This is a guest post from Amy Williams. Amy Williams is a free-lance journalist based in Southern California and mother of two. As a parent, she enjoys spreading the word on positive parenting techniques in the digital age and raising awareness on issues like cyberbullying and online safety.
What items come to mind when you think about classroom supplies? Do you envision notebooks and number two pencils? Your list probably included staples like erasers, crayons, and glue sticks, but did you consider how social media can be a powerful learning tool in the classroom?
Social media has the power to take what students enjoy and extend lessons that offer students real world applications. Instilling a love of learning is no easy task, especially in a world that is constantly changing with fancier and brighter screens. Our students’ fascination with technology makes it important for educators to integrate lessons and increase classroom participation by embracing our children’s favorite means of expression: social media.
The Benefits Of Social Media In The Classroom
Even though social media has gotten a bad rap in the news, it has the possibility to extend learning opportunities beyond the building’s walls. Smartphones, tablets, and laptops are wonderful gadgets, but they can be a real distraction during instruction time. One way to avoid constant technology monitoring is to harness this love for social media and use it productively in the classroom.
Listed below are 6 benefits to using social media in education:
- Lower-income students will have access to technology and chances to build these skills. Social media has the power to help overcome the digital divide when it comes to different economic groups.
- It allows quiet or reserved students the opportunity to be heard.
- It offers relevant ways to check for understanding.
- Simultaneously fosters learning and technology skills.
- Activities are shared with authentic audiences.
- Content is meaningful to our younger generations of visual learners.
7 Tips For Integrating Lessons With Social Media
Integrating social media with our curriculums opens a world of possibilities for a teacher and the classroom. However, teaching with technology often poses it’s own set of problems from equipment failure, down networks, and dead batteries. Social media is no exception and often there will be a few kinks to work out before using it in a lesson.
Here are some suggestions to help bring social media into the classroom:
- Keep your professional/classroom pages separate from your personal profile.
- Know the school’s policy on social media and privacy.
- Get a parent or guardian to sign a permission slip allowing you to post student work or images on class websites.
- Make sure that students are well versed in social media etiquette.
- Create classroom accounts for students to limit personal distractions during class.
- Check the resources and beware of inappropriate pop-ups or advertising.
- Be familiar with the platform and understand the privacy settings, potential problem areas, and ways to troubleshoot.
Ideas To Bring Social Media To Life
After managing to successfully introduce social media into lessons: the real fun can begin. Here is a compilation of ways teachers have upgraded lesson plans to include social media:
Create a group or page for each class on a social media outlet. You can post assignments to keep students and parents informed about approaching deadlines or projects.
- Use Twitter to follow threads or current events by using hashtags to sort topics. Connect with experts, authors, classes around the world, and more by interacting with tweets.
- Set up a blog to take journaling to a new level! Help students hone their writing skills to create and display their works for a bigger audience. Blogging has the potential for feedback from peers, professionals, and people other than a teacher.
- Utilize sites like Class Dojo to keep parents informed on class behavior or for positive classroom management.
- Create concept videos using Vine or YouTube. This can be a group or whole class project that allows students take the reigns while getting creative, having fun, displaying their best work, and gaining a deep understanding of the topic.
- Use Pinterest boards to organize concept maps for any topic. This works great for biomes, animal classification, heritage studies, and more.
- Use quiz sites like Kahoot or trivia games to make reviewing topics fun. Students use computers or Smartphones to answer quizzes on various subjects while you are able to measure comprehension.
- Use Instagram or other photo services to host a scavenger hunt that requires students to post items that fit a certain theme. This can be adjusted to any grade level easily. For instance you can have them look for objects that start with a certain letter or post items that are related to a historical figure.
Educators are always on the lookout for new ways to use social media in the classroom. Do you have any tips for using social media with lessons?