As education becomes more of a necessity for the future workforce, educators and parents are constantly looking for new ways to encourage and motivate students to achieve more academically. However, they often overlook the primary ways to get students to be motivated and inspired to achieve higher education. Often the solution is to set academic standards higher for students but what might actually help students is to communicate with them on platforms that they are already using and encourage them to pursue careers in creating digital content. According to the latest earning and unemployment data, those who earn higher education still on average earn more than those with just a high school diploma and unemployment rates reduce the higher the degree. Here are four simple ways to incorporate the web and social media into your institution to help motivate and inspire students to achieve higher academically:
- Integrate Information on One Platform- Michelle Obama’s “Reach Higher” initiative launched the website BetterMakeRoom.org, which helps students find out information about college as well as encourages them to turn their higher education journey into a social media narrative. Students are encouraged to take photos and tweet about their academic achievements, journey, and goals. The website then encourages students to use the hashtag “#BetterMakeRoom” so that the site can collect the posts and publish them on their website. The program creates a curated platform that has college-bound students connect with their peers to encourage one another to “reach higher”. In this way, “Reach Higher” has created a way for students to talk about their stories on social media to help inspire and encourage their own peers. The initiative creates a digital space for students to connect with others hoping to earn higher degrees as well as connect with universities and programs they are interested in. Other organizations and institutions can follow suit by creating a similar web page and creating a hashtag that helps group social media postings together and create a singular platform for conversations between students and higher education leaders to be cultivated.
- Use Social Media To Build Connections- In order to reach students institutions need to be on social media in some form and use these platforms to build connections between students and your institution. According to a study that looked at the effect of using Twitter for student engagement and learning, about 94% of first year students are using social media in some way. The study concluded that incorporating a social media platform such as Twitter for education yielded positive effects. Using Twitter appeared to improve communication between students and faculty by having a form of communication that they were already using in their digital lives. The students also seemed to be actively learning and more responsive through this outlet than through traditional assignment outlets. The main part of inspiring and motivating students to achieve higher education is to communicate with them to understand their goals and career ambitions. However, many institutions rely on campus visits or information brochures to reach students. Institutions need to be more active in the digital world to reach out to students and social media is the fastest, cheapest, and most reliable way to create that conversation with students.
- Implement Apps- Technology can be used not only to communicate with students but also to show them that learning and achieving higher can be fun. Many schools and programs are using technology to their advantage to help create active online learning environments for their students. One mobile and effective way to get students to enjoy learning is through mobile apps. From practicing math equations to high intensity test preparation such as for the SAT or even the GMAT, there is an app for every academic need. The best part is that institutions can develop their own apps that fit their needs and goals. Many universities use apps for current students to get notifications about campus activities, register for classes, and other on campus usage. However, institutions should look into developing apps that help encourage prospective and first time college students to look into achieving higher academic goals. These potential motivating apps can be something as simple as an active way to pass information about programs that the institution is offering or a way to directly connect students to the appropriate advisors.
- Encourage Online Learning Opportunities- One of the main concerns for high school students about college is not just the costs of tuition but also the costs of transportation to a university. However, there are ways for institutions to encourage students to earn their degree through the convenience of online classes. Many universities and programs are already using online platforms to deliver successful online classes and learning environments. Through digital spaces such as Google Classroom or Hangouts, students and professors are able to connect from all over the world. The availability of online courses allows students to learn at their own pace and make it more convenient to earn a higher degree.
Creating a “college-going culture” to encourage students to achieve higher education is all about communicating with students in the digital world and showing them connections between their lives as students and their lives as employees with degrees. Motivating students stems from showing them how to master a skill and using digital platforms such as social media to give them access to information for higher education makes it easier for them to see higher education within their grasp.
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