As a father of five, I know how difficult it is to keep up with changing technology. And when making aliyah, I realized the immense importance of social media for my children. I started a new life in Israel for my children, and social media provided a way for my kids to still hold on to their old lives.

Friends and family use social media as a point of contact.

Without social media, I would miss out on a lot of my family “news.” My friends use social media for everything, from sharing a first baby picture to telling the family that a loved one passed away.

But how valuable is social media for students?

More valuable than I assumed.

Social Media Connects Teachers and Students

Teachers are leveraging social media’s live options on Facebook and Twitter to help their students. Professors often host live lectures or use these platforms to:

  • Offer after-hour help to students
  • Offer extra help to classes
  • Provide assignments or updates

Social media will continue to thrive in the education sphere. And I’ve even had teachers ask me to join private Facebook groups or to add them on social media to keep updated on the class’ progress.

I’ve seen some teachers kind of annotate an IG post to provide direction on some lectures to students.

It finally hit me that social media has a mass reach in the world of education. We’re living in a changing time where teachers are “hip” to technology. But there are differences with the tools used across the world.

Statcounter lists the most commonly used social media sites as:

  • Facebook – 84%
  • YouTube – 7.89%
  • Pinterest – 4.06%
  • Twitter – 1.75%
  • Instagram – 0.9%

I didn’t realize the extent social media was a part of the classroom until I started to look at my children and their use of social media.

My son was in Facebook groups, and I thought he was just wasting his time until I realized that this is how kids join study groups. Sure, he was also chatting with his friends and people back in the states, but he was using social media as a study tool.

Social media breaks down the barriers for younger kids so that they’re able to ask for help and join discussions that would otherwise happen between teacher-and-student rather than with the entire class.

It opened my eyes to how useful social media is for students in today’s world filled with technology, smartphones and internet-connected devices at every corner.

As someone who uses social media daily, I should have known how integral social media is in today’s educational world. But I missed the mark, and I believe many parents, especially of teens and younger kids, won’t realize how connected today’s classrooms are.

There’s a whole new sense of community in the classroom that’s been fueled by social media. Teachers are even encouraging their students to use social media to discuss difficult topics. One teacher from New Jersey had her kids using Twitter to discuss meiosis. School communities are stronger thanks to social media, and this should be encouraged by us parents.