A new concept has come to light in recent times, that concept has now been given a name: EduSoMedia (education through social media). For many educators, social media is still virgin territory, a phenomenon best confined to the disgruntled teenager as a means of alleviating the stresses of adolescent life. For others, it has become an empowering tool for productivity and effective learning. In order to understand just how effective social media can be in the classroom, let’s take a look at what social media is at its core.
What is Social Media?
Wikipedia defines social media as “the social interaction among people in which they create, share or exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks.” While it is difficult to define such a broad and ever-changing concept, at its core, this definition rings true. On closer inspection, this gives us a clear indication of just how relative it is to the field of education. Creating, sharing and exchanging ideas and information is essentially what educators try to facilitate every day within a classroom situation. “More hands make for lighter work”…“Two heads are better than one”…“The more the merrier”… We are all familiar with the benefits of pair and group work, so what about the benefits of interacting as a virtual community? It has been proven that positive group experiences contribute to student learning, retention and overall academic success. So if the team-based path is the right one, why aren’t we using the most efficient, accessible, free, familiar, and (importantly) ‘cool’ tool on the market?
Safe Environment for Learning: Fishtree Social Stream
There are many reasons why teachers tend to rush in the opposite direction when it comes to using social media: the safety reasons, the difficulty to monitor activity, the idea of the social network as a youngster’s secret realm that must not be entered by any one other than a ‘tween’… This is perhaps what makes a management system like that of Fishtree so appealing. Using Fishtree’s social stream feature, I can create, share and exchange with my students, along with the added bonus of being able to monitor their activity and progress effectively. Acting as a connected community, the class can interact productively, showing them a completely different side to the virtual world they are so accustomed to. The students and I can share resources with one another, comment, message, and ‘like’ at will, all of which makes the engaging and interacting process all the more exciting for everyone involved. This easy-to-use and safe application involves me in the students learning and progress, with the added bonus of the fun factor!
Embrace the change!
For those educators still reluctant to embrace the age of EduSoMedia, Fishtree’s social stream is a great place to start. We have already seen social media bring about radical change by revolutionizing the way we interact and consume content, so why not use it to revolutionize education as we know it?
Give it a try, Fishtree is FREE for 30 days!
About the author:
Lorna Keane is a teacher of French, English and ESL. She specializes in language teaching and has taught in second and third-level institutions in several countries. She holds a B.A in languages and cultural studies and an M.A in French literature, theory and visual culture. Subscribe to her blog or follow her on Twitter.
P.S. Whether working with students in the classroom, or students in flipped and blended learning environments, at home, in schools, or on mobile devices, Fishtree provides the tools 21st century teachers and students need to improve outcomes. Whatever your role in education, Fishtree is ready to support your success!