The art of social media in the classroom: the perfect excuse to play with your phone

For a long time, playing with your phone was (among) the greatest sins possible in the classroom, indicating a reluctance to the lecture and materials presented. With the growing use of social media and the ubiquity of phones, can this lurking enemy become classrooms’ friend?

According to Alyssa Tormala and Shannon lee, It can; students are becoming more comfortable sharing on social media and although there is a tendency to exhibit the ideal self, educators have the opportunity to help students learn and make better choices through empowerment by a positive online community. The authors provide some practical examples: collaborative writing experience (Digital writing roulette ), using Snapchat in the classroom (here), inviting students to watch educational movies and tweet about it, starting Facebook page so that students can post about developing topics and issues.

Although the premise of social media benefit is tempting, caution should be given not to become overly optimistic: research has shown that social media can serve as a two-edged sword: help increase relationship-building but at the same time distracts from the main tasks (read more here). On a different yet relevant note, a past survey has showed that students are concerned about merging their social lives and academic ones. The issue of students’ privacy is a big consideration that cannot be taken lightly.

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