The education process has changed dramatically over the past few decades. With the introduction of the Internet, the search and sharing of information have become easier, yet more complex. Particular rules have to be followed to ensure the sources are credible and meaningful. The use of social media presents a specific interest, as the talks circulate the society on whether it is a useful platform for education. Services like Twitter and Facebook are still viewed mainly as means for sharing personal information, despite many companies using them for promoting their business. Social media should become a part of the learning process since it is evident that it helps to enhance education by providing the means to share, receive feedback and use academic works in a way the traditional learning cannot offer. (claim of value)
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- Firstly, social media gives students a chance to share their work like as other system does. It results in a positive trend regarding participation in learning.
- Students are more interested in doing the work when they know it can be seen not only by their teacher but also by their classmates and followers. (logos) They may use various skills for a project to be unique and outstanding so that the audience would like it. While Facebook and Twitter are also the platforms for expressing personal thoughts and experience, it might be a good chance of showing how a student is passionate about the course and how it fits into his or her worldview.
- Social media usage leads to an increased level of student engagement which lies beyond school assignments. Evans provided the research results in his article, which concluded that “students who used Twitter more were more likely to indicate that they engaged in university-associated activities” (913). (ethos) It proves that Twitter and other platforms extend the learning process, making scholars willing to share their thoughts on discussed topics and events. The constant interest in a course may help to acquire a better understanding of a subject and keep the knowledge lasting.
- Using personal accounts stimulates students to behave more responsibly to what they post (Silver 449). It becomes necessary not only to provide a link to a piece of work but also to present it properly. This concept may become a source for creating a unique platform for scholarly discussions, where thoughts and opinions are properly structured and supported by evidence. These discussions can also give benefits to teachers who may use them as arguments for their class lectures.
- Secondly, Facebook and Twitter help provide feedback for projects and assignments. While a classroom discussion has limited time, everyone can leave an opinion on social networks.
- The impact of classmates’ feedback is evidenced as high. List et al. claim that it may become one of the final reasons for a student to stay in a university (99). (ethos) Social media’s ability to offer a fast and adequate response to a posted material may encourage students to keep working on a subject in the future. Even if a teacher recognizes the work merely as partially successful, the classmates’ feedback may present an opposite opinion. This is a valuable experience that may help to understand that society does not have a single thought on a topic. (pathos)
- Receiving feedback on a project before the class discussion may result in a higher level of attendance. Students will be more encouraged with the upcoming class if they know their work receives many positive peer reviews. Not only do these reviews create confidence about the consistency of a project, but they also show that the author’s approach and thoughts are valued and shared. (pathos) Besides, the social media feedback takes away the initial fear of the project’s reception in the classroom.
- Social media may be useful in receiving feedback from a teacher as well. While the final review is usually made in class, Facebook may give an option of quick dialogues, where students ask questions about the project requirements they did not understand in class. Seaman and Tinti-Kane have conducted research, which shows that “more than 55 percent of faculty make professional use of social media outside the classes they teach on at least a monthly basis” (7). This may be a great opportunity for getting feedback since Facebook is more suitable for short messages than, for instance, e-mail services. (ethos, logos)
- Social media is a valuable source for networking. Whether it is an internal class community or a wider collaboration between universities, Facebook and Twitter may become a unique database of academic achievements.
- It is not always possible to attend educational meetings that take place in other cities or even countries. That is where the social networks play a role of a unifying force. Scholars from all over the world can trace these events via Facebook and Twitter. Various hashtags may give access to all the material linked to the subject. It is especially valuable to students who have chosen distance learning as their study method.
- A single class or course networks also show good results in the learning process. List et al. claim that the researched freshman networks “linked social interaction and theoretical discussion to course content and create positively influenced the students’ first year experience” (101). Seeing the number of scholars researching the same subject may be encouraging, and their thoughts may prove to be valuable for future research or the development of personal opinions.
- Finally, with education being the preparatory step towards the future career, social networks may become a database of a candidate’s achievements and experience for a potential employer.
- Nowadays more and more companies ask for a candidate’s social profile to evaluate his or her traits and competencies. If a former student has led, for instance, the Facebook page with submitting academic coursework results to it, this page may serve as a type of an extended CV. The proper language and the ability to give grounded feedback and lead a discussion may give a candidate extra points, especially if the future work is connected to customer service. (logos)
- The general attitude towards companies using social profiles for measuring candidates’ competencies has changed in recent years. Silver tells that nowadays he encourages his students to use Facebook and Twitter, for other people will find their achievements (450). (ethos) Different media types may feature videos of presentations, tapes of readings, or links to the published works. All of these elements speak better than several lines in the CV.
- Finally, students can search for work through Facebook and Twitter. If they are a part of an academic community, which was mentioned above, they may trace the career path of other students, which took the same subject. While most of the programs nowadays are still mainly conservative and bound to classrooms, it is not always possible to predict how particular courses will benefit students in their future careers. The social networks can make the learning process more applicable to work realities. (logos).
The idea of using social networks for studying is not supported by everyone to the same extent. For instance, there is an opinion that Facebook distracts students from the learning process in class (ethical fallacy). While they surf the Internet pages and check the latest statuses of their friends, scholars can miss the information from an instructor. This may lead to academic problems in the future, especially in the science field, where reading and memorizing are not enough to succeed (fallacy, not enough proof).
While this is partially true, it is important to focus on the benefits of social networking and to keep in mind that these matters should always be regulated in class. Besides, some majors like Journalism or International Relations, for instance, require the discussion of the current events which take place in the world. Several mass media profiles on Twitter may provide links to those events, thus allowing discussing them on the spot.
The analysis of all the evidence presented above proves that social networks are useful when applied to the learning process. They should become an essential part of education since they provide opportunities for sharing works and creating academic networks not available to the conservative approach. (restated thesis) Services like Twitter and Facebook will support and develop education in the nearest future.
Evans, Chris. “Twitter for teaching: Can social media be used to enhance the process of learning?” British Journal of Educational Technology, vol. 45, no. 5, 2014, pp. 902-915.
List, Sarah H, Jane Warland and Coleen Smith. “The Challenges of Creating an Online Undergraduate Community of Practice.” Impact of Social and Mobile Media and Networks on Learning Environments in Higher Education. Ed. Patrick Blessinger. Emerald Group Publishing Ltd, 2013. pp. 99-112.
Seaman, Jeff and Hester Tinti-Kane. Social Media for Teaching and Learning. Pearson, 2013.
Silver, David. “Twitter Meets the Breakfast Club.” Perspectives on Argument. 8th ed. Eds. Nancy V. Wood and James S. Miller. Pearson, 2015. pp. 498-500.