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Six Social Media In Education Myths

By David Smith | Published:
Working collaboratively - social learning - has been a part of education for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Today, with more and more learning going online, social learning is changing. Social networks and social media can now play a big part in education - however they are still approached with caution by teachers.

Therefore, we’ve looked at five of the biggest myths around social networks and social learning.

1. It’s a new phenomenon

As we’ve already said - social learning has been around for a very long time. The reason it may ‘feel’ new is because it’s changing: social networks have created a new type of social networking. It’s less the ‘human connection’ and learner from others in the ‘real’ world - it’s now about online learning communities.

Other learners, collaborators and teachers are all available as long as you have an internet connection, meaning knowledge and challenges can be shared across countries and even continents. Social learning is now not restricted to those in your class.

2. It’s dangerous

Many teachers worry that social networks are dangerous. In fact, blocking social media from your school is dangerous. If children are not taught how to use a social network properly, and are not made aware of their ‘digital footprint’, they are more at risk.

Teach children about social networking as part of any e-safety training you do; giving them the opportunity to use social networks within school will mean they are not only familiar with how to use them correctly, but it will also give them less of a reason to sign up to Facebook outside of school.

The results from a recent e-safety survey Webanywhere conductedshowed that 63% of teachers don’t feel they have any influence of whether a child uses social networks. You can take steps towards changing that by showing children how to use social media correctly - and by giving them access to a dedicated school social network.

3. You can’t educate children with it

Thanks in part to the way Twitter works, social media is seen as an entertainment-only platform, a place for celebrity gossip.

Any teacher who believes that social media is for entertainment only only needs to join Twitter and search for the vast number of teachers and resources links on there to see how useful it is.

4. It distracts from learning

Rather than taking pupils away from learning, used correctly it can actually become a part of their learning - even when they’re not learning. To that end, you can almost flip that lyth and say learning can infiltrate their non-school time!

5. Schools don’t need it

Sure, any school can ignore social media, either the teaching of it or the adoption of it. But technology is moving fast, and today’s young generation will take it to it whether you like it or not. It’s simply a case of accept it or be left behind.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that, as social networking is becoming such a big part of everyday life - and many children are becoming more savvy to it - adopting a social learning approach could actually improve engagement.

Spend an hour a week on digital literacy and compare engagement to more traditional forms of teaching and learning. We’re sure you will see a marked improvement.

6. It takes too much time

No teacher is going to adopt a new method of teaching if it takes up more of their time. But actually, used properly, social media could actually save you time. Take a look at those aforementioned resources available through Twitter and see how much time you save in finding resources for lesson plans alone.

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