Social media has gained creditability overs the years as a trusted source of information and platform where organizations can interact with the audiences. Many educational institutions in the United Arab Emirates are adapting these developments into their education systems. With the help of Social Media students are able to get more useful information, to connect with the learning groups and other systems.
Social media can prove to be a useful tool when used carefully. It helps to bridge the digital divide among lower-income students as these students may not have the constant access to social media that their counterparts do. Thus many top schools in Ajman, Sharjah, Dubai and Abu Dhabi are taking maximum advantage of Social Media.
A vast amount of knowledge can be gained through social media such as analytics and insights on various topics for study purposes. Students can also use Social Media as a medium to establish beneficial connections for their careers.
Here are some strategies for incorporating social media into classrooms that can engage critical thinking through analysis and engagement-
1. Creating a Facebook Group for Class-
Everyone uses Facebook which is a popular medium to share updates, announcements, news, images, videos, etc. Creating a Facebook group helps teachers and students to share assignments, announcements and reminders about various deadlines. It also creates space for students to ask and answer questions.
Posting videos, photos, documents, and other resources on the group’s wall so that students can access them before class or while working on their assignments makes a Facebook page ideal for teachers as well.
Not only this, but parents can also access the group to monitor what’s going on in the class. Most of the schools in Dubai are already working on leveraging Facebook in the educational sector.
2. Give Blogs as Assignments-
Blogs create great opportunities for students to write and display their writing on a large scale. The traditional way of writing projects can be replaced with blogging. Students can also be asked to illustrate their thoughts with photos or videos.
By making students read each other’s blogs creates a stronger community. Also, students will carefully consider their language, spelling and grammar usage because their content becomes a part of the greater World Wide Web.
3. Pinning Educational Resources-
No matter how much you try to organize your toolbar, there’s still a chance you could lose your resources. Pinterest can prove to be a great platform for organizing educational resources. It can also be used as a Search Engine for browsing educational content. Teachers can share their boards with students so that they expand the knowledge they gain in the classroom.
4. Use Twitter for Bringing Fun in the Classroom-
Twitter’s fun aspect is not necessarily a “bad” thing. You can introduce a hashtag related to a topic explained in the classroom and ask students to discover a fact related to it. You can also encourage students to interact with each other and post their favourite quotes or facts. Ask them to interact with the experts by postings comments and questions.
5. Using YouTube as a virtual classroom concept-
Here’s another way to become the coolest teacher at the school. You can share educational content in video format and expect the students to watch that material on YouTube. And then discuss the lecture in the classroom the next day and make them do their homework in the class.
You can also ask students to create their own material. Again, like blogging, since it will be seen by a much wider audience, students will be focused on giving their best in creating videos thus enjoying the perks of expressing their creativity.
The above-listed tips will, of course, require you to invest your free time. But the efforts you put into social media will yield great results. Eventually, your students will realize how much fun learning can be and you’ll observe an increase in their enthusiasm.