Nowadays, social networks have become a fundamental tool to connect with the world outside. There are mixed opinions about the roles that the technology is playing in education with those in favour of it see it boosting the speed of education while other think opposite to it. Nevertheless, one thing needs to be kept in mind that social networks have changed the way we communicate, socialize, how we start a new business and the way in which students learn.
Are social networks educational?
In the last two decades, the social media has reached in the hands of children and provided them the information that was previously restricted. Years ago, the only way to learn was to read a topic as many times as required to memorize it. From the communicative point of view, the use of the means of communication that we have, can be beneficial, but it has also led to many parents being constrained in the education they provide their children. This educational tool does not only affect children, adults and adolescents; its use can make them addicted to it.
Currently, one out of every 5 people in the world is on social networks, thus, it is significant that in educational centres they are known and are used in a way in which students can benefit from them for their training and their Personal development.
Experts of the pedagogy uphold that social networks within the classroom encourage dialogue and participation, and also affirm that social networks are a new way of understanding Education, although there are teachers who refuse to implement them in their teaching systems for several reasons for example, the lack of training on their part as this field is totally new to them and the lack of technological means in the classroom. The arguments also uphold that there is no way that you can take the youngsters away from the screens, they are going to be glued to their devices, especially smartphones, and it is up to the educators whether they make a productive use of this situation or not.
What are the benefits of social networks in the classroom?
It is important to detail the benefits and positive impact of the use of social networks in current education. Both teachers and students can benefit from the possibilities granted by social networks. Among the benefits provided by the use of social networks in the area of education, we find the following:
- It allows teachers to teach the student to learn for themselves, acting only as a guide or facilitator in learning.
- They are a means of communication, allowing adolescents who are very familiar with them, to feel more comfortable in their relationships with teachers. But not only it serves to communicate between students and professors of the same centre, but it can serve them to contact experts of other subjects or students of other centres.
- It helps to develop digital and technological skills necessary to work in companies, as well as in their own entrepreneurial initiatives, such as the digital certificate, a tool which is totally unknown to students but can help them and facilitate the completion of paperwork related to the INEM, with the rent, with the ministry of justice, request for online appointment in the social security, as well as consult the points of the driver’s license.
- The use of social networks and blog, promotes the value of sharing and collaboration. In this way, not only the teacher transmits knowledge, but also cooperation between a group of people is favoured.
- Help in the awareness of the importance of socializing, working as a team and freedom of expression.
- Through the use of ICTs, students learn by doing, which is how they learn best.
- They make it possible for the students to make themselves known to the centre, to the faculty and to other students, providing opportunities to publicize the institutional and educational activity.
- The search for information will no longer be a boring task, allowing the student to enter the different social networks to investigate and have the necessary resources to complete daily activities.
- Social networks, such as Facebook, allow the formation of private class groups and even a group for each subject, which facilitates the resolution of doubts in a quick and more personal way with teachers; also in this way, they can share with their classmates any resource they need.
- Currently there are several collaborative websites, an example is the Wikipedia, where students can add, edit, create or modify the content of a web page quickly and easily.
- Thanks to social networks, teachers can disseminate among themselves different educational resources, ideas, even materials. There is no doubt that these tools, for both teachers and students, facilitate the task of teaching and learning, since both parties have access to more resources and allows students to solve their doubts in an easy and quick manner.
To conclude, we can say that social networks are becoming a resource that increases the development of communication skills and can be used as a learning strategy by students, since most students use them daily without specific benefit and teaching them how to make an appropriate use of these, they can include them as part of their academic activities. It is true that social networks such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook etc. can become educational tools but the problem with this education is that it is out of control. With new solutions come the new problems and it is true for social media too. Cyber bulling is one such example. But, that should not restrict the development.
It can be said that social networks will carry out an evolution in the field of education that will favour learning and enrichment reciprocally between teachers and students, that is, to encourage collaborative learning using activities that allow self-evaluation or reflection on the work done.