It’s really a great time to be a student.
Just a few short years ago, a teacher would scold you if you were playing a video game or updating your status on your favorite social media site in class.
Now, video games, social media and blogging are being implemented in some schools’ lesson plans. According to a paper recently released by the Brookings Institution these tools are improving a student’s ability to learn, and also a teacher’s ability to teach.
According to the report, the direct and unfiltered communication processes used in these newer forms of media are curating greater learning between students. In other words, classroom learning is not just a top-down communication process anymore.
Researchers are finding that students can learn just as much, if not more, from peer interaction using blogs, social media and video games.
Social media is allowing teachers to expand the classroom outside of the physical walls.
Video games are being used to teach applications of math and science.
I know I would have done a lot better in high school biology learning parts of the body if I would have learned through an interactive video game!
lthough adopting social media on the college level is on the rise, some kinks still need to be worked out before it is adopted on a wider scale. Here is a great read from journalism professor Dave Copeland who recently adopted social media practices in his classrooms.
He believes that there are some really good applications for social media in classrooms and some not-so-good ones. But he ultimately believes that education benefits from the free flow of communication that social media can provide.
The applications of video games in the classroom is also an interesting dynamic. My mother would have been appalled at the idea of playing video games at school.
Although I remember playing Oregon Trail on an original Apple computer in elementary school, (I just dated myself) my primary schooling didn’t involve video gaming as a specific tool. Here is a video about how a 7th grade classroom is using the Sims to aid in the learning process.
Although none of my college courses throughout my life have adopted video games as a learning tool, some of my courses at Eastern Michigan University have adopted social media.
These courses have been some of the best I’ve ever taken. Personally, I feel like the interaction outside of the classroom makes it easier to focus on concepts when the classrooms meet.
Discussing these concepts with people outside of the class makes them easier to remember and apply.
Overall, I wouldn’t be surprised to see classes in all fields use social media in some form over the next ten years.
Although some older professors seem to reject the concept, I think it is because they may not fully understand their potential uses.
Social media sites are tremendous communication tools that can be utilized in hundreds of different ways, and through my experiences, they truly enhance the learning process.