School: Understanding Social Media

One of the educational goals is to give young people at least a basic understanding of structure, effects, and connections. This way, they can appear mature in a digitally networked world and help shape society. How this can best succeed is one of the big questions of the present time.


Social Media: Chance for schools

Actually, social networks represent an opportunity for schools to open up, benefit from the exchange and have an even stronger impact on society. How this can work has been shown for years by a growing number of teachers. They use Twitter, Facebook, blogs, or even Instagram to think about what contemporary education means and how they can achieve this. They exchange and develop wild ideas, including concrete projects and teaching concepts collaboratively in Facebook groups or under hashtags on Twitter. Teachers discuss here controversially and support each other, also to bring some movement into the sluggish tanker school.

Teachers have to learn too

Successful dialogue depends on teachers’ willingness to venture into uncharted territory without judgment and to include and value the knowledge and perspective of the student body. That may sound simple, but it isn’t. Experience shows that the three biggest hurdles are value freedom, fear of losing control, and role change from teacher to learner.

Social media offer opportunities for democratization and participation for everyone by overcoming existing hierarchies. Social networks are neither good nor bad, but the product of your work.

Data awareness: A possible goal

Teachers should analyze the challenges of social change in the digital age together with their classes. They need to take different expertise and perspectives into account. Pupils don’t need privacy debates where the lack of data awareness is criticized and adults present their moral appeals and superiority that usually go unnoticed. In order to be able to develop data awareness, they need transparency and knowledge about which data is generated when, who has access to it or what opportunities and risks they offer for the individual or society, and who decides where.

One should not impose one’s own understanding of privacy and data protection on classes. The framework and role of the school system must be rethought if you don’t just want to react to the transformation process, but want to shape it. And because this is a societal challenge, there is a need for further commitment to spaces in which young people can participate and be heard, in addition to schools.