Although many students think that they can manage an onslaught of distractions while they are doing their home work, there is a price to pay. Pings from social media and bleeps from electronic devices present constant interruptions that pull attention away from the task at hand. In fact, because many students try to juggle multiple activities, divided attention can turn an hour of assignments into three hours or more. An added problem is that diversions prevent learners from fully engaging in their work on a deep level and their learning curve takes a sharp dive. As result, these students often have to take the additional time to relearn the information at a later date - if they don’t want their grades to suffer.
What Can We Do to Help This Generation of Young Learners Manage Social Media?
- Teachers can integrate social media into classroom and homework assignments.
- Start a group for your class so that students can share study tips and strategies.
- Record your classes on Periscope, Zoom, or Skype so that sick students that miss the lecture can access the content.
- Ask students to follow and connect with authors or experts that tweets, blogs, tumbls, snaps, pins or scoops.
- Post notes and resources in DropBox and Google Docs and let the students know through social media.
- Share resources and links on sites like Facebook, Pinterest and Tumblr.
Teach your students strategies on how they can use social media to benefit their studies.
- Establish a study group on Google Hangout.
- Use social media to connect with classmates when missing an assignment or needing help with a problem.
- Teach students that they can learn missed instruction by watching YouTube videos you or other teachers have created.
Encourage learners to schedule blocks of time where they “turn off” all social media.
Instruct students to use a timer for uninterrupted homework time and a timer again for social media breaks.
Ask students to read articles that review the pitfalls to multitasking such as Think you are Multitasking? Think again!, and review research that investigates the pros and cons of using social media while completing homework such as The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and Families. Have them write a paper about what they learned as well as a personal plan of action.
Technology and social media is here to stay, so it’s best to embrace these tools and teach learners how to manage and leverage these resources in positive and productive ways.