Value of Social Media in the Classroom: Keystone memo need help to write Memo and you have to read the instruction clearly and understand what the Pro need

Value of Social Media in the Classroom: Keystone memo need help to write Memo and you have to read the instruction clearly and understand what the Pro needs Value of Social Media in Today’s
Barbara E. Hagler
Purpose and Methodology: The purpose of this article is to present information
regarding the use of social media in the classroom, including reasons teachers should
actually teach the use of social media. A systematic content analysis resulted in the
synthesis of material from journal articles and websites dated 2009-2012. Findings:
Most sources presented positive reasons social media should be taught in the classroom.
Students will benefit from the knowledge of how to use social media as well as from
other workplace skills such as collaboration and creativity. The most popular types of
social media were briefly discussed with reasons for including them in the classroom.
Conclusions Business educators have the responsibility to help students use social
media responsibly. In addition to teaching students to use social media, teachers have
the opportunity to help students increase other workplace skills.
Social media (2012), according to Merriam-Webster, is “forms of electronic
communication (as Web sites for social networking and microblogging) through
which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal
messages, and other content (as videos)” (p. 1). The term was first used in 2004,
according to Merriam-Webster (2012). Some of the platforms for electronic
communication which are considered to be social media include the following:
Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, LinkedIn, SlideShare, and Flickr. Blogs, wikis,
video, and podcasts are also considered to be forms of social media that may be
used in the classroom.
Controversy abounds regarding the value of teaching and/or using social media
in the classroom at all educational levels. Many feel that social media has no place
in the classroom. Others feel that social media should be taught and used in the
classroom. And, finally, others fall somewhere in between these two opinions. “In
the early 1990s, the Internet was the topic of a similar debate in schools” (Kessler,
2010, p. 1). So, the debate of whether something should be used in the classroom
is certainly not a totally new type of concern about a new concept or technology.
Most business and education references found in a search for information about
social media presented reasons for including social media in the classroom.
Therefore, most of this article will also present the positives of teaching and using
social media in the classroom.
Dr. Barbara E. Hagler is an associate professor in Workforce Education and Development
Department in the College of Education and Human Services at Southern Illinois University
Carbondale. Dr. Hagler can be contacted at
Volume LV, No. 1, Spring/Summer, 2013
Value of Social Media in Today’s Classroom
The purpose of this article is to present information regarding the use of social
media in the classroom at all educational levels, including reasons teachers should
actually teach the use of social media. Information was found with a literature
review of journals as well as websites. Because of the subject matter, only sources
from 2009-2012 were used. A systematic content analysis resulted in the following
“A recent Pew Research Center report shows that 73 percent of teens between
the ages of 12 and 17 use social networking” (Jackson, 2011, p. 1). Yet, many
of these teens do not know how to use social networking in the ways employers
expect or need. Therefore, this lack of knowledge of how to use social media
professionally is a reason for teachers to teach students the professional use
of social media. Two skills often identified by employers as missing from job
applicants are the ability to work with others and skills needed to compete in the
global economy, including the use of social media (Swan, 2012).
Educators in general, and especially business educators, have the opportunity
to help students develop social media skills that will prepare the students for
the real world. According to DeCoskey (2011), “If schools made social media
professional development mandatory among teachers and then asked them to
incorporate that into their classroom activities, we could begin preparing students
as early as elementary school to one day engage a global community” (p. 1).
Some schools lack the technology to be able to include instruction on social
media. Lack of funds for technology and/or technology teachers is but one reason
the use of social media is not taught. Due to some news stories regarding the
misuse of social media, some schools do not allow the use of social media in
the classroom. Bullying, sexual predators, and varied criminal activities have
been connected to social media. However, banning the use of social media in the
classroom is “not protecting them today so much as handicapping them tomorrow”
(Smith, 2010, p. 1). Social media, according to Smith “helps students learn how
to collaborate” (p. 2). Learning to collaborate and be a team player is frequently
at the top of the list of skills employers desire in their employees (Kessler, 2010).
