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Social networking sites are a lot more than a platform for staying connected with friends and family. Social media gives us the opportunity to reach out and make a difference not just to people you know but to the world. As an educator, I have used the social media platforms to reach out to students across the world. But before you decide on how you want to use it, and how effectively you should use it, here are a few points to keep in mind.

The advantages:

  • You need to develop important social media skills required in today’s world
  • You need to prepare students for the world of social media
  • Social media gives opportunity to give feedback to individual students
  • It is an easy way to communicate and connect with parents
  • It is useful for gathering and sharing resources
  • It helps give a shy student a voice

The last advantage is extremely important as shy students in class hardly get to voice their opinions, ask questions or state points, they do not participate in classroom discussions. They usually just sit in one corner of the class. Such students prefer written communication. Therefore, social media will be the best platform for them to communicate with the rest of the class and teachers.

A few “do’s and don’ts”

  • Do not create personal accounts, stick to classroom accounts
  • Provide the students with resources but make sure that this does not become the only place for resources
  • Do provide students with feedback they require but don’t follow them
  • Do not leave the classroom social media unsupervised but do create a class contract
  • Do teach your students about digital citizenship

PLN or Personal Learning Network helps you grow. Here’s what it does:

  • Connects like-minded teachers
  • Helps find resources beyond the clutches of Google
  • Helps in answering and asking questions

How to improve PLN?

  • Share resources
  • Follow and be followed by others
  • Join chats related to education
  • Share the resources of others
  • Take part in discussions online

Sharing resources

A school’s account on social media is extremely effective and sharing resources as a school account is powerful. These accounts are also popular. These accounts can be used by teachers to share resources with students, give them information on upcoming events, holidays and various other activities. Teachers can also make things interesting by mixing learning with entertainment.

Platforms you can use

Pinterest: You can use this platform to create and share pictorial resources with your students

Twitter: You can carry out classroom discussions on Twitter by posting questions, using unique hash tags, Historicaltweets.com can be used to discuss and research about a topic or a person, etc.

Facebook: This is the most popular platform you can use. You can create groups to share resources, create assignments designed like events, etc.

I believe, that with social media, you can help your students a lot in an interactive, fun and enthusiastic manner. Social media in classrooms should be introduced for the benefit of students and teachers.

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Although experts and a lot of educators are calling this present age the era of digital technology, many students are still unaware of the prime resources that can make them learn beyond classrooms. Well, learning through social media has achieved utmost importance in the recent years, and the new age learners have started applying this concept to achieve success and recognition in their careers.

Students and working professionals who aim to venture into social learning are required to keep three key elements in mind:

  1. A community full of life and vivacity
  2. A platform enriched in technology
  3. Content that ensures quality

Importance of a vibrant community

It’s not surprising that people out of curiosity keep visiting social platforms on a regular basis. However, the majority of them would never return if they find these platforms devoid of relevant information. So, what it means that these social platforms must have something that would keep them engaged for a good long time. So, your social community must be absolutely vibrant and then only you will be surrounded with experts and scholars who would be responding to your queries and suggestions.

Why need a technologically enriched platform?

A platform enriched in technology is essential since it will be perceived as a place for arresting the interaction initiated by the organisation. Moreover, you might have to access it almost daily at work to add interesting content for your viewers who would thereafter be compelled to return.

Content should be good enough to allure visitors      

If you want to learn by taking help of social media, you must start organising your platform with quality content. To be precise, the content should have business value and must sound interesting to the audience. On doing so, your visitors will be pleased to access technically enriched or business-based content and might therefore offer you similar stuff in return. Most importantly, quality content helps your social platforms gain recognition amongst millions.

How social media can be helpful for blended learners?

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The most amazing aspects about social media are:

  • Social media enhances employee participation in one’s learning process.
  • It becomes easier for learners to stay engaged towards their respective courses because they can reach out their peers and hence get their queries solved in no time.
  • Organisational learning programmes can also be enhanced to a good extent with social media by supporting the concept of transferring knowledge and making behavioural changes
  • Social media plays a key role in identifying the internal experts that consequently enhances the productivity of an organisation

Probably, this is a big reason why students, educators, working professionals and even business executives today depend on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter that give them the opportunity to strengthen their networks on a global basis. Therefore, social media in other words can be called a necessity, especially for those who are about to commence their careers or pursue higher studies for career development. The experts also believe that the impact of relying on social media in online study is surely going to strengthen with time.