Article Review #1: Integrating Social Media into the Classroom Curriculum
Abe, P. & Jordan N.A. (2013) Integrating Social Media Into the Classroom Curriculum, American College Personnel Association and Wiley Periodicals, Inc. 16-20, DOI: 10.1002/abc.21107
In the article “Integrating Social Media into the Classroom Curriculum” Paige Abe and Nickolas A. Jordan examine the use of social media in higher education. This is primary done through various experimental assignments, class surveys and observational feedback.
“94% of first year college students spent time on social networking sites in a typical week” (Abe & Jordan, 2013). With that statistic college educators set out to incorporate social media into the classroom primary to increase student engagement. Using a digital tool such as Twitter ©, educators were able to spark discussion among students, interaction between students and faculty and facilitate interactive and collaborative learning. Assignments or discussion questions were posted and students were to respond using Twitter © with an assigned hastag for the educator to follow. This provided a way for students to participate in class during class and beyond the classroom walls.
Students in higher education (the millennials) are born tech savvy and using social media allows for them to be more engaged and allow educators to meet the students’ needs at their level. Some disadvantages of using tools such as Twitter creates the potential for distractions in the classroom, especially within a lecture style class where it is unlikely for a professor to call out a particular student. However, it was stated that students have been self distracting for years prior to the invention of technology. Skype is another tool that has been incorporated in higher education. It allows for global education to take place and breaks down physical, financial or geographical barriers.
Students are very competent in using social media, but now applying social media to education provides another level of use that they may not be familiar with. It isn’t enough for a educator to set up an assignment or activity using social media and set the students to collaborate and share without some guidance and direction. This can be as simple as a lesson in modeling what the expectations of using social media in education. Educators will now have a greater responsibly of instructing the use of social media in an education setting and motoring the appropriate use of this tool. With the lasting effects of a digital footprint, students may not be aware of the interaction within social media even if it for higher education.
Using social media to engagement of students may leave educators feeling uncomfortable and blurring the lines between professional and personal interactions. Also it decrease the role that face to face interaction and how typed words can be misinterpreted. Just as educators may set those clear boundaries and finally feel comfortable with social media, there is a great potential for the tools to change and educators are right back at the starting point.
Even though this article presented both the advantages and disadvantages of social media in higher education, the overall recommendation is that it is a positive and productive tool. It received positive feedback from both students and educators. There is still many kinks to work out; that will only be solved through application and practice.
Even though this article was written with the college level student in mind, I think it can be easily applied to every level of educator. One of the biggest issues that we struggle with is student interaction and engagement. I don’t think social media would completely erase the issue, but it would help ease it. Using social media in the middle school is a great tool to help the communication and bridge the gap between school and home. Our students often go home and notify their parents that they didn’t learn anything and no homework, whether that be the truth or not. Using tools like a classroom Twitter © or Facebook © allows parents to see what their child is learning and provide a basis of conversation between the student and parent. This may also cause some strife from the student if they are not keeping with their assignments. However, I feel that is a risk that both educators and parents are willing to take. Teaching itself is never easy and adding social media to our content would be a daunting task, but it is one that is necessary. If we ask students to use social media in the classroom, then we need to teach them how to use it. Educators need to set clear guidelines and expectations. This can only help our students within the classroom walls and beyond in their future education and society.