I’ve been hearing a lot recently about how schools and education plans are outdated. While that’s all opinion, there are elements of education that can be updated.
It’s 2018 and social media has taken over in the past decade. We hear about how it has had a negative impact on human development, intellectually and socially, along with the danger of sharing any and all opinions online. However, if used wisely and responsibly, social media platforms could be essential tools for the classroom.
Of course, this is all in moderation. Since it’s not going away anytime soon, let’s learn a few ways to embrace social media into our children’s curriculum.
1. Cyber Pen Pals
Remember pen pals? When you were young, you’d freely write your current thoughts to another kid-stranger, ultimately to get to know them (even though the most important question was “What’s your favorite color?”) This pen and paper method is still quite useful as letters never go out of style. However, get in contact with a fellow teacher (could be in your district or different state/country) and have your whole class connect with another via live Skype sessions, pre-recorded YouTube videos, or simply online.
2. Lights, Camera, Learn
Much like Google, YouTube has an answer to almost everything. It’s not uncommon to use YouTube videos to clearly and visually teach lesson plans. Though, to put a twist on things, you can have your own students create their own tutorials or creative skits on a certain topic or problem. You can keep the video private and only show it via a URL link, but this is great to send to parents to show them what their kids are up to during school hours.
3. Create a Collaborative Blog
A classroom blog is a great expressive tool for students, young and old. Each week have a different child write a blog post. It can be one a topic they choose or provide a prompt. A great idea is to create a chain blog, having each post responding to the previous submission. This could be serious or lighthearted – the possibilities are endless.
4. Tweet, Tweet
One of my high school teachers had an extra credit opportunity that entailed following her on Twitter and completing whatever secret assignment she has tweeted out. This is of course appropriate with a high school audience with students who may already have an account and suitable with various social platforms.
5. Stay Up on the Trends
Social media is changing every day, try not to limit yourself to the big guys in the game. There are many education-focused applications and sites that are useful tools to implicate into the classroom. Try Edmodo or a portal site for keeping track of assignments.
Social media is potentially the education tool of this generation as students are already exposed to cell phones and the internet. We can’t expect them to be interested in handwriting letters as much as they’re interested in the latest viral video. While the purpose isn’t to incorporate cell phone use in the classroom, social platforms are a way to connect to students and speak their language in and out of the classroom.
No matter what, make sure that you, the teacher, are in control of the shared class accounts and the coordinator of any online groups. Supervision is key in creating a classroom-friendly social media experience. Also important - learn and have fun!
Katie Persechino is a writer and content creator. She works for Bostitch Office in the marketing department where she creates various blog posts for the audience of business professionals, parents, and teachers. Most of the time, her writing is focused on office and classroom organization, activities and tips! She believes being organized is being successful.