What comes to mind when you hear the phrase “social media?” Is it an image of a rowdy teenager sneaking onto Facebook in the library, or is it of a group of students hovered around a laptop exploring YouTube? Despite what most people may think, social media doesn’t just refer to playing on Facebook and YouTube; it is a new form of communication that can be very useful to a student’s education and one that teachers should embrace.
“I think it’s important that students know as much as they can about this new way of communication,” says Howell High School Digital Arts teacher John Mozdzierz.
Mozdzierz strives to teach his students responsibility towards social media. It’s important that kids know how to be safe when spreading information on the Internet and how to guard what they say – social media could influence what job a person gets and what college they are accepted to based on what they reveal online. Ultimately, if they aren’t careful, what they put online could prevent them from getting a job.
“Social media has both positive and negative impacts,” explains sophomore Eric Kraus. “It appears that many kids would rather be on Facebook or Twitter than doing their homework. On the other side, though, it allows a broader communication with others, allowing the possibility of being able to work on, say a project, without having to meet up somewhere. Social media can be positive or negative depending on the way it is used.”
Social Media isn’t only the Internet; it also includes sources such as magazines, podcasts, videos and even photographs. Many teachers in HHS have warmed up to using social media in their classrooms. Mr. Aaron Metz uses social media in his TV Production class. Mrs. Mary Villarreal records the notes and chapter reviews for Algebra II on YouTube. Social media has become a helpful resource for many classes.
“People can use today’s technology, including Facebook and Twitter, to study and get assignments,” says Keith Hutchins, sophomore at HHS. “If I’m behind in a class, I ask them to explain it to me and I get it.”
Besides educational values, social media also helps make class more fun for the student. For example, in Ms. Dawn Webster’s World Literature class, the students set up a Facebook page for the class and communicate between each other, topics ranging from homework to sharing essays. The availability of social media helps strengthen the bonds between both the students and the teacher.
Social media helps relate the student to the real world. Many occupations are using the social media resources to increase their job efficiency. Police workers are using a new social media to track down certain people, using the new tool to catch the bad guy.
Social media isn’t something to be avoided, rather, it should be embraced, to increase the efficiency of classrooms and to also increase the student’s willingness to learn. As technology changes, so should the way education is taught.
“The impact of social media,” says Mr. Mozdzierz, “is that students will be able to have a better understanding of safety and proper communication. They will see the difference between being uninhibited in what they say verses being careful. Social media will help students learn to be responsible.”