The Pros and Cons of using Social Networks in Education

I’ve always been an advocate of taking whatever is happening in the mainstream and discovering if it cam be used as a learning tool. The use of social networks is an excellent example of taking a ubiquitous tool and discovering how it fits into all levels of education.

This isn’t another blog post that staunchly advocates one side or the other of the social networking debate. Instead this post presents considerations that illustrate both the strengths and weakness that educators will face if they decided to use social sites in the classroom.

Here is a quick list that I hope will help educators, policymakers, and learners understand the opportunities and challenges of adding social networks to the curriculum.

Strengths:

  • Gives learns more control of how they learn and what they learn
  • Is very engaging
  • Perfect platform for inquiry base learning
  • Students can work in groups to solve problems together
  • Students can connect with other classes, teachers, or experts

Weaknesses:

  • More pressure on the teacher; have to learn how to use social networks as a teaching tool
  • Distractions for learners
  • Cognitive overload
  • Could create assessment gaps
  • Hard for the student to see what is important

These are only a few of the pros and cons I came up with. Please feel free to send me your ideas.

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