Social Media in Education

Creating Learning Communities through Social Networking

Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter - Does it really matter?

With the proliferation of social media and the call to include them into the educational experience of students whose lives revolve around them, teachers may feel compelled to engage their class in social media and wonder, "Which site should I use ?" My answer to this question is, "Well, what are you trying to accomplish?"

For the purpose of this post, let's look at three well-known social media sites: Facebook, Google Plus, and Twitter.

What do they have in common?

  • They are voluntary networks that exist for explicit purposes.
  • They serve as agents of quick information dissemination.
  • They use distinct methods of getting information to many people: Likes, 1+, Retweet
  • They provide an abundance of information dependent on who you are befriending, keeping in your circles, or are following.
  • They tend to create a sense of community within friends, circles, and hashtags.

What is different?

Application

Establishing a class Facebook page enables building a learning community.

Classroom tasks might be completed on that page, but the page would mainly serve as a significant communication tool between the teacher and learners because many learners are already on Facebook and are checking statuses frequently.

Google Plus serves a very similar purpose as Facebook. The lack of advertising on Google Plus might make it a better choice through which communication tasks within a class are accomplished. An established circle, could, for example, respond to comprehension and application prompts while reading a book. Students could also be asked to respond to each others' posts. It is important to keep in mind that students may not be in a habit of checking Google Plus statuses as they are with Facebook.

Using Twitter allows students to reach out to the greater community. Through the use of hashtags, students can obtain expert input on any subject. This is a great tool for research and getting expert opinions.