Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Argument Writing Assignment - Leonard - Not a final copy!

Bethany Leonard

Argument Writing Assignment

ECUC 452 Teaching Writing

Not a final copy!

Social Media and Social Networking in Education?

                Using social media and social networking in education has been up for debate with many educators over the past few years.  To clarify, I am referring to the tools and online communities used to share information.  Some examples of social media, according to Shantel (2012) are blogs, social networks as in Facebook or Myspace, microblogging like twitter, wikis, YouTube, discussion forums, and photo sharing communities like Flickr. The world of education is continuously changing to include the use of technology and web 2.0 tools.  Salgur (2013) states that, “Social Networking services has become an important part of teenagers’ daily lives” (pg. 35).  Our students will be using social media and social networking tools even if we do not teach with them.  According to Ramig (2009) there are even social networking sites created for students as young as 5 years old.

There are both negative risks and positive benefits when it comes to using social media and or social networking in education.  Should social media and social networking be used in education or are there to many risks involved? Do students need be taught how to safely utilize social media?  Shantel stresses that, “Educators in in the twenty-first century are charged with the responsibility to teach students to read, write, and function responsibly in a digital world” (pg. 54). Will we be doing our students a disservice as educators, if we do not teach them how to use social media and social networking tools in education?

The Risks

                Michelle (2014) supplies a good example of a survey showing that many teachers are afraid to use social media in their classrooms.  In this survey, 1,005 teachers in grades K-12 were asked if they used social-networking in their classrooms.  An overwhelming 80% of the teachers that were surveyed expressed fears of possible negative consequences from using social media tools in their classrooms. Only 18 percent of the teachers surveyed claimed to use social media tools in their classrooms.  Is it possible that the educators from this survey need more education on how to properly use social networking and media in their classroom or are their fears of the consequences substantial even with the proper precautions?

                There is the fear that teenagers will share too much of their personal information on the Internet or inappropriate information that may even get them into criminal trouble (Salgor, 2013).  Salgor (2013) also mentions that social networking may also cause cyber bullying in schools.  Cyber bullying also occurs through home use of social media and social networking.  Riman (2013) suggest the following negative “claims” about using social media in education.  One of the claims includes students spending more time communicating socially online and losing their ability to communicate in person.  She claims that pronunciation and grammar skills have declined.  She suggests that student’s ability to remember pertinent information has decreased.  Finally, Riman insists that instead of studying, students are checking their Facebooks or Twitter accounts.  Many of these negative claims, as an educator, I do not agree with and feel they are more like fears.  There is also no research given to support the “claims”.  
The Benefits

                Social media and social networking can offer a variety of educational benefits according to Salgur (2013) including, encouraging students to work together and collaborate with other students in ways they were not able to in the past.  Students are able to share projects through technology and improve their technology skills as they do so.  Riman (2013) suggests that students learn important skills including resume building, creating personal websites, and online portfolios they will need if they someday work in the business world. Shantel (2012) explains that students are able to listen, watch, evaluate, reflect, collaborate, connect with other learners, plan, and find their voice when using social media sites.

                Learning continues even when the school day is over with social networking and using media sites (Ramig, 2009).  Depietro (2013) explains that social media will allow shyer students, who tend to be nervous about participating in class, a platform to get involved.  Social media and social networks provide a new low stress platform for all students to participate.  In some cases, learners may even respond and communicate with each other more frequently. 


                “It is not feasible and quite na├»ve to suggest that students should be set free on the Internet and told to learn” (Shantel, 2012. Pg. 56).  Ramig (2009) makes many valid points about staying safe and being responsible when using social media and networks in a school setting. 

·         Limit network access so that only the students and select individuals may view and post to it for privacy.

·          Monitor the social network on a regular schedule.

·         Remove inappropriate posts, but also discuss them with the class.

·         Also, share appropriate post examples with the class.

·         Give specific directions about what you are expecting from students when utilizing social media or networking sites.

·         In some situations, allow parents access to the social networks and encourage them to read the posts.

There are definitely some risks with using social media and social networks in education, but with the proper education and precautions, many of the risks can be avoided and addressed when they do arise.   There are far too many educational benefits to avoid using social media and social networks in education.


Depietro, P. (2013). Transforming Education With New Media. New York:  Peter Lang Publishing.

Michelle, R. D. (2014) Teachers found to avoid social media in classroom. Education Week, 33(18),

                4. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1493811260

Ramig, R. (2009). Social media in the classroom-for kindergarteners (!) through high schoolers.

                MultiMedia & Internet@Schools, 16(6), 8-10.


                Euromentor Journal, 4(3), 35-46.

                Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1462851084

Shantel, M. S. (2012). Go ahead…be social: Using social media to enhance the twenty-first century

                Classroom.  Distance Learning, 9(2), 54-59.

                Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1034600860


(I still have two more citations to add!)






  1. Bethany, I enjoyed reading your draft. I really liked how you examined both the pros and cons in your essay. You reminded me that last year, a colleague of mine who is much more skilled in technology than I am, convinced me to partner with her using Edmodo with each of our 6th grade English classes. We sent home a parent letter prior to the onset of the project which outlined our purpose, expectations, etc. and required the parent to sign giving their child permission to participate. We also cleared this with our admin. We used Edmodo as a platform for communicating with our Russian pen pals in between our sending and receiving of actual packages and letters. It's expensive to ship a package to Russia! We also had the students write and video record a biography script, and we uploaded these to Edmodo so our Russian friends could see and hear us in person. It was a very enriching and engaging experience! : )

  2. I like how you clearly state the counterclaim, and point out that these claims are not research-based. I like the strong language used to make clear you are not suggesting "setting them free" and expecting them to learn. They way you describe what you are advocating should help appease the fears that are behind the objections. Done right, this would be the correct policy, in my opinion.