With personalised learning environments becoming popular, social media has turned into an effective tool for dispensing knowledge and information. Let’s look at how it can be used as a tool to learn.
By Arun Sharma
With the expanding reach of the Internet and gadgets to connect to it, a lot of children are now active members of one or the other social media platforms. While these platforms are still predominantly being used to link up with friends or make new friends, they are slowly evolving into learning platforms.
Social media is now being used by more and more self-motivated and independent students to learn, apart from the regular book-based learning.
Here are some of the ways in which different social media platforms can help children with learning.
1. Create a group on Facebook: Most active users of social media have a tendency to collaborate with their peers. Students of a class can get together and create a group where they can share information or ideas about assignments, discuss topics that require brainstorming, and share their doubts and get answers. They can also use the platform to collaborate with students and teachers of other countries as well. If they also make their teachers a part of the group, they can receive valuable inputs even during after-school hours.
2. Share small facts on Twitter: Twitter has imposed a limitation of 140 letters to express whatever an individual wants to. While this may look discouraging to users, students can still use it to share various types of information. For example, they can use it to share important website links, details of assignments, titles of interesting topics, and to conduct polls. It can be used in many more ways; all that one would need is a little bit of creativity and imagination.
3. Create an information board using Pinterest: This platform allows its users to share information using images or videos. In Pinterest, the act of posting is called ‘pinning’ and those who post are called ‘pinners’. Students can create a board about a topic, subject or project that may be of importance to them. All the members of the group can then post relevant images or videos about that topic on the board.
4. Liven up learning using Youtube: The multiple advantages of using video to impart education was established years ago. While lack of technology previously prevented most children access to educational videos, the advent of the Internet and Youtube has changed the scene. There are many channels on Youtube that feature educational videos on various subjects and for children of different ages. Children can share these videos with each other, or make their own video about how they came up with solutions to their problems and feature it on their channel.
5. Connect using Google+: There are many ways in which students and teachers can use the various features of Google+. For example, Students can create Circles in collaboration with teachers of different subjects. Each teacher can then share information about their subject in their Circle. This information will be available to all students who are members of that Circle. Similarly, students can use the Hangouts feature to share information with their peers or with their teacher during after-school hours. There is another feature called Sparks that students can use to find and share relevant content.
Slowly, but surely, the student community is realising the tremendous potential that social media has to help them with their studies. However, before they start using it more, students need to understand how to use it and when to use it. While social media can never replace books, it can act as a valuable medium of exchanging information and knowledge. However, a word of caution to parents: Exercise parental control when it comes to your children using social media; ensure that you monitor their activity. Also, educate them on online safety rules and netiquette.
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