**Social media platforms are no longer just for college students and techies. Everyone from grandparents to presidential candidates is now using a variety of tools to strengthen their social media footprint and gain public support.
When it comes to the field of education, we’ve recently seen a spike in social media activity from all ends of the spectrum, whether it’s the Ivy Leagues posting on Instagram or teachers brainstorming via Twitter.
Here are some ways that students and teachers can utilize the top social media platforms to enhance their educational experiences:**
*Facebook started off as a “college students only” site (and technically an “Ivy League student only” site when it first launched.) And even though Facebook is now available to people of all ages, it still remains a still particularly useful tool for incoming college students. *
*Remember when you’d drive up to your freshman dorm in your parents station wagon, walk into your cramped dorm room and meet your roommate, sight unseen? Most people born after 1986 do not, because Facebook allows students to connect with other incoming freshmen from their university, before ever setting foot on campus. So by the time they move into their dorms, college freshmen of this generation most likely already know what kind of music and movies their new roommate enjoys; not to mention where they’ve traveled and if they’re in a relationship. *
**Although Facebook helps eliminate some of that surprise element of freshman year, it certainly allows incoming students to feel more at ease as they transition into the college environment.
Twitter allows educators, administrators, students and policy makers to connect like never before. Whether it’s sharing up-to-date information on the latest news in education, or sharing successful lesson plans, Twitter has become a key asset to many educators around the globe. **
**Twitter can also be useful as a sort of online support group for teachers, who have extremely stressful jobs dealing with troubled students acting up in class, tense relationships with fellow teachers or administrators, and complicated new testing rules. Whether it’s for social or professional growth, Twitter is a great tool for teachers to collaborate and support each other online.
Instagram has been all the rage among smartphone users since it launched back in 2010, allowing users to get creative and filter photos of anything their hearts desire. This app is really great for students of all ages, allowing them to share photos of everything from the quad on their new college campus to fall football games. **
**Instagram is also a great tool for students and teachers studying or working abroad. Granted cities like Paris, London, Rome or Sydney don’t exactly need help looking more picturesque – but Instagram is still a fun tool for users to share their amazing experiences living abroad with friends and family back home.
Pinterest is a site that allows you to share anything you find visually appealing on the web with friends and other followers. Although it’s become insanely popular as a resource for wedding planning and home decor, Pinterest is also a fantastic resource for K-12 teachers to share some creative classroom ideas! **
**Whether it’s a new organization technique or a colorful decoration tip, Pinterest is a great way for teachers to get inspired about decorating their physical space or developing unique lesson plans for their students.
Here at Noodle, we’ve also expanded our social media footprint via Instagram! Come follow us @noodleeducation as we post pics of everything education, from crafty classroom tips to college campus humor. **