Posted by: constantinakatsari | November 10, 2012

Social Media and Teaching

I have been sat pondering for a while over what I want to write about and a thought occurred to me; why not talk about History and social media? These are two things that I not only enjoy and have a keen interest in, but also have key roles within my life and education.

Social media is the general name given for the vast amount of social software that is designed to enhance and mediate human communication. In modern western society most people will have access to at least one form of social media and there are plenty to choose from; magazines, internet forums, social blogs, podcasts and the one perhaps most known, social networking sites. Social networking sites in particular have grown to an extent the creators could never have dreamed. Facebook in particular has over one billion users worldwide, it is astounding to think that one in seven people throughout the world is a member of this particular social networking site. When putting this into context if Facebook was a country, in terms of population it would be the third largest country in the world thus making it larger than the United States of America. Similarly Twitter has over five hundred million uses and generates over three hundred and forty million tweets a day!

Social networking sites are most often used for communicating with friends or family, however they are not solely associated with this. They can in fact be used to enhance knowledge and further educational studies. Professors, teachers, authors and scholars from all over the world, specialising in a variety of subjects, have joined social networking sites to discuss and share their knowledge. By tweeting their ideas, or linking us to blogs and websites that they find useful or interesting, it introduces us to a new style of learning and gaining information. Social networking sites, such as twitter, are giving us the ability to directly interact and communicate with the specialists within individual fields of study. University students, in particular, may find social networking sites useful in order for them to interact and communicate with their lecturers and also their classroom peers. Social networking sites are of paramount importance as you can find specialists in any given field with the click of a button. In addition to these, by finding one historian for example, you can scroll through their lists and find yourself many other historians that you may be interested in, that you hadn’t heard of before, thus creating a web of knowledge and contacts that without the internet and social networking sites would be more harder to attain.

Although many secondary schools within the UK are quick to put firewalls up to block Facebook and Twitter, what they don’t realise is that they are blocking an incredibly useful teaching tool. With technology being updated and new inventions created on such a frequent basis, it is important that education keeps up with the changes in society, Twitter and Facebook are ways in which one can find out information readily and easily. Social networking has given a new dimension to teaching and learning.

Jade Davies

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Responses

  1. As a teacher I think you raise an interesting point. However what sort of news do you often get on Facebook or Twitter? Its mainly posts about embarrasing nights out, or who should go on Xfactor. The only time where social media has been able to be actively involved in history is the Arab Spring possibly, and I dont think a ‘normal’ person could follow that on Twitter. You would need the BBC website or something to point you in the right direction. so why not let a news sources cut through all the mounds and mounds of drivel on the sound media sites.

    But hey, maybe its just down the company I keep on my social media sites.

    • Hi Alex,
      I think you should try to create lists or to follow only the people who keep their posts professional. There are several of them who are on twitter, though less are on facebook. I always keep my twitter account professional and I am focussing almost exclusively on history, ancient and modern. Check it out at c_katsari
      Constantina

  2. Social media sites get your ideas out there for discussion, even if it runs the risk of ridiculous comments. In a modern world it also helps teach teenagers and young adults in a forum they’re used to, and perhaps makes it more interesting to them than a standard lecture. Also, as seen by the twitter discussion lecture we had, it makes it much easier to have multiple questions circulating at once for students to answer. Social networking has its downfalls, but it can be a useful teaching tool, I think.


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