Social Media: A Teacher’s Tool

Paige Houchen and Molly Strickler

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What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think “social media”? Most people would think of Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, but that’s not all there is. Blogs, classroom profiles, forums, and newsletters are just a few of the things social media has to offer in schools. We believe that social media should be accessible during certain times during school hours. Most students would jump at the chance of having social media networks accessible during school, but most teachers would probably rather jump out of the window than to allow it in their classrooms. With certain restrictions set, social media could become a great communication and educational tool for students, teachers, and parents.

   “Facebook and Twitter, if they keep their phones away while the teacher is talking, I don’t see why not. Go for it,” teacher Sheri Nakai said. We completely agree. Our point is that we don’t think that students should be on their phones during a lecture, because that is rude to the teacher, but we do think that we should look at social media as a way for students and teachers to communicate in and outside of school in times like lunch and free periods. Students are more likely to be scrolling through their social networks than to check their e-mails. Student Laiken Hein, when asked what she used more, said, “Social media. I get all these notifications from Twitter and stuff so I go right to those. I don’t even check my e-mail anymore. Follow me on Instagram- @laiken.hein.” It has also been noticed that on forums, such as Edmodo, students who rarely talk in class express themselves more online. Social media could really help teachers who want to more involve students who are shy or have issues like social anxiety, as it encourages social collaboration. It would also be a great way to spread news about school events and clubs who want more members, as well as open more doors for online projects and assignments.
The thought of having social media being available to students at schools does sound scary at first because of issues like bullying and inappropriate language. Social media is a highly controllable tool. A teacher doesn’t want the class on a site? Turn off the class wifi. Someone leaves a mean post, or maybe drops in some swears? Delete the comment. Not only does the act of typing make you actually think about what you are about to say before you say it(or post it in this instance), but it also forces you to take ownership for your actions online. There are even ways to make codes that change daily if needed. On the other hand, there is the possibility of bullying and inappropriate behavior while online, and schools and parents should lay out ground rules for the consequences. Social media has high potential in schools, we just need more people to realize that.