In recent years, many schools have cautiously begun to let up the reins on electronic device usage. Countless teachers each year find themselves in hot water over inappropriate use of social media. I know teachers on both the pro and con side of using social media. Today, Amy K. Williams explores some of the potential benefits that you can have if you decide to integrate social media into your teaching.
10 Ways To Integrate Social Media In The Classroom
Far too often, we hear about all the negative aspects of social media and how it is harming our youth. It’s easy to dismiss social media as a resource in the classroom due to the tales of cyberbullying, online predators, and sexting. However, we need to realize our students enjoy using these platforms, because they are entertaining and provide creative outlets for communicating thoughts, feelings, and ideas. As educators, we can reclaim the thrill of learning by harnessing our students’ excitement for social media by integrating social media into our everyday lessons.
- Create classroom accounts for every student to utilize for school activities only
Unfortunately, a lot of illicit and negative behaviors surface on social media. Whether it’s cyberbullying or sharing inappropriate photos, students need to know that school is a safe place. By allowing students to create “school only” accounts, you will be keeping activities class friendly and bypassing a lot of stress and drama.
- As a class, develop a social media and technology contract clearly stating expectations and consequences
This is a great activity for students to begin discussing proper etiquette and the role social media plays in society. At the same time, we are garnering feedback from students about their expectations for peers and adults on social media sites. After creating the contract, students will have no doubts about how they should behave and what will occur if they break the rules.
- Use social media accounts designed specifically for the class to post assignments, share notes, take polls, and provide links to additional resources
This will be a valuable tool for students, parents, and yourself. By allowing students the ability to access this information from anywhere, you are eliminating the hassle of forgotten worksheets, spelling lists, project rubrics, study guides, and assignments. Social media can keep everyone in the loop and maybe, just maybe, prevent a frantic late night call from frazzled parents.
- Send children on a media scavenger hunt
Whether you are studying Civil Rights or geometry, encourage children to find visual representations that fulfill your clues. For example, use Instagram to challenge children to snap images of geometric shapes, angles, or combinations while using hashtags to make it easier to share photos. This can be an incredibly fun and rewarding way to extend lessons into the real world.
- Take a field trip or connect with another classroom across the world
We are no longer limited to direct lessons from textbooks or archaic educational film resources, because social media allows us to introduce and interact with people from around the world. As an added bonus, children can literally have the world at their fingertips with the ability to virtually visit anyplace.
- Use social media sites to follow trending stories, uncover new research, or watch news unfold in real time
Today’s children can simply follow stories, scientists, reporters, hashtags, or news outlets for up-to-the-minute data and reporting.
- Create social media profiles and posts representing or role playing as people from history
This is a great way to make history come alive for students, allowing them to connect personally with figures, historical periods, and important events without falling asleep. Imagine the juicy tidbits Thomas Jefferson or Amelia Earhart might have shared on Twitter or Facebook.
- Film or direct short videos using social media apps to address new concepts or historical events
Most students enjoy using Vine, Dubsmash, or any of the numerous animation apps available today. Channel their inner Spielberg to develop meaningful content that allows them to process knowledge through a visual medium they enjoy.
- Use Pinterest to create concept maps for different topics
Pinterest is much more than artsy inspired challenges for the mom crowd. Pinterest allows students to organize data, resources, and facts all on one “board”. This can be a valuable tool and resource for research, writing, science concepts, and more!
This fun game based platform isn’t necessarily a traditional social media app, but it does allow students and educators the opportunity to engage, interact, and receive feedback similarly to social media. Students use laptops, tablets, or even cell phones to create user id’s, log onto tests, and compete with others in the classroom. Teachers can use tests already created or develop their own, which allows for an entertaining way to review and check for understanding.
What tips or ideas do you have for integrating social media into everyday lessons?