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Teach and Learn with Social Media
28 Posts
November 14, 2021 - 10:09 am

Social media is commonly used by people across age groups. Even though there is a certain age limit (13 years old) to create an account on social media platforms, a recent study conducted with 119 children under the age of 13 showed that a high percent of children (70%) has already had social media accounts (Weeden et al., 2013). Therefore, instead of waiting to incorporate social media into teaching until high school because of age restriction, schools should plan teach with and about social media in elementary school. In this way, schools can have a chance to teach about online safety and benefit from affordances of social media in teaching.

Elementary school social studies courses can be a good place for teaching about and with social media because of the three affordances, “fostering active learning, enhancing students’ collaboration, and increasing their community connections” (Greenhow et al., 2019, p. 179). By incorporating social media into their teaching, teachers can support their students to develop civic awareness and engage with other students and adults from their communities and different parts of the world to gain multiple perspectives about global events (Porto, 2016; Mathews, 2016; Montgomery, 2014). Additionally, students can start to learn how to safely use digital media and be aware of potential dangers.

This process is complex (Greenhow et al., 2019) and requires new responsibilities and demands on teachers (Bartow, 2014). Teachers should have many roles, such as “teacher as learner, teacher in constructivist roles, teacher as change agent” (Bartow, 2014, p. 47). Fortunately, social media provides various opportunities to teachers for professional development by not being limited to resources in physical spaces. For example, teachers can meet their individualized development needs that are not addressed in traditional PDs and create connections with teachers around the world with similar educational challenges and concerns through social platforms (Greenhow et al., 2019. Therefore, social media can be beneficial for both students and teachers in their learning process.

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