Last fall, Australia’s Griffith University jumped on the social media bandwagon by making a class on Twitter a mandatory requirement for journalism students. University officials noted the importance of social media in terms of potential employment opportunities and the role that “tweets” played in global events like the Iran elections. Students, on the other hand, had mixed feelings. A number of the more vocal ones did not see the importance of microblogging and protested its usefulness loudly. The act did little to sway officials who felt that some student “tweets” lacked substance but that there was value in the message.
Mike Ice of Louisville, Kentucky’s Dunn Elementary teaches his second graders the value of microblogging by having them pull out their notebooks and write descriptions of their activities in 140 characters or less. He then selects a few of the better writers to type their descriptions onto the classroom’s Twitter page as a way of updating parents on the day’s happening.
Posting in real time allows his students to connect with their mothers and fathers in a personal way. Instead of waiting to come home from school to announce their achievements, the second graders can “tweet” about it as they happen. Twitter, although heavily debated, has been accepted as a classroom educational tool and written into curriculums around the world.
OnlineCollege wrote an article titled, 100 Ways You Should Be Using Facebook in Your Classroom as a way of encouraging professionals and students to communicate creatively and to incorporate social media into their personal, professional, and academic lives. From following news feeds to bringing literature to life, Facebook provides ample opportunity to learn and grow educationally.
Social media networking is advantageous in educational environments for a number of reasons. Schools and universities looking to embrace change and ride the wave into the future find that marketing to potential students is easier when you have a Facebook page or Twitter account. It is also easier to encourage student to student interaction via the web. With instantaneous messaging devices and a world full of information at their disposable, future generations of learners are unstoppable.