Social Media in the Classroom

In the 21st century, social media has proven itself to be a huge part of the lives of many, especially teenagers and adults. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and many other outlets allow people to give others a glimpse into their lives. It has become a medium for keeping up with celebrities, trends, and old friends. Social media has also become a main source for finding out information from friends. With social media’s ubiquitous nature and its ability to transmit information quickly, many say that teachers should start incorporating social media into the classroom. The question is, is that appropriate? Should a teacher be allowed to friend their students on Facebook or follow them on Twitter. Is it okay if a student sent their teacher a private message asking about homework? Though some may think that this is perfectly fine, I believe that this is not okay.

Social media paints a picture of a person’s private life. School is the professional setting of the teachers and the students. The teachers must maintain a professional setting because, not only are they at their jobs, but they are working with kids. Social media is made for simply being social. Even though a student’s intent may be to just contact a teacher about class work or an upcoming assignment, communication through social media can lead to inappropriate teacher-student relations. There have been many instances in the past where teachers shared illicit pictures with students or commented on student’s personal posts.

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While that may not be the intent, the privacy of the teacher, the student, and those people who they’ve friended is in jeopardy. I do not think that social media should be completely banned in its entirety. There are many websites that allow students to collaborate on assignments, post in educational forums and blog about discussion topics. This is using technology, a platform which students use in their everyday life and can understand to teach them. However when a student and teacher communicate on personal social media outlets, there is potential for abuse Some teachers have created their own creative ways to communicate with their students in a way that they will easily respond to, while still staying appropriate.

One New York teacher created a separate Facebook account for the sole purpose of communicating with her students about class work and upcoming events. If social media is used only for educational purposes and limits are set in place, then using social media in the classroom can be beneficiary and a great educational tool. If it is not controlled then everyone involved is at risk for trouble.