world and others with the press of a button. According to a Professor Christine Greenhow from the university of Maryland “When kids feel connected and have a strong sense of belonging to the school community, they do better in school.” She goes on to say that, “They persist in school at higher rates and achieve at higher rates.” This can aid students in furthering their education by being connected with peers via Facebook Messenger group chats. These can help students instantly connect with classmates, allowing them to ask questions, share information about topics learned in class and help others further their knowledge. Additionally, using group chats can help young people with their education by teaching them to work as a team, collaborate on projects, lead discussions and assist other students. These are all positive aspects that can be explored using different communication forums like group chats. When young people make connections with others using social media sites such as Instagram, Facebook or twitter, these skills in making connections can help them later in life. Skills such as connecting with others and staying connected are useful in today’s job market. Social media is training this generation for these skills and preparing them for the obstacles in the job market that require those skill sets. Another way to connect with peers and classmates is some students use hashtags for individual courses to discuss and share opinions on the course. This causes others to write a post about their opinion on the topic and use the hashtag so others can see their point of view and discuss.
Another way social media changes the process of learning for, young people is by developing their skill of rapidly assessing information found on various social media platforms. Social media has enhanced the younger generations ability to analyse and retain information. Young people are constantly scrolling through feeds such as Twitter, which contains a lot of writing and information. They look through and locate what’s relevant to them and skim posts for important information. For educational purposes, this skill can then benefit their studies, making it easier for them to find relevant information in reading materials and quickly skim worksheets to find key points. In addition, when, young person writes a comment for a social media account such as a comment on a Youtube video, it was found that they were more thoughtful about what they were writing due to the fact that their peers would see their comment. It is also shown that their grammar and punctuation were shown more attention. Without realizing it they are improving the learning skills and skills useful for writing essays just by thoughtful word choice and punctuation. This just shows that the younger generation is finding ways to use social media as a learning tool to help better their writing and punctuation skills.
Lastly, social media has transformed the learning experience in the school system. Even though many schools condemn students for using social media during school hours, most schools have hopped on the bandwagon of social media by using black board and google classrooms both of which are types of social media accounts. Dictionnary.com describes social media as being “websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.” This is exactly what google classroom does, letting students interact with teachers by leaving comments or questions about the classwork posted. Teachers can also upload information about the course and notes and PowerPoints taught in class. Google classroom has made learning much easier for this generation’s youth because it uses a learning tool that students can relate to, since they already use social media in their day to day lives. This way students can use a learning tool and be more motivated to do schoolwork and share their assignments on Google classroom.
Social media is a useful learning tool for todays generation. Young people can share information with their peers, they can sharpen their skills of writing and analyzing and they can even use it for school purposes to post their assignments. Even though there is much criticism about social media, the reality is that teenagers are constantly using it and if it can help their education in the long run then it is really such a bad thing?
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