“Social media”, this term reeks of power and influence. You can use it for a myriad of purposes or motives. Entertainment, leisure, recreation, conversations, idea generation, business or trade, anything and everything one can think of can be achieved through this domain. But, one might often forget just how instrumental social media can be for education.
It is very easy to assume that social media is at our disposal only to have fun and connect with friends or family. Over 3.6 billion people worldwide, use social media platforms on a regular basis. Imagine the kind of exposure to information that can be attained with such a massive audience. Even corporate giants use social media for fast business growth. If we consider the fact that social media has a tremendous impact on the way we think and live, we should know that the impact of social media on education can be enormous.
There are numerous ways in which we can use social media for education. The platforms are resourceful for teaching in classrooms as well as in marketing colleges or schools. Social media legitimately makes our lives easier, even in a classroom setting.
13 ways in which you can use social media for education
If you conduct a thorough research, you will find multiple social media tools for education in the market. Students of all age groups can benefit from the use of social media in teaching and learning. Here are ways in which you can use social media for school students:
1. Make a WhatsApp or Facebook group for the entire class
This method is gaining widespread popularity by the day. The best school social network can be created in this manner. The teachers usually take charge of creating a group on WhatsApp or Facebook, wherein they add all the students belonging to a particular class. There are separate groups for parents as well so that they can keep a tab on their child’s educational activities. These platforms are very convenient because they connect the students with their teachers almost instantly. Students can raise doubts by sending voice notes and teachers can send explainer videos.
2. Creating a Facebook page for a class
A great use of Facebook in education is to make a page dedicated specially for the students belonging to a classroom. Instead of putting the teachers and students through the trouble of dealing with the traditional online classrooms, you can arrange something that everyone is familiar with. You can create a Facebook page for a batch and ask all the students to follow it. All the updates, assignments, homework or discussions can be put up on the page.
3. Create your own blog
With the amount of digital services available in the market, you will never run out of options for promoting your material. Blogging is a very popular medium through which individuals share their thoughts and opinions. It is also a great way to educate people on certain topics. Hence, a perfect social media practice for education of your students.
Teachers can create a common class blog on any of the blogging platforms available in the market like WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, or Medium. Students can give blog post ideas and write on them while getting exposed to content that can be linked back to their curriculum.
4. Use Pinterest for creating a batch specific board
Pinterest is a great social media platform as an educational tool. For anybody who has used Pinterest before, he/she would know how interesting it is to create boards and pin content specific to a category. Digital marketing tools of this kind give you a lot of creative liberty. Again, a great method to use social media for education is to create a class specific board on Pinterest. Students can simply pin their ideas time and again on the board to spur discussions or brainstorm ideas. Project specific boards can be made too. This will allow them to have a comprehensive view of the compiled ideas for a specific task or project.
5. Social media as a job- hunting tool
If you have been thinking about how to engage college students on social media, LinkedIn is your platform to go to. It is a potent source for making connections that will take students a long way in their careers. College students can be encouraged to have updated LinkedIn profiles so that they can connect with industry experts as well as recruiters. It will technically act as their digital resumes which can be spotted by employers directly. LinkedIn is also a very good source for career insights in general. So, it is an excellent social media platform for education.
6. Making use of Instagram for visual learning
Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms for creating social buzz. The platform gives a lot of scope for visual representation of content. That is why, one solid viral content marketing strategy here can take an entire niche by storm. Class specific Instagram pages can be created and students can put up stories or series of videos or graphics to explain ideas. These pages can be removed once the course’s tenure ends.
It is indeed a very creative social media platform for education of students.
7. Using video chat tools like Skype
What better way to connect with educators on a global level than Skype? It is a great social media tool for education because it allows for students and teachers to have a one-on-one conversation without having to be physically present in a classroom. Teachers can give a virtual tour of lessons to students without going coming together in a physical space. This is a great way to connect people internationally.
8. Twitter as a class board for updates
We always have message boards or discussion boards in physical classrooms where notices or charts are put up for students. Twitter can be a substitute for that board. One twitter handle can be created per class and teachers can put all updates on that. There is a character limit in tweets, that will make students better with their presentation skills pertaining to communication. Assignment deadlines can be tweeted along with motivational quotes or references to resources that can be of use to students.
