Students are on social media in large numbers today. Although you may be tempted to think it’s all emoji’s and party pictures, it’s actually a lot more than that.
The way young people are connected today is unlike anything the previous generations have experienced. Not since the invention of the telephone has one tool allowed us to participate as a group from great distances.
Social media provides a lot of opportunities for learning and growth beyond just connecting you to your friends. Although the social interaction is often used as the main purpose of a platform, its deeper involvement in our lives has allowed us to better ourselves with the technology.
Here are several ways that social media can help students reach their full potential.
Keep Them Organized
Staying organized has long been a hallmark of a great student, and yet so many have trouble in this capacity. The difficulty today is even greater as more and more lessons are digitized. Where being organized was just a matter of keeping books together, and print-outs in a binder, today’s student has more sources of information available in more places.
Social bookmarking sites have helped ease this burden. Information that is discovered or shared socially, either individually or in a group, can now be centralized. Cloud computing and shared Dropboxes and YouTube allows the audio-visual material to be stored, organized and shared, leaving students to focus on gathering and analyzing.
Social media’s biggest benefit is the connection we have to each other. Students in a study group in the same class have the same advantage as a group formed from across the globe. Distance and time are no longer a hindrance to learning.
Shared Facebook groups and other social media pages have allowed students to organize and participate in a way that was not possible before. Tackling problems, research projects, and building presentations has all become much easier in this social age. It has allowed students to collaborate and spend time on the ideas behind the project.
More than ever social media is turning into a resource for students. Students are now encouraged to use social media for research. Want to learn more about radio frequencies? Look no further than radio frequency enthusiast clubs and pages. Everything from RC clubs to ham radio operators is now accessible with the click of a button.
Not only can you access shared information, but you can access businesses and individuals like never before. Have a question about a product a company makes? Perhaps research someone has done? You can now directly reach most of these people and actually expect a response.
No longer is poverty as large of a barrier to accessing people and resources. On the internet, we’re all equals. All that’s required is access to a connected device like a cell phone or computer.
Not everyone can afford these devices, but most schools and libraries have some type of computer lab that everyone can access. No longer does it depend on your parents having access to encyclopedias, or the time to get you to and from a library that is some distance away.
Social media allows all people, regardless of background, to access and communicate with all other people on an equal level.
Reading and Writing
There is no doubt that writing in short form almost makes some social media communication appear to be from another planet! However, there is mounting evidence that social media helps improve literacy.
In order to use social media, you need to have a basic command of the language. You won’t get very far if you don’t. In previous generations, as long as you could speak, you could communicate. That’s not true these days.
Historical literacy rates have been dropping for decades. It’s hard to tell exactly how much of the future literacy rate will be impacted by social media, but so far the signs are positive.
Exposure to New Ideas
No longer are students bound by the walls of the school, or the road of their town. They are only limited by the reach of the internet itself.
With so many people on social media, you’re bound to hear new ideas and new viewpoints from all walks of life. You can now reach out and talk with people in a different country rather than just relying on your television to show you pictures and filtered perceptions of a far-off land.
Social media allows students to put crazy new ideas out there, and get feedback on them. Suddenly the impossible seems a lot more possible.
Teenage movies built around the angst of being different defined kids that grew up in the 80’s and early 90’s. No longer do you need to feel like a sole survivor. With social media, you can reach out to people who share your interests.
This can help students see the value of a college education. They can explore campus and college life through the feeds of those attending class already. They can take their interest in marine life and find others that are exploring it too. They can show their art to those that will appreciate it.
Social media can help a student feel less alone and help them unlock what they might otherwise be hiding from view.
Discovery of Passion
Students are no longer just looking to just get a career and survive. They’re looking for a way to enjoy life. To figure out who they are. To be happy.
Social media is a fantastic way to find your passion. With so many experiences being shared, you can take a look into almost any profession or hobby and get to know it better than you could by simply reading a book. You can interact with it now.
No longer are students stuck wondering what’s out there – they can look for it themselves. Easily. Cheaply. And on their own schedule.
What books and film have done previously to expand the knowledge of humanity, social media is accomplishing today. It’s almost hard to believe the world got along without it just over a decade ago.
In a connected world, social media does a lot to bring people together outside of our education system and truly explore and learn in a way that they may not even realize they’re doing.
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