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  • This blog is written by specialists from the Education Division of the Inter-American Development Bank. Its objective is to provide arguments and ideas that will spark debate about how to transform education in Latin America and the Caribbean. This blog is a call to action for the reader. An idea, a project, or a question can make a difference.

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    Las opiniones expresadas en este blog son las del autor y no necesariamente reflejan las opiniones del Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo, sus directivas, la Asamblea de Gobernadores o sus países miembros.

    The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Inter-American Development Bank, its Management, its Board of Executive Directors or its member Governments.

    4 ways social media can improve the quality of education

    By - 22 Jul 2016

    by Marian Licheri 

    Elementary age, Indian or Latin descent boy using a smart phone outdoors. He is using social media, texting a friend, video chatting, or learning about his world on the internet. He enjoys exploring new things. He wears a red shirt and a smile. He is sitting alongside a rural road. His village can be seen behind him. Rural mobility.

    Photos and videos. Endless news articles and last-minute reports. Tweets and Facebook comments. Social media are an entire universe full of information of all kinds. And while the experience of browsing through streams and feeds might be overwhelming, these platforms can also be powerful tools to promote and work toward better quality in education.  To prove this point, we show 4 ways in which education initiatives have taken advantage of social media.

    1) #LatamEd: Online discussions about education quality
    This hashtag has been used to organize a series of online conversations between education experts, teachers, parents, students and the general public about the state of education in Latin America and the Caribbean. Recently, the  World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) organized a tweetchat titled “Toward a new leadership in education” which touched on the most pressing issues in the agenda of education reforms across the region.

    2) #LaProfesiónMásImportante: The magic of being a teacher

    Teachers are the cornerstone of education systems. Notwithstanding their importance, the teaching career is often not appealing, with education programs in universities showing low demand from high-performing secondary school graduates. In Chile, for instance, the Elige Educar (Choose to educate) initiative recently released an entire social media campaign designed to encourage young graduates to choose teaching as a career as well as raising awareness among the general public about the important role teachers play in society. Check out one of the videos of their campaign.

    3) Snapchat as a teaching tool

    At Marist College in New York, a teacher became aware of their students’ use of Snapchat. He then decided to send out videos through his personal Snapchat to share real-life examples of concepts from his psychology class. This way, he was able to teach students about complex subjects such as deindividuation and systematic desensitization. This innovative teacher has proven that social media can be a tool to learn even outside the classroom!

     4) #BeAnEngineer: Encouraging students to choose careers in engineering

    Labor markets need more and more engineers, professionals capable of devising solutions to the new type of challenges that arise. Yet, our education systems still face difficulties in diminishing youth’s fear of scientific careers. Exxon Mobil, as part of their “Be an Engineer” campaign, led an interesting exchange on social media through the dissemination of a series of ads that, through humor, made viewers imagine a world without engineers. Check out of the best videos of this initiative

    There are tons of similar initiatives through Latin America and the Caribbean. Join the conversation and tell us, via @BIDEducacion, how do you use social media to improve the quality of education in the region?

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