Social media is a powerful tool and many teachers use it for personal reasons, professional development, and communication with our school families, yet the thought of incorporating social media in our classroom seems to continue to be a touchy subject. I think some worry that students will be distracted and spend more time communicating with each other rather than focusing on the assignment while others worry about cyber-bullying and student privacy and safety. What I have found after curating website articles about schools using social media in the classroom is that all of these issues can be addressed and the use of social media engages students and extends their learning. Social media is here to stay, the students are aware of it and use it at home so why not use it in the classroom. At least then, we as teachers, can be involved in teaching our students the proper and safe way to interact with others on the internet.
I teach in a K-8 grade setting and I have often wondered how to safely incorporate social media in the classroom. Many of my students are too young to set up accounts and those that are old enough may not be allowed to have them. What I have found through my reading is that I can set up a classroom account with my younger students and we can work as a class to create posts. It is also possible to set up individual accounts to blog, text, whiteboard, tag, post links, and create videos even for young students using educational sites like EduBlogs, Edmodo, and Fakebook. Blogging and posting to social media helps students as young as kindergarten with their reading and writing skills and gives students the ability to share what is going on in the classroom through their eyes. By using social media, students are able to connect and collaborate with other students in their school, district, state, country, and world. Not only will students learn from others, but they will contribute to the learning of others and new cultures and knowledge will be brought into the classroom.
Using social media allows us to explore and educate our students on proper digital citizenship. For example, students will learn the proper way to post and what types of information should be shared in a more controlled environment with teacher guidance.
Social media used in classrooms will not be a waste of time if managed effectively. Teaching students how to properly use social media will help prepare them for the future. After reading these articles, I have more confidence in how I can integrate the use of social medial in my classroom and I plan on incorporating it into my computer classroom in the next school year.
Click below to access my curated articles: