7 ways social media can improve learning

Students and instructors can work together through social media platforms

Social media has opened the door to new forms of engagement in the classroom. Writing for Teach Online, Terry Anderson discusses how several social media platforms can help students learn.

Facebook groups

Student-led Facebook study groups are particularly useful for sharing insights, questions, and tips. Groups can easily be expanded to include both current and former students in a class, allowing students to collect a trove of resources that can be constantly expanded.


Twitter is a great resource for students and faculty alike to quickly send out updates and other important information. In some cases, hashtags used in class may even generate so much conversation that they capture the attention of outside users.

Curating tools

With digital curating tools, educators can keep class materials and resources organized in one location. Information can be collected with commercial tools such as Pinterest, and even those specifically designed for educational purposes such as Learnist. Instructors could even create course-relevant playlists on YouTube for students.


Faculty members have been experimenting with blogging platforms like EduBlogs and WordPress to create a space for students to post content. Information can be shared just with the class or the entire institution. 

Social media can help make advising sessions more meaningful too


Networked tools that help students share documents facilitate collaboration. With tools such Google Docs, students always have access to the same versions of documents that their classmates are simultaneously using.

Multimedia platforms

Sometimes instructors need to use text and still images in addition to audio and video in online discussions. Social networking tools like VoiceThread make it possible to share video, audio, and text with participants during live interactions.

Social studying platforms

Ready-made social studying platforms like Piazza offer a space for students and faculty to collaborate on course material. Faculty can address students' questions and concerns and keep tabs on their progress. Advanced features such as email or text updates keep students informed about course developments (Anderson, ContactNorth/Contact Nord, 10/24). 

What do students want from technology?

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