Education is a very integral part of our society, a social institution that shapes individuals and teaches them how to act and behave in certain situations. In simpler time education was a big contributor to society, helping it evolve into something more acceptable. In a time when people were grouped based on their socioeconomic status, people who had a better education were able to overcome these barriers. As we know today from observing societies that lack education, that it has played a huge role in the development of humans, and has resulted in improvement in many ways, in the way we live. Societies which have poor or no education, are often considered backward and do not have the same standard of living as of the more educated societies.
Education, for a very large part, can be credited with the advent of technology and technological boom that allowed human beings to speed up their discoveries and innovations, in a manner that has left no field untouched by technology. From Business to STEM fields, technology has become a great facilitator; even the functions of a society have altered with technology.
The changes in society have mostly been due to how information is transmitted, with people being constantly plugged in and constantly staying informed of what’s going on in someone’s life or what’s going on all over the world. However, whether it is social media or some other form of technology, education as a social institution has been affected by the rapid growth in media.
Media has always been a social institution, lots of perceptions and norms in a society are based on the information they receive. Take colonized regions as an example, even at a time when there weren’t any newspapers; the colonizers were still able to maintain control over people by establishing themselves as the better, superior party. So clearly, based on this we can see that the media has always been a social institution. As technology starts to grow into every aspect of our lives, media is the prime source of information and a growing necessity for life on this planet. TAs it continues to change the world as we know it, today we will only be talking about a certain aspect of it – today we will talk about the importance of social media in learning as well as what is the importance of media in teaching?
So the reason the advent of technology was mentioned earlier was because of the changes it has brought about in our lives. Specifically, with the contributions to information and communication technology, the education sector has been able to benefit greatly. If you log on to Google and search the role of mass media in education Wikipedia page, you will probably find a lot of useful information that can help inform you, but this will be a more analytical take on the topic.
The improvement in how we communicate and interact with people, has affected how children are educated. Our parents were taught in a more complacent and rigid style. There was a right answer and a wrong answer to everything, however in the current education system, children are encouraged to explore the world on their own terms. One way in which education has been affected by media is the books. Not a very long time ago, secondary school students were given huge heavy books, which would make carrying backpacks very difficult. Today many schools use digital portals to issue books to their students, and workbooks are much lighter and portable. Many schools have replaced textbooks with tablets and PCs instead; this has helped students prepare from a very young age, for the digital era. Many schools have also stopped giving paper-based homework to their students. Students are expected to submit their assignments online. Schools that use such a system have invested in building their own portal, where they can create accounts for teachers, students, and administrators. This portal is then used for a variety of purposes; teachers use it to assign homework, maintain records and calculate grades. Students use it to access lesson plans, study material, and resources, and submit all their assignments. Administrators use the portal to maintain checks on teachers and students and make announcements. Gone are the days of morning announcements and updates, several schools use text messages to directly inform parents and students of things, they also have social media pages on platforms like Facebook and Twitter, so that they can keep in touch with their stakeholders. While the portal system has been under use by colleges and universities for several years, schools have also started to acquire this system.
Digital Media in Education
Another way we have seen the role of digital media in education evolve is how students actually gain information. In the age of the internet, students have access to unlimited information, knowledge at their fingertips has caused many students to not pay as much attention in class. Physically going to class in colleges and schools, is becoming redundant, there are so many other places students would rather be if it weren’t for attendance requirements, no one would have gone to class (let’s be honest here, even if we couldn’t find course content anywhere else if there were no attendance requirements, none of us would ever go to class, period.) Due to the availability of video lectures and other resources, learning has become far more accessible. Another way digital media has affected education is through a variety of other technologies, such as smart boards and smart podiums which allow teachers to easily draw graphs and bring out images and other resource material to improve the learning of their students. Many teachers today use a variety of tools to improve learning in their subject; these tools include various activities, books, digitally published research papers and PowerPoint’s.
Also read: Does Technology Has Any Impact On Teaching And Learning?
Media in Distance Learning
Another way, that media has affected learning and education is through using distant learning programs. Many universities from around the world now offer remote learning programs which allow students to enroll in courses from their own remote locations. As the access to education improves around the globe, there are still many people who are unable to attend colleges because of their locations. Developing countries where the societal norms do not support women leaving the house have benefitted greatly from remote learning programs. These programs allow students to continue their education, without leaving their homes. Many students who would not be able to afford to live in the country can also enroll for such programs and are able to learn without having to bear the extra costs of living and boarding in a foreign country. Such has been the role of mass media in distance education, allowing students to benefit from a university’s curriculum, allowing them to pursue their dreams and improve their future without having to burden themselves too greatly. Another method of distance learning that has recently become more popular is MOOC courses. MOOC courses are short courses that are often offered for free, by many Ivy League schools. These courses are available in the form of video lectures and small worksheets. These courses are helpful for students and adults looking to learn new skills or get information about a new topic. Mass media has not only succeeded in making education more accessible it has also made it more engaging and fun.
Social Media in Education
Even the role of social media in education has become undeniable. Many students use social media and the information they gain from it as their primary source of knowledge. Random facts and news headlines designed to give away the most information in the shortest amount of time is how the newer generation is programmed to take in bits of information. Social media is a tool that organizations use to ensure communication with their stakeholders. Today social media has become a terrifying force, being used to correct social ills. So many public officials resign when their scandals get leaked on social media, with the #MeToo movement, much high profile Hollywood Actors and Producers, were forced to step down from their positions. In the education system, there might have been some mistakes being made, such as about of racism and unfairness, where a social media campaign has been able to call attention to the issue.
Since Social Media, has become a tool for social accountability, it has also become a very important tool for researchers and academicians. Since so much of the world is now using social media, and it has become a force to reckon with – not only has social media become a field of study, it has allowed many studies to be conducted as well. Using tools like Survey Monkey and Google Forms, many researches have been able to collect data and build a much larger sample size for themselves. Although there is a greater chance of a validity error, in this case, it is still being used as a method to gather information.
Media & Health Education
So ever since social media became a very large source of information and social action, there is also a lot of research available on the internet regarding health. One thing we all must appreciate the vast amounts of information available online is that there is no price on it and a lot of the resources available are for free. This has allowed people to become more informed and has enabled them to make better decisions. This means better decisions for their own health. There are also internet support groups and other platforms which have allowed people to find a place where they can belong. People, who suffer from stigmatized illnesses, are often cast out from society, but with media, they can not only hope to understand their own condition better but also find people who suffer from similar conditions. Many parents who have children suffering from Autism have been able to form communities online, which allows them to share different milestones in their child’s progress and discuss better treatment options. Even information on topics that may be considered taboo becomes easier for the youth; any questions that one might have about their bodies can be answered through the internet. The internet has also proven to be very helpful when it comes to raising awareness, so when it comes to breast cancer awareness or ALS awareness, there have been several campaigns all across the globe which has helped save lives. So the role of media in health education has been very beneficial.
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Media & Environmental Education
As has been mentioned earlier, a key theme in this piece is the power of social media. Global Warming and climate change are the next big challenge for humanity, and there need to be greater actions taken to curb the effects of commercial activity on our environment. People are still reluctant to admit that climate change exists and that global warming is an actual phenomenon. In order to save the planet, there is a need for coordinated action all across the globe, and in all industries and fields. While there are many people who are busy trying to come up with better and more innovative solutions, but these solutions cannot fix the world on their own. The internet, the social media, and even traditional media are now taking responsibility of educating the masses about the impending doom of climate change lest collective action is taken. The role of media in environmental education is key to raising awareness and promoting sustainable solutions.
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