Let’s be honest, teens do not have the best attention span. They see a tweet or picture uploaded and you lose their attention for an hour or so. They can focus and do well but only if they see importance of if it is slightly entertaining. Social networks are not all bad though. They are mainly for entertainment and to keep up with people but they can be used to benefit students.
So how exactly can something that takes their attention away from work, bring their attention back to work? There are a plethora of benefits we may not see right away. Let’s start with Facebook. People all day post statuses about their random thoughts and post pictures of random moments. What if the statuses were used to post about discussions or homework assignments? What if pictures uploaded showed projects or project ideas? Groups have become very common and people are starting to make groups from their classes. When people are absent, they can see what post(s) have been made on the group page and see what they have missed. If someone is confused, they can seek help on the group page from fellow students.
Students sometimes tend to understand better from another student so hearing from a student on an application they are familiar with, will increase their chance of understanding. A new part that has been added on the site is webcam. Explaining things through the phone or text has difficulty sometimes. Being able to see someone explain while being able to see the material can make the explanation and understanding more possible. It also creates a bond with all of the students outside of the classroom. The class will work faster and more united if more people are comfortable together.
Twitter probably just seems like a site where teens can post random lyrics and thoughts. In most cases, those are the kinds of posts you will see but that does not mean that the post variety can not be spread. People are starting to tweet about homework assignments and whether they are confused or not. Sometimes people can not text or do not want to give out their number to so many people, contact them through a tweet then. You can also tweet links to various people on help for an assignment.
Instagram can become more than just pictures of food and outfits. Students can take pictures of their projects or project ideas and ask for comments and advice. Youtube can be a place where students give advice and tutorials on homework and classes. Whether it shows an example project or how to work out a math problem.
How dependent students are on social media can not really be stopped; however, it can be supported and it can be developed into something more. Give them ideas on how to branch out to other students and build on what they learn in the classroom. Technology will continue to grow and so will our dependence on it. Instead of fighting it, we should find ways to benefit from it. Kids from earlier generations are becoming more and more familiar with technology, it is a part of their world. So give them a way to use it in an educational manner.