Students are interacting with social media on an almost-daily basis. Integration of social media into lesson planning and social interaction can support the creation and maintenance of a responsive classroom.
A responsive classroom integrates students’ social and emotional growth into their academic learning. This is done through social interaction and explicit instruction of skills during lessons.
Social & Emotional Development
Social media platforms typically have privacy settings that allow certain groups to participate. Adults and teachers need to adjust the privacy settings accordingly.
- Online behaviours require moderation, but teachers do not have to do it alone. Review the comment expectations and how to leave acceptable feedback on posts. Students can decide what to do with comments that are not helpful or supportive, such as flag or suggest the removal of the offending comment.
- Break and reflect. Virtual classroom breaks allow students and their teacher to come together, reflect on progress on a project, milestones reached and work through any problems that have arisen.
- Teachers guide classroom expectations. Students will learn when engaging on a social media platform is allowed and when real-life interactions are expected. Clear classroom guidelines help support understanding and communication. It also reduces behavior issues stemming from confusion about guidelines and application.
Social Media Tools in a Responsive Classroom
- Pinterest can help students upload or choose images and create a virtual “poster” of related interests. Students have the ability to comment or make suggestions on projects as they progress. This tool is useful for some basic research and to showcase findings.
- Build a Facebook classroom page for students to upload their projects and for teachers to add images of them engaged in active learning and problem-solving. Let them take pride in the process as well as the final product.
- Edutopia suggests some useful alternatives of popular sites as students work their way to proficiency—Fakebook and Twister allow students to master the format of the exchange. Kidblog and Edublogs let them develop writing techniques and learn about online blogging platforms.
Practical Examples of a Responsive Classroom
The group activity can involve the use of Pinterest. Each student can post a share on twitter and students get a few minutes to review and comment on each other’s activities. An online forum can be developed for students to read important news and post comments and their own personal developments such as a new baby in the household.
Platforms to communicate directly with parents
Rules and logical consequences for students can be posted on the forum to inform parents as to general behavioral expectations. Blog posts can be posted weekly on what students are learning.
Rules and outcomes are shaped with group collaboration
Using an online forum or Pinterest can allow students to contribute to what behaviors make learning and respect for all participants possible and what they think would be suitable disciplinary measures for infractions.
Individualization of project outcomes
Children can choose which insect to study and whether to produce a blog or podcast. Educational apps and websites can be used to research and interact with academic material. Students can collaborate and develop videos and presentations online about the topic.
Empower children to communicate and care
Global Read Aloud, Physics of the Future and the Global Classroom Project are ways that teachers can use social media to connect classrooms as they collaborate. The world is a big place and students can develop higher social development skills and global awareness by connecting with peers in another country.
Social media can be used for building a strong need to know during instruction in the responsive classroom. Help students to develop appropriate social and emotional skills while building proficiency with various social media platforms.