|Social networks play role in classrooms|
|Written by Ellie McGraw, Daily Vidette Reporter|
|Sunday, 18 September 2011 18:54|
Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr are now being used as teaching tools in higher education.
Some ISU teachers are consistently using these sites in their classrooms each semester for several different reasons that benefit their students.
Jane Carman, doctoral candidate in the Department of English, uses Facebook as a tool while teaching her English courses. Carman uses the site as a way for students to become more involved in the course information.
“I was concerned that some students’ voices and opinions weren’t being heard due to shyness or time constraints, so I moved a large part of the class’ discussion to Facebook,” Carman stated.
Carman explained the results of her Facebook discussions proved her theory that many students became more active in the course and discussed more than they would in an everyday classroom setting.
“Instead of concentrating on a few students’ concerns and ideas, we were able to focus on every student,” Carman explained.
Griffin Hammond, public affairs specialist at State Farm and School of Communication lecturer, also uses social networking in class. Hammond, however, sees these sites as assets to his students’ careers.
He says using a social networking site is something that students will need in the immediate future.
“I see in my job how these social platforms become integral skills that you need in the workplace, especially when you’re young,” Hammond said.
He said many seasoned people in the work place will expect the young professionals to understand the newest technology, and that is a big reason why he integrates the blogging site, Tumblr, into his curriculum.
“If you take that experience, you should couple it with a little bit of extra skill sets because you may find that it’s going to give you a leg-up,” Hammond explained.
One concern about using a social networking site in the classroom is safety, according to a recent Pantagraph article. The idea of having a connection, outside of the classroom, between a teacher and a student is a concern for some people.
Carman and Hammond, however, see these sites as a way to enhance learning appropriately.
“For me, using Facebook was just part of revising the way I think, moving toward a classroom experience that includes all students as equally as possible,” Carman stated.
The fact that Tumblr is a public site gives Hammond even more of a reason to use it. As he teaches a visual communications course, he wants his students to encounter other artists’ blogs as well.
“Why I choose Tumblr is because it’s not closed off, so you’re exposed to your classmates and to your professor, but also to the entire world of inspiration,” Hammond said.
Both Carman and Hammond ultimately use these sites in hopes their students will learn while using the newest forms of technology.
Hammond also admits he even does some learning himself while in class.
“I want to bring a little bit of my life into the classroom.”