When technology is discussed in education, it is generally regarded as a good and necessary part of modern education; good schools have computers in every classroom and top-of-the-line software programs. Most educators will agree access to document readers, smart boards, projectors, and Apple TV enhance the educational environment. However, when the discussion moves to cell phones and smartphones, teachers often quickly change their tune about technology. Any group of teachers discussing the challenges of the job can easily commiserate over the challenge of getting to students to put away their texting, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat accessing machines and pay attention! The social lives of modern students are maintained by their social media usage. Therefore, it is important to understand the social media usage of students and put it in the proper educational context. Beyond that, what educational theories support the usage of social media in education?
According to a Pew Research Center Study on Teens, Social Media and Technology, over 92% of teens report going online daily, 56% report going online several times a day, while only 12% report going online once a day. The study found Facebook was the most used social media site among teens, followed in popularity by Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Google+, Vine, and Tumblr. Seventy-one percent of teens reported using multiple social media platforms daily (Lenhart, 2015).
Researchers, interested in examining how social media can positively influence classroom environments have found that the use of social media supports the Common Core value of collaborative learning (Shosani & Rose Braun, 2007; Yu, Tian, Vogel & Kwok, 2010; Fewkes & McCabe, 2012). Social media encourages the building of learning communities and allows students unique opportunities to share and construct knowledge (Yu, Tian, Vogel and Kwok, 2010). Additionally, social media also “provides instant pathways for disseminating and enhancing course-related knowledge outside the confines of the traditional classroom (Fewkes & McCabe, 2012).
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