By: Meghan Mathias
There is a lot of discourse about the dangers of social media and how these apps may be negatively affecting young kids. However, it is also important to highlight the aspects of social media that can be beneficial for everyone, especially young kids.
According to the University of Arizona, the collaborative environment and self-directed learning promoted on social media, along with the quick-paced information sharing it facilitates, can accelerate development of communication skills, creativity, and critical thinking skills. There has been a noticeable spike in social media being used as a learning tool in recent years, namely in the form of Instagram infographics. Spanning a wide range of global topics, people have begun using Instagram posts as a way to wrap up sometimes overwhelming or hard to understand information into swipe-able, digestible, and aesthetically pleasing little packages that often go viral. These infographics have been known to explain complex discussions on race, the Isreali-Palestinian conflict, climate change, etc.
It would be remiss to not acknowledge that social media can be one of the biggest spreaders of misinformation out there, so fact-checking sources, especially ones as easily manipulated as Instagram infographics, is always smart.
Specific Learning Tools for Educators on Each Social Media
- Twitter: Hashtags to encourage open forum and debate as well as the “For You” tab that acts as a daily global newspaper
- Skype and Zoom: In the time of COVID-19, virtual video-chatting has proven to be an invaluable resource in remote learning and connectivity
- Pinterest: Share creative ideas such as arts and crafts for preschool classes or pin educational resources to use in class
- Youtube: Create and share course content as well as find amazing, free educational videos and channels designed to be showed in classrooms
- Facebook: Start a Facebook group for your students to create community and to share ideas
- What is your favorite form of social media and why?
- Have you ever been scrolling a social media app and unintentionally learned something valuable to your life? What did you learn?
- Would incorporating social media into the classroom make you more engaged with the learning material?
- Do you ever share information that seems important via your social media for your followers to see? Does it make you feel good to spread information in this way?
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