By Kim Beasley
A short time ago, there was no technology and social media in the classroom. Students now do not know a time when pencil and paper were the only way to write or do schoolwork. Computers are now palm size and apps and software allow students alternative ways to learn and excel. Today’s students are introduced to computers and social media from an early age. They are learning, communicating and sharing online before they are even old enough to attend school. Teachers must grow and evolve. Technology and social media in the classroom has changed the teaching profession.
How has technology and social media changed the classroom?
Students rely on the quick information that is available with today’s technology. Teachers must keep up with their students needs. This means that technology and social media in the classroom are essential. Not only are these skills imperative to students, there are benefits to learning via technology.
- Collaberation – Students can now get help at the push of a button. They can work with peers, teachers and others anytime and online.
- Feedback and encouragement – Students can get valuable feedback and encouragement through social media by sharing their work and needs online.
- Communication – Social media allows teachers and students to communicate outside the classroom. Due dates, updates and information can quickly and easily be shared.
How can technology and social media in the classroom have a negative effect?
Technology and social media in the classroom is a benefit for the most part, but parents and teachers must be aware of possible negative effects. Technology can not replace teaching. Students and teachers must look at technology and social media in the classroom as an addition to classroom teaching and not a substitute. Some of the pitfalls teachers, parents and students must be aware of are:
- Shortcuts – Students can use technology and social media to avoid the writing and idea process. It is possible to get too much help. The result is work that is really not entirely the students.
- Social media language – Students can easily revert to using social media abbreviations and slang in classroom writing. Students have to know the difference between acceptable written language on social media and in academic writing.
How can teachers make technolgy and social media in the classroom successful?
Since students are already using technology, it is imperative to intertwine technology into the classroom. Teachers can use technology to get students excited about learning and keep learning. Teachers can also communicate better with parents or give parents access to information such as syllabi and grades. Extra online work can be used as extra credit. Teachers have to be creative with technology and social media in the classroom to keep their students interested and learning. Some other way to maximize technology in the classroom are:
- Teach digital citizenship – Students need education and they need to know what is appropriate in different settings. Teachers can use technology and social media in the classroom to create good citizenship on and offline.
- Use apps and software to reinforce lessons – Students love technology and there are many apps and software programs targeted towards learning. Students can use technology to practice lessons learned in the classroom.
- Helping students with special needs – Technology has made it possible for all students to have a level playing field regardless of special needs. Teachers are taking advantage of talk to text software and software that reads the written word to students.
Technology and social media are everywhere including the classroom. Being smart about using it is a must in a student’s education. Teachers who evolve with new technology and use it to the fullest extent will be the most likely to succeed.