“A good education system is the foundation for a better future”. Education is one of the most essential pillars of an economy, like how great leaders state, educated students, form the future of a nation. It creates an advanced and more civic society where people can find truth, harmony and unity and place trust in their governing system. 

Since past and time immemorial, people have always valued the education system. Be it in India or any other country for that matter; education has always been seen as an emphasis to lead to a better frugality.

Great discoveries and inventions are all a result of education. From building a plane to finding an instrument to view microscopic bacteria, everything was created because people were able to read, write and eventually create and comprehend new theories that led to developments. 

Ancient India saw the gurukul system and then schooling system; no matter what the form was, it was always undisturbed and robust. But the recent events have disturbed the continuity in it. 

One pandemic was enough to shake the education system around the world. While a few schools and colleges shut, others moved to other modes of teaching, making sure students stay unaffected due to the aftermath.

Welcoming The E-gurukul Era

Students are now moving to an online education system. Though it’s been there for quite some time, it has become a necessity now. Reputed and major colleges like Stanford and Cambridge are also sending off their students back home and planning to go on a complete online course for this fall. 

With schools and universities going online, it only becomes the responsibility of online platforms to create an environment feasible and viable for students. Social media is one of the vast spread and the most frequently used applications by everyone around the world. 

This tool if used effectively can be shaped to connect and educate students in this unfortunate and unforeseen event.

Let us try and understand how social media can impact the education system. Gone are the days when teachers shun students for using various social media apps. Tables have turned, and in fact, these days, teachers hope students stay online and explore social media – but for educational purposes. 

There are two sides to a coin, and similarly, there are positive and negative effects of social media on education. But before seeing how it impacts, let us check out what are the various social media tools that can be used for educational purposes.

YouTube – It is only known that one of the best video viewing platforms in the whole of the internet is YouTube. YouTube lets a person feed as many videos as they want. Teachers now use this platform to upload pre-recorded lesson videos that help students learn their daily lessons. 

Besides, YouTube is also a platform where students can find answers to anything they want. So even if they have a lesson plan, they can go ahead and start learning. The comment section on YouTube also helps students post their queries to which their teachers or the guide can revert with answers. 

YouTube also has a separate section called ‘education’ that is dedicated to teachers. In this, the tool teaches how best teachers can use it for tutoring their students.

  • TedEd – TedEd is a part of TED that offers various TED Talks that are short and animated and are on subjects like science, technology, social studies, literature and so on. It also creates a hub or a platform for students and speakers to connect making a better place for collaboration.
  • Facebook – Facebook is one platform that all students are excited about. Here they connect with their friends and family. Facebook for education can be used by creating pages for various subjects and asking students to post and comment on relevant topics. It is also a site where one can find all students.
  • Twitter – What a lot of people know is that Twitter is a platform used for tweeting on random topics. But what one forgets is that it can be used as an effective tool for education. Teachers can now tweet exam schedules or call out a student to submit their assignments or can even use it for sharing inspirational and motivational quotes.
  • Instagram – Another big player in social media is Instagram. Teachers can use this tool to post short lessons as pictures or even conduct campaigns or contests relevant to their subject and encourage students to participate. They can also post stories with updates on their next lesson plan. This will help students prepare for their next set of learnings.
  • Education Websites – Numerous educational websites are now finding ways to get into students’ and teachers’ books by offering the simplest and the easiest form of education and learnings on various topics. While most of these sites are free, some of them are paid to view advanced and quality learning material. Some of the top sites that students frequently use in India are:
  • Edx
  • Udemy
  • Coursera
  • Learn Next
  • Academy earth
  • Khan academy

The role of social media on education is undoubtedly two sides of a coin. As called out previously, let us try and understand what the various impacts of social media on education are.

Positive Effects Of Social Media On Education :

  • Helps in the Research Process: The internet has everything in it. While it has ready-made material, it also helps in a lot of research work. With schools shut, studying science has now become a challenge as students are unable to conduct research and experiments. 

Similarly, various other subjects need research work to be done which has become a challenge now. In times like this, social media or the internet helps students connect with various professors and experts from multiple disciplines. This way, students will get to compile information and data for research. 

