What IS The Role Of Social Media In Education?

The contributing bloggers at edSocialMedia are an eclectic and knowledgeable bunch with varied backgrounds and experiences. The blog topics are never stale and include many different perspectives on social media with recent topics including a school’s internal audiences, community managers, and making time to blog.


I’ve recently completed a number of interviews for edSocialMedia and like asking what my interviewees think is the role of social media in education and I’ve gotten great answers from Chris Brogan, Brian Halligan, and Liz Strass. Their answers inspired me to write about my thoughts regarding the question but I quickly changed course and thought I would ask the contributing bloggers that question. Here are their feelings about the role of social media in education.


Jay Goulart (@jaygoulart)

This is the type of question that can take educators off task. I believe the question might be something like what should the role of education be in 2010, what is the world we should prepare our students for? Pulling social media out as a single topic creates the wrong conversation. Or perhaps you might ask What is the single most important question you might ask to design an educational experience that would help students excel in 2030?


Hans Mundahl (@hmundahl)

Social media allows students to do real work, not simulated work. Why not produce real TV, conduct real research, write for a real paper, or discuss real ideas with others? That’s what social media lets us do.


Chuck Will (@chuckbwill)

I see two roles for social media in education. The ultimate role–the interconnected education of our students–is immense, daunting, open to undreamed possibilities and demanding of both our creativity and skills. Easier and more immediate is the role of providing a superior platform for professional networking: educators and administrators collaborating, sharing, debating….doing just what we’re doing right here right now. In each case, however, we see both an elevation of quality and a leveling of resources. More resources are suddenly becoming accessible to more people….all people.


Jason Ramsden (@raventech)

When I think of Social Media in education I think of one word – tri-fecta. For individuals it’s about choosing and managing three social media tools (twitter, linkedin, facebook, nings, etc.) to help broaden one’s horizons and connect with peers. For institutions, however, the impact social media is having and the potential it will have on changing the a) marketing of our schools, b) the professional development of educators, and c) the teaching and learning happening in our schools is profound. The question then, should not be what is the role of social media in education, but rather, what is the role of education in a world connected by social media?


Page Lennig (@plennig)

As learning becomes more and more social, social media sites (or sites that allow for connections) will become the classrooms of the future. Sure there will still be “bricks & mortar” classrooms but they will be focused on face to face interaction, the arts, sports, etc. Much of the learning the students will do will be on these sites connecting with other students, experts, teachers (near & far). Social media will help break down the walls of our current system and expand the opportunity for learning.


Cassie Dull (@cassdull)

Social media brings the world to the classroom and enables students to communicate across the world. Social media breaks down time, distance and accessibility barriers and brings many opportunities for learning to happen anywhere, anytime. It fosters two-way communication and collaboration, which is really the essence of any learning experience. With social media, any one person now has a valuable voice to add to the conversation.


Travis Warren (@traviswarren)

Social Media is an affordable-personal-printing-press with built in global distribution capabilities. The quicker students grab on to this, the more effective and empowered their lives will be.


Alex Ragone (@alexragone)

Students need to develop digital footprints that are not just their social lives (ie. Facebook).


Curt Lewellyn (@clewellyn)

I think that the role of social media in education as it seems to playing out at this point seems to be two fold. On the curricular side of things, I see the role of social media and collaborative tools that allow students and teachers to connect and share ideas as being an extension of class discussions by extending the possibility of sharing beyond the classroom walls. On the institutional/marketing/communications side of things, I see social media as an effective and simple way for Schools, educators and administrators to communicate what is happening in our schools in a way that allows for greater transparency and participation from all interested parties (i.e. teachers, students, parents, alumni.)


Lorrie Jackson (@lorriej)

Social media in education is simply a new tool for timeless goals: to connect, share, and create with our school community. Whether in the classroom or for marketing a school or for connecting with fellow educators, social media forges new ties and exchanges content in meaningful ways that would have not been possible a few years ago.


Keep the conversation going. What do YOU feel is the role of social media in education? Please let us know by posting your opinion in the comments section below.


Photo Courtesy Mox & Dom

Brendan Schneider

Director of Advancement at Sewickley Academy

Brendan Schneider is the CEO and Founder of SchneiderB Media, a blog dedicated to helping schools use the power of the interest to achieve their enrollment and communication goals. He is also the founder of The MarCom Society, and SEO Coach, his DIY SEO software for schools. He is also the Director of Advancement at Sewickley Academy.