Instructors are always looking for new and innovative ways to present content so that students will be motivated to learn.
Social media such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and blogs are powerful new tools that can be used to give a needed boost to outdated, boring lesson plans. Social media tools have the potential to increase the level of students’ motivation by engaging them in the content.
Students love social media and faculty must be willing to use these tools to motivate students, but using new technology involves some risk-taking (You may want to read Social Media in Higher Education: Use with Caution http://wp.me/p1anSN-78).
Much research has been conducted on the benefits of collaborative learning.
Social media tools provide effective ways to incorporate collaborative learning strategies into the classroom and to extend learning beyond the classroom walls. Social media tools make it easier than ever before to bring students together for the purpose of reinforcing the lesson content.
Social media provide the tools for all students to become actively involved in the classroom content, and students are learning skills that will help them in the workplace.
In the past, instructors had to spend a considerable amount of time structuring the classroom situation so that students would work collaboratively. Social media tools offer a natural way for students to interact with each other around the lesson material.
All technical and academic disciplines can benefit from using social media to help students engage with the instructor, the content, and each other.
Here are 7 benefits of using social media tools to promote collaborative learning.
- Improved Time Management. Students today have a difficult time with time management. Many students juggle school, jobs, and families. They find it increasingly difficult to find time to meet with a group of classmates outside of class to work on school projects. Social media tools provide a means for students to collaborate on group projects and assignments outside of the traditional class time.
- More Time on Task. Time on task may be greater when social media strategies are incorporated into the classroom. Students can choose to work on projects at a time that is more suited to their schedules and energy levels. They can work in multiple small segments of time instead of trying to complete a project in one or two meetings.
- Active Learning and Reflection. Social media tools encourage active learning and reflection. Students are given the opportunity to view the opinions of their classmates and modify or stretch their own opinions as a result.
- Multiple Means for Communication. Social media can provide multiple means for effective communication with students. The instructor and students can share information outside of class, discuss ideas, and evaluate the ideas of others.
- Increased Faculty/Student Interaction. Students feel more comfortable asking questions via social media. Instructors find that students respond more quickly and with greater frequency via social media than through school email or LMSs.
- Greater Student Participation. Students who would never speak to each other in the classroom get to know each other via social media. Learning is social. Students learn from each other as they work together and collaborate on assignments. Shy students are much more likely to participate in discussions.
- Prompt Feedback – Students receive consistent and rapid feedback from faculty and students. Using social media, feedback can also be provided from subject-matter experts around the world.
How have you used social media in the classroom? What do you perceive as benefits of social media? What precautions would you recommend?
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