The tipping point has passed. Social media is creating a fundamental shift in the way students connect, engage, and learn. How many college students go even a day without constant access to their friends via Facebook, Twitter, or chat?
Students no longer learn by sitting idle in their desks listening to a teacher lecture while watching PowerPoint presentations with glazed-over eyes.
Students play a more active role in the learning process and instructors are busy developing a more dynamic curriculum. Community college instructors must learn how to use online tools without being overwhelmed and overloaded with too much information.
1. Fundamental Shift in the Way Students Connect
Improving social connections on campus has been shown to improve student learning outcomes.
Social media is a great way to highlight campus events. Social media platforms such as Facebook help to create meaningful and measurable connections between students, faculty, and the institution.
Many students who attend community colleges have jobs and family responsibilities. They do not live on campus and miss out on residential college life. Tools such as Facebook and Twitter help students to foster relationships and social connections.
2. Fundamental Shift in the Way Students Engage
Blogs, Facebook, Twitter and other forms of social media help to captivate the students and get them actively involved in the content.
Instructors can adjust their course content to engage students outside of the traditional classroom and improve the learning experience.
More and more students access social media on their smart phones.
88% of students text or tweet during class. Instead of writing more policies to add to your syllabus, why not spend the time and effort to harness this powerful potential to engage students with the class content?
If community college instructors embrace mobile technology, we will be moving in the right directions and staying ahead of the curve.
Whether it is through a mobile device, Facebook application, or other social media platform, these powerful social media tools can be used to keep the students engaged with the classroom content.
3. Fundamental Shift in the Way Students Learn
Christina Greenhow, an assistant professor of education at Michigan State University, experimented with Twitter in her classroom, and she found that students were more engaged and earned higher grades.
Students are accustomed to using Facebook groups to connect with each other, discuss course content, and share photos or links of interest.
Millennial students are in the habit of learning from their peers in virtual communities.
Students who are shy in class will often feel more comfortable commenting on a blog post, tweet, or Facebook Page. Students no longer visit their instructors in their offices. Instead, they are more likely to seek academic support from faculty members or student support services through a social media platform.
Listen to an Expert
Howard Rheingold defined the world of social media before it even existed. He coined the term virtual communities way back in 1987. He teaches at Stanford University.
Informal, peer learning should not be underestimated.
Rheingold makes the point that a small number of distant connections creates a network and references John Guare’s Six Degrees of Separation. Six degrees of separation is the idea that everyone is connected to each other by only a few degrees of separation.
Rheingold emphasis the importance of helping students create a positive “digital footprint.” Make sure when someone Google’s your name, they find something positive.
Learning to live mindfully in a cyberculture is as important to all of us as a civilization as it is vital to you and me as individuals. ~ Howard Rheingold
You may also be interested in reading:
POGIL Anyone? (Jon Freer)
Pin and Be Pinned: Strategies for Pinterest Success (Joel F.W. Price)
3 Reasons Social Media is Right for Community Colleges (Brandon Croke)
5 Ways Higher Education is Leveraging Mobile Tech (Jeff Kirchick)
Best Practices for Educators on Facebook (Sarah Kessler)