Thirsty for a Strong Instructional Practice?
Social media…Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, and YouTube are just a few examples of how we connect in a digital world. Although many of us might spend a good deal of time trying unplug from the onslaught of technology, most of our students are digital learners and engage with the world through technology more so than any other generation before them. The typical college graduate has logged in at least 20,000 hours playing video games, talking or texting on cell phones watching TV or staring at a computer screen. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gT2E2F0DmyE). Most of our current student population was born into a digital world where they expect to be able to create, consume, remix and share material with each other (http://www.bbc.com/future/sponsored/story/20160309-youth-connection).
Take a SIP of This: Using Social Media in the Classroom
Using Social Media in your classroom is a great way to enhance learning and improve engagement. Benefits of using social media in your classroom include:
Putting concepts into context: Taking the learning out of the classroom and into the real world. Encourage students to look for connections to course content in the news, on You Tube, Facebook, Blogs, Wikis. Students have access to a wide variety of sources—encourage them to search for connections between course content and current events. They can share their findings via Twitter, Facebook, a class blog or a wiki.
Making Learning Fun and Engaging: Start using social media platforms as learning tools, and you’ll soon notice you’re making a big difference into the way your students perceive education and learning.
Helping instructors keep course content up to date: Textbooks take several years to research, write and publish. By the time they are on the self for purchase, they are already out of date. Connecting students to digital resources and tools help keep your curriculum current.
Fostering a sense of community both in and out of the classroom: Social media is about staying connected. You can give your students a platform to discuss important topics, assignments, and general course questions as well as share connections to current events.
Although most students in the college classroom have used or are familiar with sites like Facebook and Twitter, instructors have reported resistance from students when they try to incorporate common social media tools into the classroom. Many students don’t want their personal and schools lives to intermingle (for more information about maintaining safety on social media, see below). Here are some alternative social media tools you can use with students.
VoiceThread is a web-based application that allows instructors to place collections of media like images, videos, documents, and presentations online. VoiceThread allows instructors and their students to have conversations and make comments using any mix of text, microphone, webcam, telephone or an uploaded audio file.
Scoop.it is an online content curation and publishing tool that lets people search for Web resources related to topics of interest, post them on their personal Scoop.it page along with a note, and then publish their scooped content to a blog or other online media. Scoop.it lets instructors vet and curate a set of relevant resources that they can share with their students. In addition to sharing resources with through Scoop.it, Students can create a digital portfolio, explore new material on their own, examine it critically, and then “scoop it” on their own page. Scoop.it can acts as both textbook as well as the project.
Pinterest is a social bookmarking tool for online images. This social media site lets students pull together sources, inspiration, and images related to course material. It provides students with that we’re looking at or that students find interesting, in a visual way that is easy for them to browse.”
Edmodo is like “Facebook” for school. It is a social media and learning platform for teachers and students. You can use Edmodo to inspire real-time discussions and extend learning beyond the classroom.
Still Thirsty? Take another SIP of Using Social Media in the Classroom
- For an excellent review of how to use social media in the classroom responsibility read this article: 8 Things You Should Know Before Using Social Media in Your Course.
- Additional ideas for using social media: 7 Ways Teachers Use Social Media in the Classroom.
- Editorial on the Pros and Cons of using Social Media: The Truth Behind Social Media in the Classroom.