Teaching students to collaborate and be team players is just one of the benefits of
teaching social media that has been identified.
In fact, social network theory is a popular topic in business and political arenas
(Sacks & Graves, 2012). “Social network theory examines specific dynamics
within webs of interrelationships among people and firms” (Sacks & Graves,
2012, p. 81). Since social media is such a new topic in general, it is surprising that
social network theory has gained such interest and popularity. Employees of the
future will be expected to know how to use social media in ways to take advantage
of the concepts of social network theory (Sacks & Graves, 2012).
Many teachers at all educational levels are already using social media in and
out of the classroom. Moran, Seaman, and Tinti-Kane (2011) found that “over
90% of all faculty are using social media in courses they’re teaching or for their
The Journal of Research in Business Education
Dr. Barbara E. Hagler
professional careers outside the classroom” (p. 3). They also found that “…
nearly two-thirds of all teaching faculty have used social media in their class
sessions…30% have posted content for students to view outside class” (p. 11).
“Over 40% of faculty have assigned students to read or view social media as part
of course assignments, and 20% have assigned students to comment on or post to
social media sites,” according to results from the Moran, Seaman, and Tinti-Kane
survey (p. 12). Educators are becoming involved with social media. What about
Value of Social Media to Businesses
“While marketers understand the importance of a channel that now accounts
for 1 in every 7 minutes spent online, many are challenged to quantify its
effectiveness,” according to Andrew Lipsman, ComScore’s vice president of
industry analysis (Tam, 2012, p. 2). Yet, according to many, social media is the
way many people communicate. In fact, according to Hutton and Fosdick (2011),
“…social networks now have surpassed all other means of keeping in touch with
people, even outstripping face-to-face contact in 2009” (p. 567).
“Social media is changing the parameters of how people and organisations
interact and operate,” according to Swan (2012, p. 1). “Social media offers
massive opportunities to engage with customers, get more word of mouth, interact
with a larger audience, present the ‘human’ side of your business, and get noticed
online,” and “…social media nothing more than word of mouth amplified,” were
also identified as benefits of social media by Swan (2012, p. 1).
Another benefit of social media to businesses is that social media is available
to all businesses, both small and large. “Most areas of social media require the
investment of time and not money, making it a level playing field to be noticed”
(Yell, 2011, p. 1). Many forms of social media are free and do not require the
business to purchase more equipment/technology.
Hutton and Fosdick (2011) expressed the importance of social media in “…
brands themselves directing more marketing effort to engaging their products
and services with consumers through social media” (p. 569). Hutton and Fosdick
also stated that “…social media have allowed marketers to interact with their
consumers in unprecedented ways” (p. 569). Marketing a product/service is often
dependent upon businesses interacting with as many consumers as possible. New
and unique marketing strategies may help businesses increase their return on
investment (ROI) for marketing time and money.
Finally, Stokes (2011) identified several ways social media are being used
by businesses. New social media tools like blogs, wikis, and online social
networks are transforming nearly every facet of society. Businesses solicit
customer feedback through blogs. Marketers use social networks to build
communities around products or services. Comment features in online
newspapers have turned columns into conversations. (p. 1)
Volume LV, No. 1, Spring/Summer, 2013
Value of Social Media in Today’s Classroom
Businesses appear to be using every form of social media to increase their
opportunities to communicate with customers or potential customers. Since social
media are being used by businesses, the next question might be how do employees
of these businesses learn to use social media? Educators have the opportunity to
teach students to use social media responsibly (Phillips, Baird, & Fogg, 2011;
Sacks & Graves, 2012).
Reasons Educators Should Teach the Use of Social Media
All of the benefits to businesses identified above indicate reasons students need
to learn to use social media so they will have skills that are important to businesses.
