Social Media in Education

Compative Conversation

Facebook vs. Twitter

To many people, social media and education don't obviously mix, but knowing that such a high percentage of people, youth especially, use social media, making it an educational tool is a natural fit.

These social media are so similar, they actually allow you to click a button and share posts between the two. They both have the same ability for users to quickly post thoughts and information. So both are good for time sensitive information sharing.

Though both sites have similar settings, the two sites are formatted differently.
Twitter's interface makes it more useful for focused interaction. In other words, are on twitter and when viewing someones tweets, you see that, not a bunch of other information about the account holder. Therefore, twitter users are more focused on events of a person/group. The navigation areas are small and more subtle than in Facebook. The peripheral information is more attune to Twitter as a whole, not specifically things related to the account holder.
Facebook's interface shows you a lot more content and has more obvious navigation areas. A big part of this expanded content is advertisement but also one can learn a lot about the account holder simply by looking at their main page. Everything from friends, to interests to recent activities is directly in your line of sight on Facebook.

How would I use them?

Different social media have different ideal applications to learning.

If I had a class Facebook page, I would use it as a tool to facilitate collaboration. Given that students are on Facebook a lot, they are already familiar with how it works. The assignment would be a digital poster project on a new topic, where the students pick a specific topic in broad subject. Students would post the specific topic they want to do the project on. Students would use the discussion board posts to partner up with someone who wants to work on the same topic. Students would have a few days to work on the project, but I would use Facebook to hold the students accountable by asking students to post different things that show progress on the research and final project. It would be brilliant because Facebook would create motivation for the students to work on or think about their school work at home.

If I used Twitter with my classes, I would use it to keep them up to date on things of course, but since students would have their own accounts, they could contribute to posting things also. I would have certain nights of the week be a Tweet Your Brains Out nights. On these nights, students would have to do a post telling something major they learned that week with a certain hashtag. Other students would get extra credit for replying to the post with a related thought or extension to it. This would be a great way to use social media to make learning an all the time thing.