Social Media in Education


Social Media is known as a collection of online communication channels based on input from the community, interaction, content sharing and collaboration (TechTarget, 2016, online). Websites and applications that are either dedicated to forums, blogging or social networking are all types of social media. A few examples of these are: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WordPress, Linked-In, WhatsApp, Skype, Youtube, Snapchat and Pinterest.

How can social media impact education?

Educational institutions can use different social media such as Facebook and Twitter to communicate with their students (Dlamini, 2017, online).  Social networking facilitates the exchange of ideas, communication collaboration and connection through a variety of users (Issa, et al., 2015, p. 8). This can consist of teachers getting in touch with students regarding homework, changes in timetables, answering any questions etc. Social media sites simply allow both teachers and students to post information about whatever subject they are learning, to share with the others in that class. This particularly benefits those students who may have missed a lesson, to then still be able to gain the information through these social media sites.

Blogging sites can be used as a space for a forum which can encourage debates where hashtags can be used for individual courses to create online discussion communities for all students (BBC Active, 2017, online). Students can discuss certain topics or queries, to help each other out if anyone encounters a difficulty in understanding something. They can also gain new ideas from other students to build on their own which will overall expand their individual knowledge.

Social media such as YouTube allows students to watch videos that may help them understand a certain subject by listening or watching it being explained differently. Teachers can also upload videos before a lesson for students to watch beforehand to get a simple glance and underlying understanding of what they are about to learn (Edudemic Staff , 2015, online). YouTube can also be used in a way that students are able to video themselves explaining a certain topic, upload it so then they can go back to this to revise it in the future. Other students can then also access this to use it themselves as a revision tool.

Instagram is another social media application that can be used in education. Teachers can use this to post students works and express how well they have completed something. This is a behaviourist approach of learning, as when the students sees that the teacher has posted their work, they feel a sense of fulfilment and then want to do well again. This is a theory of positive reinforcement- the teacher rewards them with posting their work on Instagram in which the student then repeats his behaviour in order for them to post it again. ‘Behaviour that is positively reinforced will reoccur as intermittent reinforcement is particularly effective’ (Gordon Biddle, et al., 2013, p. 67).  Therefore if teachers use this app to showcase their students work, it will encourage them to work harder continuously.

What are the issues regarding Social Media in Education?

Even though social media has many benefits within education, however it also can bring several issues too. One of these issues is that cyber-bullying can occur when students have access to these types of social media.These websites and apps allow people to comment on posts and message people, in which it has been found through a survey, that 47% of young people have received a nasty comment and 67% been sent a nasty private message (Bullying UK, 2017, online). This shows that teachers allowing their students to use these types of social media does put this issue of cyber-bullying at risk of happening. Having access to messaging in these forms, allows young children to express their thoughts and feelings about something or someone without saying it in person, therefore they take the chance of using social media to do this.

Another problem that teachers may face is if they allow students to access the media within classroom time, they may take advantage of this and go onto sites that are not linked to the lesson therefore learning decreases. Teachers cannot observe every child at the same time when using technology therefore some students will do what they want in this time, focusing their attention elsewhere. If so, their achievement is put at risk, as time given to use media for learning/revision is reduced.

Even though social media is seen as a platform for those students who feel uncomfortable expressing themselves, they are now missing valuable lessons in real-life social skills (Lederer, 2012, online). Using social media to communicate rather meeting the person leads individuals to being less involved in socialising, therefore when it comes to a particular socialising situation, they may struggle and be less effective e.g. in an interview in expressing their ideas, as they are too used to posting this online.


Reference List:

BBC Active, 2017. How social media is changing education. [Online]
Available at: [Accessed 05 03 2018].

Bullying UK, 2017. Bullying UK: What to do if you’re being bullied on a social network. [Online] Available at: %5BAccessed 05 03 2018].

Dlamini, K., 2017. LCIBS: The Role of Social Media in Education. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 05 03 2018].

Edudemic Staff , 2015. How to Use Social Media as a Learning Tool. [Online]
Available at: [Accessed 05 03 2018].

Gordon Biddle, K. A., Garcia-Nevarez, A., Roundtree Henderson, W. J. & Valero-Kerrick, A., 2013. Early Childhood Education: Becoming a Professional. Singapore: SAGE Publications.

Issa, T., Isaias, P. & Kommers, P., 2015. Social Networking and Education: Global Perspectives. New York: Springer.

Lederer, K., 2012. Campus Technology: Pros and Cons of Social Media in the Classroom. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 05 03 2018].

TechTarget, 2016. Social media. [Online] Available at:
[Accessed 28 02 2018].

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