10 Great Ways to Use Social Media in Classroom
When you try to think of the favorite activity of today’s students, you’ll most probably come up with the obvious answer: social media. It seems like students of all ages are obsessed by it. These social media channels have mesmerizing power, so they can often become great distractions in the classroom. What most teachers don’t realize is that they can use social media to their advantage. These platforms have the power to enhance the collaboration and healthy competitive spirit in the classroom.
In the continuation, I’ll share 10 great ways to use social media in the educational processes.
1. Set an example
Students learn plenty of new things every single day. However, they rarely get precise instructions on how to use social media platforms. Thus, they rely on their intuition and the examples they see from other users, which don’t always lead them in the right direction. It’s time to set an example. Explain how social media can help them learn and establish a great online reputation. Be a great example for them and introduce them to the concept of responsible digital citizenship. This Pinterest Board can get you started, it's called: Social media etiquette and netiquette lesson plan resources
2. Connect the entire classroom in a Facebook group
Create a private group and invite all students to join. Be careful before you take this step; you have to make sure that every single student in your class has access to a smartphone, tablet, or computer. There are underprivileged families that may not buy phones for their children. You should also talk to the parents since some of them might not approve their children to have Facebook profiles. If you have the green light, you can form the group and start posting discussion topics. If there is a particularly interesting discussion in the class and you want to continue it while it’s still hot, you can take it to Facebook.
3. Ask your students to blog
Blogging is a really fun activity for students of all ages. Explain what a blog is and ask them to pick a niche they are passionate about. It doesn’t have to be related to the curriculum. Then, tell them how to conduct research and develop plagiarism-free blog posts. You can discuss those blogs once a month in the classroom, and all students can post comments on each other’s posts.
4. Invite guest speakers
You can easily use social media platforms to present speeches by guest speakers in the classroom. Skype video conferences are cool, but you can also connect through YouTube and Facebook. Thanks to technology, your students will have access to new resources for learning and inspiration. MysterySkype is the great option and it is easy to find other classes to connect with all over the globe using you PLN.
Twitter is an extremely fun network for students. If all students in your class have phones with Internet access, you can organize an active Twitter discussion during class. Think of a hashtag related to the discussion and ask them to conduct an online research and post a tweet with an interesting fact in 15 minutes.
6. Host a podcast or video channel
Use YouTube to publish your own educational videos or podcasts. If you don’t have enough time to maintain the channel, you can search YouTube for relevant content and play it during class. Then, you can all talk about it.
7. Start pinning
Pinterest is a great website that students and teachers can use for collecting educational resources. You can ask them to create separate boards for related topics, and ask them to follow each other’s collections. Then, you can choose the best resources and present them in class. For example, you can ask your students to pick the most inspiring traveling destinations, find different facts, and create Pinterest boards that they will present as projects for geography class.
8. Connect with other classrooms
This is how you’ll enforce the bond between the students in your class: you connect with other classrooms and you inspire a healthy competitive spirit. Have you seen the Physics of the Future project? It’s a great example of online collaboration. The students research different topics and share their findings with the community via Google Hangouts, podcasts, and other methods communication. Then, they engage in a collaborative learning process. The Global Classroom Project is another example you can learn from.
9. Create a Facebook profile as a class
You can create an official profile of the class and post updates that all students and parents can see. You can promote the achievements of your students, and post frequent updates on daily experiences.
Flickr is a great place where your students can find images for their projects but have you considered making contributions to it? Organize a field trip and ask them to take photos with their phones. Assign random hashtags (#happiness, #architecture, #sunset, #nature, or anything else you can think of), which will motivate them to take certain types of photos. Then, you can choose the best ones and post them from your Flickr profile. This project will make your students aware that they can make meaningful contributions to the world of Internet.
You’ll need to be careful with the way you allow your students to use social media during class since these platforms can easily become a great distraction and every school has different policies as to what they allow. Discipline your students and explain the importance of social media as an educational tool. If you notice that a certain method is not yielding good results, you can always try something different. The important thing to keep in mind is that social media platforms have great educational potential. It’s time to start exploring Them!
Author: Maria Castle is a writer and a social media expert. She works with students and teachers, motivates them to learn new technologies and shows how to use them effectively. Maria works as a writer for an online students’ portal, Scholar Advisor . She has extensive experience in online tech, marketing, and social media.