Why You Should be Using Social Media as a Teaching Tool

Kids on Phones: Why You Should be Using Social Media as a Teaching Tool
Contributed By

Dylan Rodgers

Content Strategy Manager and Editor in Chief of the Schoology Exchange

Why You Should be Using Social Media as a Teaching Tool

Posted in Evolving Ed | April 25, 2018

Education has a love-hate relationship with social media. Despite the technology's prevalence in our every day, a phenomenon that's only magnified in younger generations, the debate on whether or not to incorporate social media into the classroom is alive and well.

Well, we thought we'd ask an expert on the subject to get her thoughts. Below is a snippet of an interview with Dr. Ai Addyson-Zhang, Associate Professor of Communication Studies and digital learning consultant. She's a big advocate of using social media in the classroom to both engage students and also teach them best practices and professional uses.

One note is that we had a little issue with the connection, so Director of Instructional Strategy Kelly Ady, the interviewer, has no video. Nevertheless the conversation is worth a listen.

Why You Should be Using Social Media as a Teaching Tool

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Full Video Transcript

Kellie Ady:  You're an associate professor of communication studies. You host a Facebook Live show. You teach a fully-online course from around the world. Much of the focus has to do with using social media in the classroom. So, why social media? Why is that such an important instructional tool?

Dr. Ai Addyson-Zhang:  Yes. I thank you for asking, Kellie. That is such a great question, and I am an advocate of using social media in the classroom as a way to enhance student engagement, and teaching and learning outcomes, for a few specific reasons.

And the first reason is a paradigm shift in education. Social media and technology has become really popular in the past several years, but if you look at education, the model a few decades ago, students are sitting in the classroom, they're listening to a teacher to talk, to lecture, and I think that model is changing. It's being disrupted.

So the new model, our students are moving away from learning in that traditional space to become digital learners. And what I mean by digital learners is that students prefer social media first and they prefer to engage in self-paced, self-directed, learning. They want to learn everywhere and anywhere. Learning not only from one teacher, or one class, or one school, but learning from the global classroom, the global environment, from many other teachers and even from their peers. You know? Not one teacher disseminating information to a class, but to co-creation, to co-creating content between teachers and students and peers inside the classroom and outside the classroom.

So, social media, because it is open, it is happening all the time, it's 24/7, it is collaborative, it is interactive. So this really aligns well with the paradigm shift in education. So that is one reason.

And another example is, if you look at Khan Academy. I don't know how many of you are familiar with Khan Academy. It is kind of a digital learning platform where students are watching videos at home and then, when they come to classes, they are now to actually sit in the classroom and listening to the teacher talk, but they come to class to engage in discussions with teachers and their peers. So, teachers, in a way, are transitioning from being a teacher to more a coach or facilitator. Instead of being the owner of knowledge, our teachers are becoming facilitators of knowledge co-creation between the students and the information they consume online.

Even my own Facebook show. I call my show Classroom without Walls, and that's how I envision the future of education, which is not confined by the physical classroom walls. Students can learn from anyone and anywhere. As teachers and students, I think we really need to embrace this philosophy of becoming life-long students. I think regardless if you are a teacher or a student, we are both teachers and students for the rest of our lives, and social media and technology, because their open nature and so much free information available, and I think a lot of those are the reasons why I'm an advocate of this and I embrace this as my primary pedagogical approach.


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