Technology and Social Media have become essential parts of our lives. I recall the excitement when we bought our first TV followed by those Sunday serials. I often had to hear my parents saying, “don’t watch TV for long, it will spoil your eyes”, or “watch it from at least 10 feet away”. Things have changed since then. Today, with the growing use of technology in education, parents are acknowledging and welcoming the relative advantages of social media in particular and technology in general. They are keener than ever to introduce their little ones to the new set of technological tools in teaching and learning processes.
Let’s talk about the role of social media in education, how it is reshaping the system and how can educators make sense the online world.
One of the major benefits of using social media with students is teaching them to communicate openly and it does not stop at the teacher-student relationship. From sharing school news via social networks to sharing students’ success stories, from meeting with parents to fundraising, social media can quickly become the channel of communication.
Engage students in 21st-century learning
Student engagement can be one of the most important indicators for a successful class experience as this denotes the level of interest students show towards the topic and motivation to learn. Educators and researchers invent amazing learning tools and concepts to develop interest and inspire students, which eventually help to improve learning outcomes in lesser time.
Use of multimedia feedback, discussion techniques, and group involvement
Social media enables the creation of meaningful connections. Digital metrics in education can help students in collaborative activities, peer-rating/ranking, and asking the right questions. Effective, timely feedback and self-check activities help guide student learning and prepare students for course assessments.
Aiding the research process
Social media helps students, working on a project or an assignment to gain better insights, and in compiling and producing useful content for research.
Schools harness social media to attract students
Governments and academic institutes, as well as tech providers and entrepreneurs, together transform the definition of learning. Government schools too are adopting social media right from creating promotional videos to reaching to parents over WhatsApp to maximising admission responses. Recently the government of Rajasthan has issued ‘Panch Sutriya Karyakram’ (Enrolment strategy) to increase enrolments in government schools. As a result, the government has improved the enrolment tally in its schools by adding 12 lakh students in the last three years.
Likewise, the schools in rural Pune also have adopted similar steps — digital teaching technology, video presentations, and social media campaigns to attract new students.
Digital education among students in rural areas
From distance education to cultural preservation, digital platforms are transforming the way learning is visualised. The use of technology can help in mitigating the aforementioned concerns. Education can be digitised in rural areas by providing multimedia teaching tools to teachers and engaging students through learning methods that utilise digital tools.
Visual literacy in the classroom
Visuals have been proven to be a better learning enhancer than linguistic or text-based literacy. Identifying students’ learning styles and the importance of visual literacy comes from a study where it’s found students face difficulty gaining a deeper understanding of a concept in the case of linguistic representation whereas it was otherwise in the case of information presented in an image. The goal is to not only to be proficient in textual communication but also to be able to communicate ideas through principles of design and interpret others’ ideas through visual literacy.
Formative assessment through social media:
Formative assessment is a process of gradual improvement that depends on the feedback loop to drive student learning. Due to social media functions, sharing and gathering information is just one click away. For example – Twitter, with its real-time sharing features like hashtags and Twitter clients, is a powerful tool for instant assessment. A hashtag followed by word or phrase makes it searchable internet-wide. A teacher can designate a class or assignment with a hashtag and students can tweet or reply or follow the hashtag to be a part of the ongoing conversation. E.g.: #learnwithnumbernagar. Hashtag methodology is now adopted by many other social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, even professional network sites like LinkedIn.
At NumberNagar® we are keen on using digital technologies and social media to aid in the overall engagement of students while keeping all the goodness of teacher-student engagement.
The bottom line is that social media has made way into our lives. And the benefits are obvious, starting with healthier parent-teacher relationships to developing critical thinking and creativity skills, and all the way to permanently change the way our children will learn.
Pragyan Parimita Barik
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