The novel coronavirus disease, commonly known as Covid19, has revolutionized the way of doing business across all platforms of our society. There has been a general evolution from the formalized approach of education to a more open education system. Nations and communities have been locked up with governments upping their lockdowns with high-security details out on the prowl to discipline those who violate lockdown restrictions. The lockdowns have inadvertently necessitated the embrace of online learning in the attempt to fill the void left by the closure of the formal education system in many societies. We will look at how this void is being closed by the embrasure of social media learning platforms.
Adding Value to Education and Social Media
The $100 question here is “does social media offer any valuable alternative to the formal learning system of today. Embracing Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, and so on is being necessitated by the free access to information and communication that these sites offer. Therefore, can we, as a society, make use of the media sites to enhance two-way learning that gives valuable feedback for our students? Check the examples of how we can use social media to get an alternative to the formal education system. The electronic learning system will aid us to kill the idea of being idle and doing nothing at home as our children and ourselves learn excitingly.
Enhancing learning through social media
Social media has become so engraved in our lifestyles, and hence we regard it as an element of our societies. It is invaluable in several ways. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat are some of the high traffic sites that are being used by the majority of people.
The use of diverse online platforms by students to cater to various needs is on the rise. It will not be out of the way; therefore, to say social media and education are two interlinked variables that we can use for the betterment of our societies in this covid19 era.
Now, how can social media be used in a useful manner by students? How can we maintain high safety and security standards for our students as they access social media learning tools? How can we teach them to use these tools appropriately? I will answer these questions as the article progresses.
Communication And Collaboration
Social media facilitates socio-economic communication between individuals and organizations. A learner has access to other learners and social media users all the time on platforms as Kids Messenger or WhatsApp. They will access these platforms on their smartphones, tablets, laptops, and iPads, allowing them to interact, discuss, question each other, and video or audio call each other. If your child is finding his or her homework a bit tiff, he or she can just log in and throw the question on their friends’ timeline or even ask their tutors.
Research and social media
The World Wide Web is a library of information containing billions of valuable data. If used in the best way, this information can be of use to students in this covid19 era. Social media news feeds link students to various websites from which they can have access to invaluable data for free. Students use platforms such as Tumblr, which offer them inspiration for their school work. They get answers to complex questions and interact with tutors, researchers, and scholars from afar.
Learners can use social media to prepare for their lessons and learn any new ideas with a high level of efficacy. There is a variety of data on different academic disciplines. New trends come with new ideas, and thus, learners will be in tandem with the latest info. The educational benefits of social networking sites are also those that help students prepare for essential lessons and learn certain concepts with excellent efficacy. The evaluability of social media learning thus characterizes this era.
Parents and Social Media
Many schools now have Social media news feeds and groups. Social Media allows parents to get involved in the learning process of their children. The schools’ tech departments will update Facebook groups and Twitter platforms on all learning projects, school events, sporting activities, meetings, and other essential updates. The teachers can get into direct contact with guardians online, even via video calling on Skype or other platforms. They can network on WhatsApp or Facebook.
Social Media usage shows relative positivity on the way parents can get in contact with their children’s educational facilities online. Communication is enhanced. Learner progress can be shared. Parents will become better informed about what they can offer to improve their children’s learning.
Enhancing Literacy, And Reading Skills
During my years as a teacher, I realized that many learners get bored easily with reading and writing. However, I also noted that learners would quickly read anything posted on their timelines. They are also inclined to browse through animated online presentations as they imagine themselves living inside the digital world. They love videos with real-life, sci-fi, and even traditional aspects. Teachers, during this covid19 era, can make use of such to crate hi-tech videos that are eye-catching in terms of animations to attract their students’ interests.
Moreover, teachers can send online messages, comment on their students’ timelines, send news, articles, and links to books to their students. The updates will motivate the students who will find some time to browse through and read those posts in that way, enhancing their literacy and reading skills. Students will benefit greatly, and the reading culture will be improved. The social media sites are very interactive, and thus students will love learning through them.
As I mentioned before, this covid19 era we are living in has revolutionized the education system. Zimbabwe has indefinitely closed schools, the same with South Africa and other global countries. The focus is now on eLearning as societies battle this unprecedented pandemic. Social distancing is now the norm, and gatherings have gone down.
Social media is now one of the best alternatives to fill this void left by the paralyzed formal learning. The various tools that social media offers will be used by tech-savvy teachers to teach their children. Teachers are creating online classes for their students and are attracting students from afar with these tools. The education systems are now inadvertently linked to social media and various online tools. Lectures can now be done and hosted on Facebook live, on WebinarJam, on Skype, and even on Zoom. Students now learn in the comfort of their homes. Education is now accessible from afar.
Therefore, I can safely say social media sites that enable free calls, both voice, and video. Students can send documents remotely via email or even WhatsApp. These tools will enhance continuous learning even in the face of the covid19 adversity.
Concurrently, teachers must ensure that there is a high level of safety and security. The security awareness will protect learners who may be minor, from being pried upon by cyberbullies and cybercriminals, who lure learners into harmful activities. I will post, after this article, an article on the safe ways to use social media for learners.
How to use Social Media As a Learning Tool
It is clear that today’s learners are tech-savvy, and they use most of their time on social media. I would see all my students on their phones and sometimes got frustrated by it. I now see things differently. A teacher should thus make use of such closeness to media to enhance their students.
I once asked a student who was his best teacher, and he quickly picked out the one whose online presence was unique. You can be that teacher if you use social media to interact with your learners.
Start a Facebook group and page for the class.
Creating groups and Facebook pages will bring you closer to your class. One such platform is https://www.facebook.com/geographyexams/, which brings geography learners into the digital world. There are many WhatsApp groups for this educational process. Use the following methods to keep your students ahead.
- Make your students free y sharing educational jokes.
- Create events that attract your students, such as this one https://www.facebook.com/events/640107906836727/, which is on the Geography Laboratory social media page.
- Post notes, assignments, instructions and other educational details
- Allow students to post links to other resources to make them feel free.
- Brainstorm discussion ideas with your students
- Accept and answer questions from students.
Use blogging for students’ homework assignments.
Teach your students to start mini-blogs where they share data, books, reviews, and links. Ask your students to collaborate. Make their blogs to compete. Create your blog that you link to all their blogs. You can use these blogs to post information, discussion ideas, and comments. You can post updates of lectures for future reference.
Tweet for classroom fun
Twitter is famous for its hashtags. Create hashtags for your class and let your students follow it. Link your twitter account to different academic accounts. Start Twitter’s theoretical debates. So you need to embrace Twitter in your teaching methods.
- Pin for interest on Pinterest for pinning educational resources.
You can easily organize your academic resources on this Pinterest platform. You just need to pin all your educational resources on the Pinterest platform. Your students can use it as a search engine for support in different categories.
Embrace video lessons with YouTube.
You can use YouTube to share your educational lectures and other video resources. You will record your lessons, edit them, configure them, and share them on your YouTube channel. After that, send these lessons into your learners’ discussion groups. You can also encourage your learners to search for other educational videos on YouTube.
The article above may have given you a new ideology on how you can benefit from social media academically. All teachers need to embrace this new phenomenon. They need to sacrifice some of their time to create useful social media concepts that will benefit their students. Learners also need to embrace social media in a meaningful and valuable way. Parents need to encourage their students to use social media. Therefore, in this era of covid19, everyone must embrace online remote learning for continuity. There is a need for more considerable efforts on all parts by all stakeholders to ensure the seamless use of social media in education. I will write another article on how to protect students who use social media from cybercrime, cyberbullies, and other harmful aspects.