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Social Media Exploration

Jun 11, 2014

Now that it's summer, and you may [or may not] actually have some time to yourself, I bet you are already thinking about next school year! NO? .... Well ok, we may be the only ones thinking about that just yet. And today, I am thinking about exploring the depths of social media in the classroom. I am sure most of you have dabbled in social media at least once or twice....this week. Who hasn't?! Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, blogs.. I'm sure you can name a lot more. But would you use any of these in your classroom?

"Fewer than twenty percent of teachers use social media in the classroom, although most do personally." [US News and World Report]

Is this because we don't want to be bothered bringing in yet another media? Or maybe because we don't need another distraction in the classroom? Let's face it, technology is ever, EVER evolving and at some point everyone needs to accept it. Over 60% of 13-17 year olds spend more than 2 hours per day on social networking sites. [American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry] Why not devote some of those 2 or more hours to the benefit their own personal education. (Now personally I consider myself a Why Not? person opposed to aWhy? Person for reasons I'm not entirely sure nor want to get into.) So, why notintroduce social medias into the classroom. Why not engage students on media types where they spend a good chunk of their day? Why not choose to work with the inevitable and introduce social media best practices. Why not get your feet wet or just dive into the pool? Sure it might be a little more work to tweak your lesson plan around new social media activities. And yes, you might need to create some new guidelines around devices [if you decide to use actual devices in the classroom.] BUT WHY NOT at least try it out.

You don't need to use devices in the classroom to introduce social medias. You can use the idea of social media. A few ideas:

Create a social media profile for a historical or literary character.

Organize a classroom Twitter [bulletin board] feed where students "post" what they learned in today's lesson, questions or overall thoughts. Under 140 characters, of course.

Create a Pinterest [bulletin] board and post student's creative work.

Design an Instagram post around a "person of interest," including a drawn/printed photo or picture and a post of how that person of interest may describe the photo.

However, for you adventurous or Why Not? types, you can actually use different social medias in and outside the classroom:

Make a video explaining a certain topic and post to a classroom YouTube Channel.

Use a Twitter Hashtag to facilitate a class/subject discussion.

Brainstorm before beginning a new project on Pinterest. Have students describe/caption their pins relating back to the project ideas.

Now in order to actually make using social medias work for your classroom- you will have to come up with some guidelines. Perhaps facilitate a classroom discussion on their ideas for classroom social media rules and guidelines. Once you have your rules in place and posted, you need to establish SCHOOL SPECIFIC ACCOUNTS for social media. This account, in my opinion, should be separate from their [and your] own personal accounts. This should eliminate any gray areas within school and personal social profiles.

Whether or not you are actually using social media or just the abstract notion of social media, it is a great way to engage your students. Grab a cup of coffee, log into pinterest and explore. Let your creativity flow. Take the plunge. Dive in. Test out the waters. [Or any other swimming related phrasal verb.] You will thank yourself in the long run.

Have you used social media in your classroom? Please share your comments below!

Below is a great illustration of social media in schools:

The Use Of Social Media In Education - infographic

Category: Tips

About The Author

Ashley Bartko