Can Social Media and Learning mix? I Oxford Open Learning
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Can Social Media and Learning mix?

Many parents and teachers bemoan the age of social media, believing it to be an unnecessary distraction from learning. However, for many young people and a few others besides, social networking has become an integral part of daily life. By ignoring the existence of these sites, or dismissing them as unfortunate side effects of the digital age, we are doing ourselves a disservice. Although interacting with friends on social media sites can mean that we procrastinate and delay our learning, these interactions can also be used to our advantage. Combining social media with studying can mean that we feel more confident about our efforts; it can be a useful means of getting important information and it can allow us to interact with others more efficiently.

How can combining social media with studying mean that we gain in confidence? If you have been grappling with a particularly difficult concept, social networking sites can be used to seek confirmation of your efforts. These sites can also enable you to discover that other students might be facing the same challenges, which can help you to feel more positive about your studies. If you feel particularly knowledgeable about a certain area of your course, you can use social media to help others with their work. This can add to your sense of achievement and help you to feel more confident about your studies in general.

Social media can be very useful for students. Whether you are attending college or university, or engaged in a distance learning course, it can be difficult to assimilate all the information you need about reading lists, timetables, course specifications, examinations and so on. If you have missed a class or forgotten the advice or instructions of your teacher, it’s easy to take to a social networking site and share your concerns with other students. Because of the fact that many of us use these sites as regularly as we use the telephone, it isn’t difficult to find another student who has the information you need.

Combining social media with studying can allow us to to interact with others more efficiently. When you’re working on a piece of coursework, or studying for an exam, it can be tricky to find the time to socialise with your friends. When studying hard, a bit of levity can be just the tonic you need to help you to stay motivated and positive about your work. Having a short break to share a joke or pass comment can help you to unwind a little and really enjoy that cup of coffee. This means that you can return to your studies feeling a little more relaxed and part of the outside world, both of which can allow you to work to the best of your ability.

Social media is not the death knell to great coursework and examination results. If used to your advantage, sites that allow you to indulge in social networking can actually make you a happier, more efficient and more productive student.

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I'm a former English teacher and private tutor who is passionate about education. I've been writing professionally for the past three years and have written educational worksheets for use in schools as well as contributing to an educational journal. I've also written on every other topic under the sun!

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