Using social media to extend learning

A few weeks ago we spoke to a group of students about how they see the systems we use in the college. Although they felt LearnZone (Loughborough college’s installation of Moodle) and other applications served a purpose, students were asking for an easy and informal space to discuss and receive relevant information without having to login to a college system.

Many students are using social media daily, if not hourly. They have become used to information being pushed to them. The digital divide that once put staff at a disadvantage is diminishing and opening up new opportunities too.

By giving students an informal space to discuss articles, give peer feedback and have conversations away from the classroom we are extending learning rather than just duplicating what has happened in the classroom.

There are a few simple ideas that allow you to try social media with your students…

1. Snapchat

Snapchat is an app available on iPhone and Android. Users post photos that appear for a short time usually accompanied with a caption.
Although many students will be using this to send ‘selfies’ to their mates, it can easily be used by staff to help with revision or repeat some of the key points from a lesson.

When using Snapchat as a tutor we have some guidelines:

  • Create a brand new account. Use your college email address and keep it professional.
  • Get your students to add you, if they want to. You don’t need to follow your students for them to see your ‘story’ (a collection of photos from the day)
  • Keep the eLearning team in the loop so we can help support you and link you with staff who are already using snapchat

2. Facebook

Facebook groups can be a great way of extending learning. The notifications that students receive from the group allow them to keep up to date on the latest conversations taking place. A great use of Facebook is for students to comment on each other’s work or ideas as a method of peer feedback. Facebook live is a great way of engaging learners in extra lessons or revision classes too.

Some tips for using Facebook…

  • Get the eLearning team to create a closed group for you
  • Keep your personal and professional Facebook profiles separate
  • Make sure you and students keep the page up to date
  • Set expectations and some ground rules with students
  • Encourage your students to post tot the page and take some ownership

3. Instagram

Instagram could be a great revision tool. Setting up a class Instagram page, you could create a set of revision cards, add some short videos or equations that students can share with each other. For those teaching creative subjects, Instagram can become a great space for students to share their work with each other and around the world.

Before diving in to Instagram we’d recommend…

  • Setting up a lecturer/class account
  • Exploring Instagram’s terms and conditions
  • Discussing online identity with your students
  • Deciding on some hashtags for your group


If you have any questions or would like to share some examples of how social media works for you and your groups, get in touch with us or via twitter @elearn_loucoll

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