Many people assume that social media is just for fun and spending hours reading posts and talking to friends; people can get lost in hours of enjoyment. The photos, the comments, and the entire makeup of the page offers all of us the opportunity to experience a social outlet.

Productive use.

So can this new wave of technological society be used in an educationally productive way? Many people would think that something like this could not be possible since social media appears to be the anti-education distraction of most students. But one of the keys to teaching and effective learning is taking an idea and making it fun for students, so what better idea than to use social media in an educational way?

If students like social media so much, there must be a way to use social media to make learning more fun. Does the idea still sound a bit crazy to you? Read on then, and you may find out what one educator has already done on Facebook that is surprising.

Buffelgrass Shall Perish fan page.

Developed by a teacher in Arizona, Brian Kievit, Buffelgrass Shall Perish is the brain child of his students. The teacher decided to use a social media page on Facebook to do a project with his students. The Facebook page is completely created by his students. He inspired them by asking them in his science class to decide upon a problem in their local community and asked them to solve that problem. The idea was to use a real world problem solution format to get the students active.

The problem.

Buffelgrass, which is known to be affordable cattle feed, became the topic decided upon by the students. While it is a cheap product for farmers, it destroys the natural habitat around it, wrecking havoc on the natural ecosystem it invades. The other issue is that it has an incredibly long shelf life and will long be existence even after all life on earth is gone.

Power to the students.

The students realized they needed to be active in telling people about all of the negative effects of the plant. In an attempt to get the problem noticed, the idea of developing a Facebook page sprang up. The students also created a rap song and posted it on Youtube. This learning community started to spread the word, and now several states have become aware of the problem.

Not only did the students get information out, they effectively problem-solved while creating a community online that has promoted some very effective outreach about the issue.

What can teachers do?

So, teachers, what can you do to try and utilize social media in your classroom? It is not unheard of, obviously, and Brian Kievit’s student assigned project is a case in point. The more fun you can make the educative process, the more problem-solving skills the students will learn, and the better educated they will become.

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