Here is how you can use social media for education marketing:
9. Add social media links to the school website
It is likely that all members associated with your school will check the website often for updates or enquires. It is a good idea to put up links to all the social media handles of the school so that students and parents can access them easily. You can create a social media directory on the home page. If you use social media for education campaigns, this is a great way to promote them.
10. Talk about and display school events along with photos
Any prospective student or parent will likely go through the school’s social media pages to get an idea about the campus life. If you highlight all the events that the school organizes along with extracurricular activities, you will attract more students. Your social media marketing strategy will decide the volume of fresh batches that could come in.
11. Create Facebook groups for Alumni
A strong alumni network can be very useful for students in their career span. You can create interest-based Facebook groups to form student communities. It is the best school social network one can have because everyone can keep tabs on each other’s professional lives. The groups formed can be public or private, depending upon your discretion. Social media for education is a blessing in disguise because it will not only help you while you are studying, but also after you graduate and get on with your careers.
12. Develop a crisis communication strategy
Imagine there is an emergency in the campus, and you have to inform more than a thousand people about it at once. How are you going to achieve that? Social media is how you would do it. Social media channels are a very effective way to keep everyone in the loop. So, if there is something that demands immediate attention on campus, you can release it on your social media pages and everyone will find out about it instantly.
13. Manage all accounts effectively
When you represent yourself as an educational institution, you want to translate responsibility and order. For that, you must get your social media marketing in order first. Handling multiple accounts at once can derail your strategy at times and force mishaps to occur. If you want to avoid that, you can use a social media scheduling tool.
A tool like RecurPost will help you organize all your social media marketing activities under a single umbrella. It will help you create, manage, organize and schedule content for multiple social media platforms.
Advantages and disadvantages of social media in education
Advantages of social media
- It gives students a platform for open collaboration
By using social media for education, students get a chance to collaborate openly. They are free to express and present their views or opinions on these platforms. Often, collaboration between tutors and peers is better on social media than in person.
- Higher engagement
Social media is king when it comes to generating engagement. Since students are already familiar with the ever popular platforms like Instagram and Facebook, they would be more comfortable expressing themselves. To have conversations through videos, photos or comments is something they know in and out. Since they will be more interested in learning this way, they will engage more.
Disadvantages of social media
- Easy to get distracted
When social media is used for education, one should know that students face difficulty in maintaining their attention span. Social media platforms are a sea of content. With that kind of exposure, students might get distracted into content that is not academic. However, this also gives you an opportunity to train students on self-management. They will eventually learn how to navigate through distractions and increase their productivity.
- Lack of control
With no physical contact, teachers might find it difficult to control student’s activities. We can say that direct supervision becomes almost impossible. Sometimes students might fail to learn well in such scenarios. The way a student can learn with the direct presence of the tutor is different from what he/she will learn on his/her own.
Social media holds the capacity to make lives as well as destroy them. It is upon us to use it wisely and judiciously. That is why, social media usage for education is the way to go. This domain has become more a part of our routine lives than we even realize. Integrating it into the classroom space was just natural and apparent. Students are highly accustomed to the usage of social media platforms. This makes it easier for them to learn through those. Every platform offers a unique way of representing content, giving you more scope for teaching effectively.
If you take up education via social media platforms, you will probably have to develop a potent social media content strategy. The content will have to be sourced timely and you will have to find ways to present it in a creative manner. Amongst all the hassle of teaching and managing students, social media management can become a handful task.
Thankfully, we have social media scheduling tools like RecurPost to help out. With a tool of this kind, you can schedule your entire curriculum and even split it into categories for better learning. It will allow you to manage your posts, schedule them, source them and design them, all in one place.
Debbie Moran is a Digital marketing strategist with 5+ years of experience producing advertising for brands and helping leaders showcase their brand to the correct audience. She has been a part of RecurPost since 2019 and handles all the activities required to grow our brand’s online presence.