Social Media: Your New Teacher?

Research being conducted around the world reveals how detrimental cell phones and social media can be for teenagers. However, there may be another side of social media that many do not know about. In fact, newly released studies illustrate the benefits that social media can have when used for educational purposes. Through various cell phone applications, students have been able to connect in ways that were not possible without social media.

Recently, colleges across the country have used social media networks, including Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Instagram, to communicate with their students. They convey campus news, make announcements, and release important information. Their ability to do so helps bridge large universities with their students, and makes the students feel a more personal connection with their school. Stephen Boucher, the Director of Marketing and Communications at Southern New Hampshire University states that “We use social media to answer students’ questions, listen to their opinions and take action so that they understand that they are being heard”. In continuation to connecting with already enrolled students, colleges are using social media to communicate with prospective students. Kayla Germain, the E-Media Coordinator at the College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY says “Social media has been key for us and has been a great audience connector not only with prospective students but with prospective parents”. Universities share what life is like on campus through posts on Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube. With the help of social media, the college process has transformed into a system that has become more personal than ever before.

Not only can social media be used for universities, but it can also be implemented in high schools, like RHS. Social media gives students the ability to connect with their classmates efficiently. With new social media networks being created every day, students can now communicate with their counterparts from around the world. While letters are a thing of the past to many teenagers, new online tools have been established to create a different relationship for them. Penfriends, a branch of the University of Cambridge, is one of many applications that helps connect students with other students from around the world. It gives students from various different countries opportunities to learn English, and develop reading and writing skills. Countries like France, Turkey, Ukraine, and Germany have gotten involved in this program.

In fact, over 100,000 schools in 139 countries have joined Penfriends and are determined to creating a global community for students.

Although social media has traditionally been portrayed in a negative light in terms of its effects on teenagers, it helps connect students in a new and modern way. Many view social media in a closed-minded manner, and in order for social media to make an effective change, we as a school must emphasize the importance that it can have on our students.

Anna Meringolo
staff writer

Graphic: Janice Yoon

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