Social media is a powerful tool for keeping in touch with friends, getting coupons and deals from your favorite businesses, and seeing what your favorite celebrities are up to. It is also handy in your classroom; platforms like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and others have the power to help you forge closer connections with students and parents and enhance the educational experience in your classroom. How can you make it happen? Let the following resources lead the way.
Is Social Media Right for Your Classroom?
Just because your fellow educators are using social media doesn’t mean you should jump blindly on the bandwagon. What do you need to consider when deciding if — and how much — you should incorporate social media into your teaching?
- A piece from Edutopia explains that social media is a unique form of communication that can accomplish multiple goals. It also addresses the myth that using social media in the classroom will lead to students who are always online when they ought to be focusing on other things. The links on the page can give you a feel for how other teachers are using social media.
- While the above article claims that social media is becoming a standard in education, this post from an eighth-grade teacher takes a different approach. Gail Leicht explores the debate over whether teachers should use social media to connect with students, and her conclusion is that she does not currently want to use social media for that purpose. As such, it’s a great counterpoint to consider.
- Tung Tung Chan, an experienced teacher, shares with Social Media Week why she believes that social media has a place in formal education. In her discussion, she tackles the issue that makes some schools hold back from using social media — that is, the lack of established standards to regulate student-teacher interaction.
- SmartBlog on Education summarizes the results of a poll that asked participants about their views on the risks and rewards of social media. The statistics can give you an idea about the general feelings that surround the continuing growth of social media as an educational tool.
Striking a Balance: Guidelines for Using Social Media Safely and Effectively
How can you maintain appropriate student-teacher relationships on social media? How can you coach your students on how to use social media safely? How can you take a balanced approach to social media? The following resources dive into these questions.
- Back in November of 2014, Edudemic published an article about digital distractions and how to deal with them. It goes into strategies you can use to make sure that technology does not take over. Tips include things like creating opportunities for curiosity outside the digital realm and helping students focus on one thing at a time.
- This post at eschoolnews.com explores the boundaries and rules that schools should establish when they embrace social media. For example, the article recommends that teachers not “like” personal photos of students and that in any online classroom space, teachers should make sure that students conduct themselves by the same code of conduct that they do at school.
- If your school does not block social media access on its computers, students become vulnerable to the dangers of cyberspace. This four-minute whiteboard animation video gives succinct advice about how to stay safe on social media. The video’s sense of humor should appeal to kids of all ages. Although it is on a religious website, the thrust of the video is not preachy.
- Education Technology Solutions goes into how you can use Twitter as a teaching toolwithout seeming unprofessional. The principles in the article can be applied to other social media networks as well.
- A post from the University of Phoenix outlines six points for using social media in classrooms. It encourages educators to set a good example, establish online guidelines, and glean ideas from peers. It also delves into how a class Facebook page or Twitter account can be beneficial.
Make the Most of Social Media
Social media can serve as a fun way to establish relationships with students and help them learn. These resources give specific ideas on how you can make social media work for you.
- A brief post from dailygenius.com offers eight ideas that you can use as a launching point for integrating social media into your teaching strategy. The links in the bulleted points lead to sources that provide more details.
- A professor of biology discusses his experiences using Twitter as an educational tool. He wanted to extend the conversations beyond what happened in the physical classroom, and that is what he accomplished. Even people not enrolled in his class gave comments on topics the class was discussing.
- There are some outside-the-box ways that you can use Twitter and other social media platforms in your teaching. This post suggests things like letting your students design your Twitter page, live-tweeting field trips, and inviting guest tweeters to enrich class discussions.
- Podcasting as a social media tool often sits in the shadow of mammoths like Facebook and Instagram, but these podcasting ideas are fresh enough to merit your attention. You could have your students record current events broadcasts or use podcasting to encourage an interest in music or journalism.
- You can use a class blog to help your students hone their writing skills, to keep everyone updated on homework assignments, or for a host of other purposes. Gain inspiration from this list of class blogs that is arranged by grade level and subject.
- The popular photo-sharing platform Instagram can help you engage with your students in new ways. This list detailing surprising ways to use Instagram in the classroom suggests that you use the platform to showcase students’ accomplishments and organize scavenger hunts
- YouTube is a handy tool for flipped classrooms, but its usefulness extends to more traditional setups as well. Classroom in the Future shares some intriguing ideas about how to use YouTube to your advantage.
Social media is more than a way to find cute cat videos and read the gossip about upcoming movies; it is a powerful entity that can impact how you teach and how you relate to your students. The above resources can help you refine your teaching skills related to social media.
This article appeared on Edudemic on February 3 2015 and was written by Joy Nelson.