Social Media and Teaching

For too long, educators have viewed phones and social media as a distraction in the classroom and failed to realize how they can be used as instructional tools. Phones and social media are places where students exist, so why not use them in a productive way? This blog will show you how to implement social media in the classroom and to support students outside the classroom.

Before jumping in, the Stride Professional Development Center wants to issue one word of caution – make sure that you balance these suggestions with the policies and procedures of your school and district.

How can a teacher leverage social media outside the classroom? Here are 5 ideas:

● Promotion – social media platforms are great for showcasing student work, promoting special events/programs, and acknowledging student awards. Of course, you must remember student confidentiality and not use student names if you are sharing that work online.

● Inspiration – As you share the work that occurs inside your classroom, you can and will inspire others. They may see the ideas you are using with your students and want to try them in their classrooms. In other words, social media can establish you as a thought leader in the educational space.

● Extended Learning – teachers can use social media to share blog posts or articles to extend student learning beyond the prescribed reading in the curriculum. You can find real-life topics, articles, and sources for students to continue learning from outside the classroom.

● Creating Connections – social media is an invaluable way to keep connected with parents and connect students with educators, experts, and other students outside their physical classroom and school.

● Digital Citizenship – the best way for students to understand the best practices of using social media responsibly is through experiential learning under the guidance of a knowledgeable teacher.

Just remember that in trying new things, it may not work perfectly – and that’s okay! You can model growth mindset for your students as you take risks to learn and grow. As a tip, make sure to establish clear and specific guidelines. When you bring clarity upfront through guidelines, it helps students connect to standards. These “knowledge bridges” show students how their learning is relevant.

In shifting focus slightly, how do you use social media as an instructional tool within the classroom? There are many ways, but here are just four to get you started:

● Twitter: Tweet or post status updates as a class. What a great way to share moments of “Ah-ha’s” and highlight student learning with these quick tweets. You can use Twitter accounts for a variety of special interest projects.

● Blog: Create a class blog. Let your students write for the world. This gives students the chance to reflect on their learning and share it widely. You can use this to connect to classrooms all over the globe and open your students to the world out there beyond their town.

● Facebook & Instagram: Use Facebook to get feedback for your students’ online science fair projects. Featuring projects in a variety of ways on Facebook or Instagram can allow people to vote for winners, share what they are doing and get live feedback. Ask questions to engage your students in authentic learning. You can use this as a platform to gather research and data for a variety of topics.

● YouTube: Use YouTube for your students to host a show or a podcast because they are forced to interact with the content in a different way while also learning video and audio editing skills.

If you need an example, go to Don Wettrick’s Twitter page and scroll through to see how he leverages social media both inside and outside the classroom.

These lists are not comprehensive but will give you a solid foundation to utilize the world of social media for your students, classroom, parents, and community.

We would love to hear from you about your use of Social Media in the classroom. Comment on any of our social media sites – @stridepdcenter – or send an email.

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