Social media is often portrayed as detrimental to students’ learning and growth. Reasons cited include time wasted in chatting and engaging in other social media related activities such as commenting, tweeting, posting pictures etc. But, as every thing has at least 2 aspects, social media also aids students in STEM (Science, Math, Engineering, & Technology) education.
A study conducted by University of Kansas found out that students who learnt scientific argumentation through social media learned the argumentation components better than their peers who did not use social media. As our lives are becoming more and more digitally active, we can’t deny the powerful impact of social media and technology on our young children.
So, here are 3 ways social media is helping students learn science in a fun and engaging manner.
1) Facebook science groups
This is the mission of one of the science groups on Facebook – Students 2 Science: “To Inspire, Motivate and Educate Students to pursue careers in STEM”. Through Facebook groups like these, science students benefit from a well organized like minded group of students and teachers/mentors devoted to empowering
2) STEM based Twitter feeds
Twitter does not fall behind when it comes to helping students learn science and math. Like Facebook, there are multiple Twitter handles and feeds dedicated to science as well as STEM. There are Twitter accounts such as ‘STEM + Youth’ which specifically target student driven STEM education. The beauty of such Twitter feeds is that not only they are free to access by anyone who has access to internet; they are also non-discriminatory with respect to gender, race, and socio-economic status of anyone interested in joining such groups. Regular contests and events are organized in such groups to creatively engage young students in learning science and math. Students tweet their findings and insights via real time tweets which adds to the dynamic flavor of online learning.
3) Science blogs for students
Good science blogs contribute in a very meaningful in helping students see science as an interesting subject. Blogs such as ‘Science Sparks’ are specifically geared towards introducing young children to science in a fun and exciting way. Such blogs target young & budding scientists and include engaging content about science and scientific experiments. Content is presented in a simple yet interesting manner so as to keep the young readers focused and efforts are made to present the scientific experiments by linking to the everyday phenomenon we see all around us. Everyday phenomenon and observances such as “What makes Popping Candy Pop?”, why the color of sky is blue, and how a rainbow is formed are explained in simply and lucidly.
Also in the repertoire of science based blogs are blogs such as ‘The Frog Blog’ which is a great blog written by enthusiastic teachers. This blog has captivating articles on topics ranging from astronomy to zoology and all types & ages of audiences benefit from this blog. With teachers writing the articles to bring “current scientific research from the lab to the classroom, such blogs present a wonderful opportunity to the students to explore science beyond their often dull and lifeless curriculum”, in the words of blog founder – Humphrey Jones.