Health Professions Education, Social Media Teaching and Learning

How to Teach Social Media Use When You Don’t Use It

Teoh Jou Yin Social Media

Social media platforms. So many. Hard to keep up. How are we ever going to be able to teach everything?

My answer to this dilemma is: let your students take the lead and leverage on their experiences.

It’s impossible to always be using the same social media platforms as your students. I know because I’ve encountered this. I use Facebook a lot, and then now I’m using Twitter for academic purposes. But my experience teaching Malaysian students was that they didn’t use either platform and preferred using Instagram, which I utterly dislike (I don’t like Twitter either but can’t be helped. It has made itself more ubiquitously useful despite being a nuisance to me). As far as social media use is concerned, most of the time students already have some fundamental knowledge so it can be a matter of harnessing what they already have.

For example, if I had to teach a class on vlogging and podcasts (and I do neither), I would ask students who their favourite vloggers and podcasters are. Famous social media influencers are examples of quality material which work, so use them as examples – it will also make you come across as cooler to your students (it makes them think you are in-tune with what they like as opposed to trying but missing the mark) and they will enjoy the interactivity.

If I had internet access for the class, I could even play podcasts / vlogs of their choice then the whole class can analyse them together. If not, get students to have discussions about the vlogs / podcasts they like (I presume that people in their cohort may have common interests, best if there are actual examples which everybody can watch / listen together of course), ask them what they like, analyse their strengths and weaknesses etc. Facilitate discussion, ask questions.

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