Social media can be used as a useful tool to conduct surveys and studies to get current perspectives on various topics. Social networking also gives an advantage of connecting with experts from across the globe. 

Students can now reach out to a Stanford professor in the US or a biotech professor from Germany. Social media makes connections so handy and straightforward.

Better LMS – It has come to the advantage of people creating LMS networks. With online studies, teachers and students can now collaborate and work together in this virtual system that will enable them to store relevant notes and files along with the advantage of having instant chat options. 

Features like videos, chat functions, forums and other resources saving options have made learning simpler and are also encouraging many companies to come up with simplified and productive LMS creations. 

  • Increased collaboration – The best part of social networking is the ease in collaboration. Facebook is for all, and there you can see people from all over the globe. You will also find people from places you haven’t heard of till now. 

A diverse platform like this gives an option to collaborate with the best people across industries and various domains. It helps broaden your perspective and your network, which again will serve best when you seek for jobs.

  • Better participation – Social Media is a tool that keeps students excited and engaged. No longer will they want to sit and take long notes and highlight them with coloured pens. 

With everything going digital, students are investing in smart gadgets that let them download online notes. Engaging platforms like online courses and academies inspire them to get more involved as some see it as an opportunity to grow while others look at it as a new fashion and trend. 

Either way, it benefits them. And so such devices and platforms push them to get more involved in online studies.

  • Rich content and resource – A fact to be well accepted is that the online platform has better and abundant resources than the textbooks. In fact, in most syllabi, schools still follow the age-old concepts and never update their lessons. 

Social media allows students to learn the current trends and the current affairs around them. They no longer should be let solve equations that don’t help them in practical life. Instead, engaging visuals and creative content can be used to make them understand current concepts better. 

YouTube plays a vital role in this as it has got real-life videos to animated videos to explain concepts to students.

  • More team projects – One thing that students miss out with this new shift is being able to be around their friends. They are no longer let out freely. 

In times like this, they turn to social media to keep themselves engaged. To channel that to better use, they can be assigned projects that will let them converse as well as get the assignments done. This will encourage more team projects and combined efforts.

Now that we have seen how social media can help students and teachers let us dive in to understand the other side of the coin.

Adverse Effects Of Social Media On Education :

  • Ineffective use of tools – This drastic shift in using technology and social media has given an immense pressure on teachers and students. While some students and teachers find working online as a slice of cake, there are others who are new to this. Using internet tools and social media platforms are taking a toll on such people and most importantly putting students under peer pressure. 

Older teachers who are not well connected with the technology find it difficult in organizing classes let alone be using social media use for the same. This consumes a lot of time and energy, thus making the whole learning process ineffective.

  • Increased distraction / Misuse of the internet – There is only so much that a parent or a teacher can do to crib the wrong usage of the internet. Students often tend to get distracted as social media is majorly for entertainment purposes. 

Using them for educational purposes is something new and that not most of them approve of or like it. There are high chances of students misusing or viewing inappropriate content or getting distracted while studying.

  • Adverse effects of automation – Various online tools have automation like auto-correct or auto-completion of sentences. This makes students lazy and will not help them in learning the right spellings or grammar.
  • Possibilities of cyberbullying and moral issues – Improper usage of the internet can raise questions like cyberbullying and other ethical issues. There is only very little that someone can do to control such activities of students online. This eventually creates a lousy environment to operate in.
  • Cease of self-thought – Every single piece of information is available on the internet today. From a petty thing like constructing a paper plane to studying how to become an astronaut, everything is possible out there online. 

This, if used correctly, can yield excellent results to the students. But most of them take advantage of this and borrow readily available information rather than studying and experimenting on their own. 

Over a while, this will affect the thought process and the ability to think critically and out of the box. This, in short, kills a student’s creativity and the capability to make self-decisions.

And so, there are pros and cons of everything available on the internet today. Social media is one of the most potent tools to voice our opinions and create something enormous. But what to create out of it is in the hands of the user. Some people use to become influencers while others who make nothing out of it. 

The internet is a vast ocean, and one has to be mindful of the ill effects as well. Social media, if used in the right way for education, can help build the most holistic environment for students and teachers, making everyone’s lives simpler!

What do you think are some of the most innovative ways of using social media for online studies?