Social networks put the student at the center of the educational process, make him participate and require his involvement, which opens up new learning opportunities. Through didactic innovation, collaborative learning and dialogue between colleagues are favored. In addition, communication skills are generated while teaching to share resources. All this represents a challenge for the teacher, who must acquire the training and knowledge of the new medium to take advantage of it for the benefit of the students.
However, in this new scenario, not all are positive contributions. Know which are the advantages and disadvantages of social networks for education it will help the teacher to plan how and when to use them and how to anticipate the difficulties they may generate.
There are many centers that do not have a clear strategy to take advantage of them and the opportunity to take advantage of them is missed. The potential of social networks translates into a review of teaching methodologies, in a new form of communication that allows the exchange of information between the different interlocutors and even in its emergence as a new marketing tool for schools.
Despite this, opinions vary between those of those trainers who decidedly bet on the networks as another tool in the classroom, and those who prefer not to use them to avoid distractions among their students.
We differentiate the main advantages and disadvantages of social networks.
- They allow to establish contact with specialists in some subjects and with professionals dedicated to a specific field of knowledge. In this way the personal initiative from the student.
- They facilitate interaction between students, who see learning as common, group work, rather than individual work.
- Teachers can complete your classes with activities or discussions in social networks by creating closed groups.
- Encourage the direct relationship between students and teachers beyond the usual teaching hours.
to) Grooming: They are actions aimed at winning the friendship of a minor by an adult for the purpose of sexual abuse.
b) Cyberbullying or ‘cyberbullying’: A report by the University of Mallorca with ESO students between the ages of 13 and 16 indicates that almost a quarter of these students, 23.5%, have been offended on the Internet. Cyberbullying is psychological harassment between equals through the Internet, mobile phones or online video games.
- Dependence: the speed with which information circulates on social networks can generate a habit of immediacy in responses and in the exchange of opinions and information that sometimes leads to dependence. To avoid this, it is essential to clarify to the students that the use of social networks is another training tool, complementary to the others and that it does not replace them.
- Abusive use and distraction: An abuse of the networks is detrimental to needs such as rest or person-to-person interaction with family and friends. If abusive use is detected, it is advisable to inform the parents soon and redirect the situation by talking to the student. On the other hand, the enormous amount of information available on social networks can cause the initial training objective to dissipate in favor of other content. The networks feed on current news, viral videos and opinion trends that may be inappropriate for students.
- Segmentation: those students with difficulties accessing the Internet and social networks are in danger of being discriminated against. To avoid this, means must be provided from the center itself that can correct it, such as computers or other devices, within a time accessible to the student.
In the case of minors, it is advisable to use closed social networks until they reach the age of majority. In this way, teachers and heads of studies can be aware of the communication that is established and monitor that the use of this tool is correct. This avoids, on the one hand, inappropriate content and, on the other, possible distractions or content not related to learning.