8 considerations for social networks in classrooms

Making the right technology choices is critical for student success, argue professors

social-media-classroomIn recent years, educators have witnessed an unprecedented acceleration of new and innovative technologies. It is not uncommon for educators to have differing opinions about which tools are helpful in their classrooms and which may bring unnecessary complications.

There is perhaps no better example of this disparity of opinion than the views that teachers espouse on using Social Networking Sites (SNSs), such as Facebook or Twitter, in the classroom. Although far less controversy exists in higher education than in K-12, the use of such platforms can still present challenges for students and faculty in college and university settings.

Bringing SNSs into the classroom has the potential to enhance some of the more desired elements of college classroom experiences, such as collaboration, motivation, networking, technology savvy, and expansion of content discussion beyond the classroom walls.

At the same time, SNSs have the potential to bring unwanted elements to the classroom, such as antisocial behavior, unneeded distractions, and inequitable educational opportunities based on socioeconomic and cultural differences.

Although there has been some research to suggest that Facebook can boost confidence for college students, and Facebook has also been positively linked to social adjustment, other research has found possible negative psychological and academic characteristics associated with heavy Facebook usage.

(Next page: Eight considerations when using SNSs in higher ed)