New Insights (Roles):
In regards to the topic that my learning partner, Marlena Nessel and I chose “Social Media Inside a Traditional Classroom” I am going to reflect on insights I gained from working on this assignment and what role instructors will play in accepting/working with social media in their classroom. I have been instructing for over 15 years, in the first few years of teaching, students squinting at my feeble overhead sheets on a projector that ran on diesel was the normal for technology in the classroom. When social media started to develop, my initial reaction was that this was not constructive as a lot of my time was spent telling the students to “put the phones away”. I came across an excellent article penned by Marie Owens titled “Using Social Media in the Classroom: Why there’s a Lot to Like”. In this article Owens mirrored my initial thoughts as she talks about how most instructors found students using social media in the classroom as an annoyance. The article goes on to say that it is the role of the instructor to manage the students use of social media outlets and convert them from being distractions to constructive tools. I, like most instructors felt a little under knowledged about the emerging technology and took the path of trying to minimize it and limit the student’s use of it. Years later the positive effects of social media if used correctly proved it could be a very beneficial tool in the classroom.
I feel my role in using social media in the classroom has two major components. The first is my responsibility to keep upgrading my skills to keep up with the new technology and how to use it effectively. The second is my responsibility to manage how my students use social media in my classroom. I encourage my students to bring their tablets and smart phones into the classroom. To avoid distractions some ground rules were established, I use the two strikes its out as after one warning of using the device while I am talking leads to me taking it away if a second offense occurs. In addition to that they are not allowed any devise in the class during exams or evaluations. I use online learning were applicable and encourage them to access resources online and assist each other. I also use WhatsApp as a very effective way to communicate with my students, as a group chat applicable information can be disturbed very quickly. Moving forward instructors must keep open minds, progressive training and effective student management in regards to the use of social media. As Owens illustrates there is a lot to like about using social media in the classroom if used effectively.