Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Myspace, Friendster, Google+; there are so many social media networks on the web today, and nearly everyone has one – that includes both students and teachers. Many teachers are using these networks to stay connected to their students today in the classroom, whether it is for personal reasons (keeping up with their students lives), or for educational reasons (keeping students updated with assignments and class scheduling). But is using social media networks in the classrooms helping enhance education? Or is it breaking the professional line between students and teachers?
Many teachers set up Facebook or Twitter pages on their own, and many set them up specifically for their classes to follow. Students are often encouraged to friend or follow their teachers on these social media network sites for a number of reasons. Teachers will post links that relate to a particular subject or unit that they may be teaching. They may also post study guides or homework assignments on their website for students to refer to whenever they want. Teachers often make the page just so they can simply be more available to their students, whether they just want to make an appointment or chat with them about an assignment or the class.
I have found that in all of my classes where teachers use some form of social media networking, it has been extremely helpful in the educational aspect of the class. Teachers create notes or posts to keep students up to date on the academic calendar for the class, so they can know when homework assignments are due and when there are upcoming tests or big assignments. I have found it extremely helpful to be able to better connect with teachers and to be able to chat with them whenever it is convenient for me. We all know that email is not the most reliable source today, simply because people often forget to check it daily. But honestly, who forgets to check their Facebook or Twitter?
For the purpose of staying connected with students, and being able to keep students up to date on assignments and the class calendar, I think that, as long as it does not cross a personal line, it is an excellent idea for teachers to have a social media network account. All students have one, so it is the best way for teachers to stay connected.