Another big reason for including social media instruction was identified by Haley
(2012). “Among the many benefits for including social networking in courses are
active student learning and high engagement in the process. High engagement
leads to high motivation, which naturally leads to fewer discipline problems in
the classroom” (p. 109). Haley went on to say that “…social networking gives
students a sense of belonging to a group and gives each student a voice. Students
are able to develop communication, collaboration, and peer learning skills” (p.
Phillips, Baird, and Fogg (2010) reported that “…students spend as much
(or more) time online in an informal learning environment—interacting with
peers and receiving feedback—than they do with their teachers in the traditional
classroom” (p. 2). However, according to Stokes (2011), “Despite all the rhetoric
about ‘digital natives,’ some students aren’t facile with technology and many more
struggle with understanding how to communicate effectively in these new spaces”
(p. 1). Jackson (2011) also found a difference in the use of social media based
upon household income. Students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds had
not had as much exposure to social media. Therefore, educational institutions at
all educational levels have the opportunity to provide social media exposure to
those who may not have had the opportunity for exposure outside the classroom.
So, even though students may be using social media in their own personal lives,
there is still a need for teachers at all educational levels to include social media
in the classroom instruction (Jackson, 2011). In fact, Phillips, Baird, and Fogg
(2010) expressed that
…in the 2010 U.S. National Technology Education Plan, Transforming
American Education: Learning Powered by Technology, the U.S. Department
of Education calls for applying the advanced technologies used in our daily
personal and professional lives to our entire education system to improve
student learning. (p. 2)
According to Stokes (2011),
Even if remarkably high percentages of students report using technology, it
doesn’t mean they know what they are doing….To prepare students for the
The Journal of Research in Business Education
Dr. Barbara E. Hagler
world they will inherit, students need adult guides and mentors willing to
create online learning environments that allow students to rehearse for future
performances in social media environments. (p. 1)
Educators can serve as these guides and mentors. “Educators can’t effectively
prepare students for navigating these new online worlds without bringing students
there. Students who can navigate and contribute to social media can make their
voices heard in these new forums. Students who don’t learn to navigate these
spaces will be deficient in the labor market and in the civic sphere” (Stokes, 2011,
p. 1)
A number one priority for students upon graduation, if not before, is to find
a job. “Using social media professionally could boost employability chances in
this tough economic climate” (Swan, 2012, p. 2). Ability to use social media as
businesses require might be the key to getting a job; or not having the ability to use
social media might be the reason a person is not able to find a job. Social media
creates a collaborative opportunity for students, which prepares them to work in
teams on the job (Kessler, 2010). Teamwork has frequently been identified as an
important skill for employees.
Students with social media skills will be better prepared to find and get jobs.
“Students need to know how to use it not just for jobs, but also to shape their online
presence and convey the skills they have with ease. The demand for employees to
be digitally literate in business environments is rising” (Swan, 2012, p. 1).
Phillips, Baird, and Fogg (2011) stated that “Now with the explosion of
social media, educators can be part of a larger conversation with young people
about digital citizenship and online behavior” (p. 1). In other words, this is an
opportunity for educators to be on the cutting edge of providing instruction related
to the appropriate use of social media.
The benefits of social media even extend to student achievement. According to
DeCoskey (2011), “when students are participating in activities online, they’re
more likely to be engaged, and achievement rates rise” (p. 2). Blankenship (2011)
reported that social media provided many benefits to students including “greater
engagement, greater interest, students taking more control and responsibility for
their education” (p. 40). All of these benefits are important to a successful career
and life.
As is true with almost everything, there are some negatives related to the use
of social media. Some of the main negatives will be discussed in the next section.
Negatives of Social Media
There have been several news reports of misuse of social media (Phillips, Baird,
& Fogg, 2011). Stories about inappropriate relationships and cyberbullying have
been reported (DeCoskey, 2011). Phillips, Baird, and Fogg suggested that while
a student (2011) “might encounter inappropriate content or sexual predators
online,” this danger may be exaggerated (p. 1).
