We can all agree that social media is a double edged sword. There are many positives to using it but there are an equal amount of negatives. At the end of the day, it is truly based on the individual behind the screen. Social networking in class can be very effective if students are able to stay focused on the task at hand. Here are the benefits and challenges of bring social networking to the classroom.
Teach with variety
Gone are the days when we could only learn from thick textbooks that overwhelmed a lot of students. We are all different and learn in a different way. Teachers are now able to communicate information in the form of text, videos and images. Knowing how to follow a residency application process might confuse a lot of students, but now you have so many infographics that explain this process easily and effectively.
Access to more information
The great thing about the internet is the amount of information we have access to. This is great for students who want to research a topic a bit more or simply does not understand a concept. You no longer have to suffer in silence. Information is power, but it is what you do with that power that is important. Students can basically find a video or article about any section of their syllabus.
Study buddy match
We all have our own way of understanding information and through social networking, you are able to find similar individuals. Your classmates might not be a match, but anything is possible on the internet. Find students with a similar learning style and start sharing notes. A residency cv becomes more exciting to do if you have someone you can share it with before submitting.
Unfortunately the internet and social media can become a big time waster for students. You might start off well with good intentions. Before you know it, your online conversations can become distracting and adding no value. Many students who have a problem concentrating find themselves down the rabbit hole often. It is important to monitor your behaviour online and perhaps block those account where you know you get distracted easily.
No access after school
Sure, most people have internet and social media access, but not all. There are some students who might not be able to use social networking after they leave school. These students are then lacking behind the other who do have access. This is of course an unfair advantage and might pose to be a challenge. This does not mean that someone with internet access would write a better residency application personal statement but it gives them access to more information to use. A good idea is to make sure all the students in class have access to the internet after school before implementing it as an educational system.
In a perfect world cyber bullying would not be such a big deal, but unfortunately is has become an epidemic. Many schools are banning the use of social media in class because of this exact issue. Sharing inappropriate information on social media to bring someone else down is right on wrong, but it still happens. Many of these cases end in students missing class or in a worst case scenario lead to the victims having suicidal thoughts. It is important for educators to pay attention to what is going on in class and act fast if any such behaviours are detected.
Many of these challenges can be overcome and students can enjoy all the benefits of using social networking. It is up to every student to make a conscious decision to only pick out the best benefits.