Infographic: Social Media in Schools
Social Media in the Classroom. Yea or Nay?
Social media use continues to grow. According to a 2014 Pew Research Center survey, 74 percent of Internet-connected adults use social media sites. A 2015 Pew Survey found that 76 percent of teenagers ages 13 to 17 use social media, with 71 percent using more than one social media site. In schools, social media use has been slowly making inroads, thanks in large part to librarians.
“Social media has become one of the greatest educational tools of all time, and yet, it goes untaught. Why? Fear of the unknown? Lack of value? The time is now for education to instead embrace this form of learning and begin, even in small ways, embedding social media lessons in all classrooms.”
—Don Goble, Multimedia Instructor
Social media use in schools, however, has been controversial. Some educators argue that social media literacy is essential in the twenty-first century. Others argue that social networking sites distract students and further tether them to technology. Students are contributing to the debate as well. In the April 22, 2015, issue of Education Week, high school student Katie Benmar argues that teachers should use social media to enhance learning and engage students.
“I hope that educators will consider experimenting more with technology and social media in their classrooms in a way that will be intellectually challenging to students. Believe me, your students will appreciate it, even if not every attempt is successful.”
–Katie Benmar, High School Student
Educators and students who want to use social media in the classroom face another obstacle: Internet filtering. According to a 2012 American Association of School Librarians survey, Internet filtering blocks social media sites 88 percent of the time, which severely limits educators’ options. Additionally, educators who request approval to bypass Internet filtering have to endure lengthy wait-times.
“The main reason I’d like to try to avoid social media use is a moral one. Kids today are addicted to technology; school can, and should, remain the one safe haven where they can unplug and just be present. Do we really want to give them another reason to be ‘connected?’ ”
–Gail Leicht, Eighth-Grade Language Arts Teacher
Overall, however, social media use in schools is increasing. How quickly will social media be integrated into the classroom? Will the disparate use of social media in schools contribute to the digital divide? Answers to these questions remain to be seen.
Do you think social networking sites have a place in schools? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter @ProQuest or in the comments below.
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