Using Social Media in the Classroom
Using Social Media in the Classroom
If you have spent any time with children, you know that social media is a huge part of their lives. Let’s face it, it plays a huge role with adults, too! It can be a powerful resource to connect and communicate. So how can educators leverage social media for the classroom?
Communicate with Parents and Students
Social media presents an incredible opportunity to communicate with parents and students. Unlike a static website, social media offers the opportunity for interaction. A parent may not take the active step to go to a school’s website or blog to read about a classroom project, but may get involved after seeing a post in their Instagram feed. Social media also presents an opportunity for interaction. For example, if a teacher sets up a Facebook group for their class, it can be easier (and more comfortable than making a phone call) for parents and students to ask questions. It also allows educators to respond to more immediate concerns, such as questions about that night’s homework. By tapping into the social media outlets that students and parents already use, teachers can bring them into the classroom community. Social media can also help build rapport with students. If teachers and librarians are engaging with students professionally through social media, they can forge a better connection that may carry over into the classroom. Social media can also be a great way for educators to model good digital citizenship which is a crucial skill for students to develop.
Collaborate with Educators
Social media can be a great way to collaborate and partner with other educators, both in your immediate district and around the world. Voxer (which can also be used to collaborate with parents and students) is a great tool for talking with and learning from other teachers and administrators. Unlike other forms of social media, Voxer allows you to send voice messages in addition to photos and text messages. You can also listen to conversations on the go and many teachers have formed learning networks on Voxer to share ideas. The University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education has some great resources regarding Voxer teacher communities you can join!
Find Inspiration (And Lesson Plans)
Want to know how other librarians and teachers are using the latest educational technology? Chances are you can find out on Twitter. Following educational partners on social media channels, like Capstone on Twitter or Instagram, can help you learn about new developments in pedagogy, workshops, or conferences.
Are you looking for great ideas for your next curriculum unit? Social media may be the best place to start! Try searching hashtags regarding your topic on Instagram and Pinterest. You’ll find some fantastic ideas, and if you’re lucky, pre-planned lessons. Social media groups on Facebook are great places to seek out resources as well. An educator’s time is precious, and if someone has already put in the hard work to develop a standards-based lesson plan on your topic, social media can help you take advantage of it. Make sure that you are carefully evaluating sources and following your district’s standards guidelines for lesson plans, but Pinterest and other social media sites are fantastic for gathering inspiration.
Social media can also be a great way to find personal inspiration. Teaching can be a challenging job – finding a community of other teachers on social media can be a great way to find inspiration, share challenges, and talk about solutions.
Pitfalls of Social Media
While social media can be an excellent resource for educators, it can have some potential pitfalls. Before you establish a social media account to use professionally, make sure that you are following all your district’s rules on social media. For example, some districts prohibit “friending” a student on social media. It’s also a good idea to use separate personal and professional accounts. Even if your district doesn’t have these rules, keeping things professional is important. Lastly, don’t overshare or say anything on your profiles that you wouldn’t say directly to a parent or in class.