Being in a classroom can often bring up feelings of anxiety and fear, especially when it comes to discussions, group work and asking questions. Many of us who are introverts struggle with class participation which often leads to not speaking up in class whether it is to ask an important question or give an opinion.
New initiatives in the classroom are looking to change all that. Many teachers are beginning to push the use of social media in the classroom giving a voice to those who prefer to text than talk.
More teachers are branching out to social media to get their students engaged using platforms like Twitter and other backchannel communications. These constant news feeds allow students to not only comment on the current discussions but also pose questions, provide responses for questions and provide their opinions without having to raise their hand.
This form of group discussion allows students to interact, including amongst those who may have never exchanged words before. It also serves well for discussions in which questions need to be asked once the speaker is done. Most importantly though this form of communication provides text space, albeit small, for students who would normally shy away from speaking up.
Although this is a new trend in traditional high school classrooms, college courses have long been using various forms of communication to interact with one another. Online courses especially have used discussion boards and virtual rooms to set up group discussions and Q&A sessions. Think about how many times your professor has said there was no more time for questions; or when another student took up half the Q&A time with a never-ending debate.
Students need more ways to communicate beyond the classroom. Some professors even go as far as setting up a classroom blog where they are better able to communicate their needs in terms of projects, homework, discussions and more.
This flow of communication can not only provide more chances for students to earn higher grades, but also improve their writing abilities and how they socially interact. Students using these platforms sometimes find that they agree with students who they may have previously dismissed.
Some may argue that this is just another way for students to become distracted, but really, shouldn’t it be the students who decide what method of learning is best for them?