Now that I have discussed all the advantages and opportunities social media can have in the classroom, I will now present the other side of the argument — the disadvantages. With todays ongoing debate about the use of social media in classrooms, finding a middle ground has become a challenge. Social media as an education tool enriches the learning experience by allowing professors and students to interact, collaborate and network. There are hundreds of sites such as Facebook, Edomodo, Twitter and LinkedIn where students are able to exchange ideas and encourage discussion while finding answers to their questions. Despite all these benefits, professors are still hesitant about using these tools in the classroom. Below are a few cons I have found while doing research on this topic that I felt were the most relevant.
- Distraction- a very common complaint among educators is the distraction these tools can have on students. Students often use these tools as ways to distract themselves from schoolwork so professors believe that by inviting students to use them in the classroom will just distract them from lectures and assignments.
- Cyber bullying- using these social media sites in the classroom can be a weapon for malicious behavior. Many studies done have found that college students admit to being harassed via these sites. Professors using these tools as a part of their course activities need to be aware of the dangers of cyber bullying and constantly monitor these sites when suing them in the classroom to prevent this type of activity. Also, many of these sites have privacy settings that can be installed to professors should use these settings to also prevent this type of behavior from occurring.
- Discouraging face-to-face communication- this is probably one of the most important disadvantages I came across when evaluating this topic. Using social media has been a concern to many educators mainly because it discourages face-to-face interactions in the classroom. Students are missing real-life valuable lessons in social skills and students who are uncomfortable expressing themselves face-to-face will use these sites and never be able to develop these very important skills.
This debate is definitely an important one to consider and one that should not be taken lightly. It is important for universities to fully understand both sides of the argument and find safe and useful ways to incorporate social media in classrooms in order to get the most out of these tools. I definitely believe using these tools encourages collaboration, but they need to be used correctly in order to be successful in the classroom! What do you think?
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