It is noteworthy that there is hardly a student or adult out there that is not a frequent user of the social media, if not an addict and everyone seems to be practically in it for the fun or the connection and networking we seek every blessed day, just like a fix is to a junkie but we fail to realise that the social media can also make a large difference in our institutions of learning if incorporated and learning itself will end up to become something of inestimable standard among all things and at all times.
The social media as interesting as it is has grown to become a thorn in the flesh of most employers since it is seen as a distraction and time waster to most employees at work while students are seen to be the most vulnerable in this track but it is quite undeniable that this “cake of a media thing” is really engaging and warming, some good reasons why it can be a tool of transformation in our educational system if rightly used.
The likes of Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Pocket and Whatsapp to mention a few are tools that aid networking among a group of people with a common interest and if you ask me, education is more than a common interest among students but a path they all trod every day and this is why these tools, if maximized will effectively shape their footsteps towards a definite goal-Success.
Let’s start with Snapchat; this popular photo and video messaging app can engage students with learning materials in real time while teachers and lecturers can encourage questions on and off lectures with this app to bring out the students who are too comfortable with their shells, bet you know what I mean. (I was once there anyway.)
And Facebook, as engaging as Snapchat with more users, has the capability of exposing one’s great works to catalyse recommendations and referrals, something of great importance to those in the research and innovation field. You can post your journals, research, experiments, achievements in the field while tagging your friends, associates, colleagues, partners or co-students in it to build some fun around your labour and as well as motivate others to follow suit.
Pocket is a bookmarking service that allows users to collect and download article links to curate their own online magazines and read up on materials they saved from the internet when they are offline. Users can also follow the curated feeds of other “pocketers”, which means that students can link with professors who have publicly shared relevant links and articles. It saves the hassle of a group email and can be updated instantly.
We all know that using collaborative documents isn’t a new thing, nor is giving peer feedback on assignments. Mixing them together, however, to enable students to give instant feedback on each other’s work, is immensely useful. Google Docs allows tracked editing and comments, which means that students can work in groups in their own time, without having to take part in structured seminars, and the document can be sent to the lecturer for feedback.
Organisational app Wunderlist allows students – and lecturers – to create folders for each module, with notes, due dates, comments, contact lists and, perhaps most crucially, reminders of upcoming deadlines.
What about the almighty Instagram? This image-sharing tool is not just for selfies but can also be harnessed to collect real-time data for coursework. Rather than passively relying on data collected by others, students can engage in their own collection of all kinds of evidence.Instagram also provides an opportunity for collaboration – students can upload, tag, and comment on pictures on each others’ feeds, thus expanding the reach of discussion.
“If you want to learn about a culture, listen to the stories. If you want to change a culture, change the stories”.