Volume LV, No. 1, Spring/Summer, 2013
Value of Social Media in Today’s Classroom
Moran, Seaman, and Tinti-Kane (2011) discussed some of the issues related to
privacy and integrity. They also reported from their Pearson faculty survey that
a near majority of faculty surveyed believed social media took more time than
it was worth. Yet, in the same survey, faculty reported a strong belief that social
media had value for classroom use.
Given the possibilities of social media misuse, teachers have the opportunity
to discuss the appropriate use of social media. Teachers have the opportunity to
guide students in being respectful and courteous to people online as well as in
other settings. The following sections present information about several of the
more popular platforms and forms of social media.
Social Media Forms and Platforms
Blogging/Chat/Instant Messaging
Although blogs, chat, and instant messages are different, they provide some of
the same benefits for teachers and students. Blogs/chat/instant messages can be
used to motivate students to write. They know that others besides the teacher will
read their work and will often spend more time thinking about what they write
(Kessler, 2010).
“Blogs can be a review or extension of a classroom discussion,” according
to Haley (2012, p. 112). “There is strong, empirical, circumstantial evidence to
indicate microblogging is helping fuel the flourishing and exciting phenomenon of
media meshing. Meshing occurs where consumers actively use two media—with
at least one being an Internet-enabled mobile device—together to enhance their
total media experience,” (Hutton & Fosdick, 2011, p. 570). Teachers can provide
opportunities for students to learn how to use blogging in a professional manner
so they are prepared to use blogging in their future professional endeavors.
Chat/Instant messaging can also be used as a way to extend classroom discussion
or review (Kessler, 2010). Although these types of social media take time for the
teacher in terms of reading and monitoring, the benefits to students’ learning both
for the classroom and for their future business success makes the time worthwhile.
Facebook is the most visited site for personal use (Moran, Seaman, & TintiKane, 2011). Facebook has a place in the classroom, as well. Facebook “can
provide students with the opportunity to effectively present their ideas, lead online
discussions, and collaborate,” as well as “help you, as an educator, to tap into the
digital learning styles of your students,” according to Phillips, Baird, and Fogg
(2011, p. 2).
Facebook also allows teachers to connect with colleagues, as well as teachers,
parents, students, and even community members (Phillips, Baird, & Fogg, 2011).
Since Facebook is visited so frequently by many, it seems logical to use it as a
communication tool.
The Journal of Research in Business Education
Dr. Barbara E. Hagler
“Facebook can enhance learning inside the classroom and beyond,” according
to Phillips, Baird, and Fogg (2011, p. 1). Facebook users must be 13 or older,
and it “complies with United States privacy laws, including the Children’s Online
Privacy Protection Act” (Phillips, Baird, & Fogg, 2011, p. 3). Although privacy
laws cannot totally prevent a privacy violation, Facebook does what it can to
protect users. Teachers should encourage students to report bullying and abusive
comments (Phillips, Baird, & Fogg, 2011).
Facebook offers other opportunities for teaching many other concepts besides
communication. “Using Facebook as an example of network size and quality
allows students to balance the size of their professional network and the amount
of time and energy that they want to spend maintaining it,” (Sacks & Graves,
2012, p. 82). Facebook provides the teacher with the opportunity to get students’
attention regarding other content besides just making a post in Facebook.
Google Docs
Google Docs can be used to help students learn to collaborate, according to
Smith (2010). As stated earlier, the ability to work as part of a team is a desired
skill by many employers. Google Docs is available to most users and is easy to use
to get everyone involved in editing a document.
Professional networking has received increased interest because of social
media. The importance of professional networking is important to people looking
for jobs as well as after they have jobs and are seeking input regarding their work.
LinkedIn is the most used social media site for professional networking (LinkedIn,
2012). “The principle of social distance is one of the main contributions that
LinkedIn provides for professional networking,” (Sacks & Graves, 2012, p. 83).
Teachers can create podcasts of recorded lectures …
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