11 Things We Learned About Social Media in the Classroom

Post in News by JosephSanfilippo on 7th October 2013


Social Media has become a part of our everyday lives. This is even more true for students in our increasingly-connected world. We covered some best practices when using Social Media in the Classroom in our recent webinar, and asked participants to post something learned to either Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram (#TeqPD or @TeqPD) for a chance to win a SMART Document Camera or SMART Response system.
Here are some of the highlights from that webinar, including ideas on how to connect with students, foster interaction, and gather resources.

1. It’s Social Media not “Me-Media”

One of the easiest ways to get started using social media is to connect with other like-minded teachers. Growing your PLN (Personal Learning Network) is an easy way to find resources and content appropriate for your classroom. Share your own resources, but more importantly, share other people’s resources too.  During the webinar, participants shared some of their favorite educational websites and people they like to follow.

2. Create a Class Account

Creating an account for social media services such as Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram that is designed for instructional use ensures that your personal social media accounts aren’t being shared with your students. Many teachers and schools are doing exactly this to connect with students and parents to provide resources, school events, and more.

3. Provide Access to Resources

As we saw with the WSHS Math Department, providing students with access to content via Twitter is an easy way to support your students outside of the classroom. Since a Blended Learning or Flipped Classroom model depends on the ability to provide access to videos for students to watch at home, using social media to post these links fits this need perfectly.

4. Provide Feedback

If you expect students to post to social media to turn in assignments, answer questions, and facilitate discussion, be prepared to provide feedback to student posts. This gives the student individual attention that they may not be receiving in class.

5. Build 21st Century Skills

Social media is a big part of career readiness. Many jobs are transitioning their marketing and service to forms of social media. Helping students develop Digital Citizenship skills will better prepare them for the use of social media in the workplace.

6. Twitter as an Exit Slip

Exit Slips are widely used to assess what students have understood as they exit the classroom. Creating an unique hashtag and providing it to your students to use when they respond to a question at the end of a lesson or throughout the evening, provides the opportunity for every student to have a voice and respond. Pro Tip: If Twitter’s 140 characters are not enough, ask the student to “screenshot” an answer typed in another application, allowing them to provide longer responses.

7. Fakebook Page

Use the SMART Notebook Template  or FakeBook to have students create fake Facebook pages that allow them to play the role of people in history or literary characters. This is a creative and fun way to replicate a biography or character study when using social media.

8. Gather Content with Pinterest

There are a vast amount of educational pin boards that include resources from technology in your classroom to exciting classroom ideas for your bulletin board or educational arts and crafts activities for your students. Teachers all over the world are sharing great ideas for the classroom on Pinterest.

9. Scavenger Hunt with Instagram

Give students a scavenger hunt list to find specific things using Instagram. From questions about what students learned on a field trip to finding geometric shapes in their everyday environment, there are endless possibilities for the use of photo scavenger hunts with Instagram.

10. Re-Cap Class Discussions Using Your Unique Hashtag

If you expect students to post to social media, expect to monitor it and re-cap the discussions in class. We covered using Tweetchat and Tagboard to view all posts related to specific hashtags. Both of these are easy, free services to monitor a hashtag without getting distracted by everything else.

11. Educational Options

We understand that many of these social media outlets may not be available in school, or students are simply too young to use them. We provided educational solutions that are safe for students. For example, use TodaysMeet instead of Twitter to facilitate discussion, or use Edmodo as your virtual classroom.
How are you using Social Media in your classroom? Watch the archive of our Social Media webinar, and don’t forget to post to any of our social media outlets for a chance to win a SMART Response kit or SMART Document Camera.


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