Social Media Gurus
Many on going debates argue whether social media should be incorporated into the classroom. Although some suggest that it continues to interfere with the more important aspects of learning, others feel it gives the option to offer a more meaningful and relevant way of distributing information, and we agree. By welcoming new technology, teachers not only encourage students to engage actively in the material, but they also provide online communities for students that might not exist for them in real life. Social Media has become a part of our everyday routine and this is even more true for students in our increasingly-connected world.
We can hear alarm bells ringing already, or maybe it's the school bell? Who knows? But just in case your having doubts just give yourself a little reminder that Facebook, Youtube, Linkedin & Twitter are in the top 15 sites on the web & that most of these apps and publications are completely free, so why not give it a go.
But HOW are teachers infusing social media into their everyday lessons you ask? Here we've popped together a few of our own ideas on how to best engage students...
Twitter & Facebook
Class accounts can be set up on both, so no need to panic about students coming across your private or own personal pages. With this in mind, it makes managing your class both inside and outside of school that little bit easier. Daily updates & posts mean that you can provide quick, easy and immediate information to a wide spread audience, whether it be an unexpected absence or reminding them to prepare for an upcoming test. Sometimes it seems impossible to contact the younger generation by email, so this way, questions can be asked and answers given in a matter of minutes. Not to mention links to tomorrow's homework can be uploaded, so you can be confident the dreaded 'my dog ate it' excuse will inevitably die out, result!
Twitter offers plenty of useful hashtags for both yourself and your students, such as #EdChat#HigherEd & #Acadamia. These type of hashtags will keep you posted about what is going on in the world of education, enable you to ask for advice from other experts, initiate discussions and make new acquaintances to enlarge your academic circles. Not only this, but following world leaders, or informative accounts could help to influence your children on a daily basis outside of the classroom, so you can rest assured that they're always learning.
Both offer a range of privacy settings and accounts can be locked & made visible only to the invited participants. Facebook groups make it possible for members to connect without actually having to be 'Facebook friends' and people can contact each other through twitter simply by attaching their username.
Pinterest & Instagram
All hail the world of wonderful imagery. Both publications offer constant access to millions of people's work & crafts & ideas, which leaves their audience with no choice but to be inspired. Creating bulletin boards on Pinterest full of lesson plans, useful links & pupils work is a fantastic way of keeping your classes, their parents and other teachers up to date with your creative on goings. Encourage your students to create accounts and share their own work, it's great for them to be praised and acknowledged by people all over the world, and gives them something to be proud of. Both Instagram & Pinterest seem to be taking the teaching world by storm, so make the most of this and follow others to swap lesson plans and classroom crafts, aspire to inspire!
This social network has over 200 million participants, with thousands of students signing up every day. For pupils looking for summer internships, recommendations for coursework or experience, and connections with major players in their interested areas of expertise, LinkedIn can be ideal. By encouraging your class to sign up, it allows them to showcase their skills, experience and unique talents in a very public manner. Social media provides fantastic access to others in a way that was not previously available, helping people to leave positive impressions to businesses all over the world.
As well as the well known networks, it is useful to consider apps for every day teaching too...
'Coursenotes' for ipad and iphone offers a brilliant way of photographing & sharing classroom notes with others. Perfect for exam revision or homework help!
'Schooltube' is a great source for videos by and from students or teachers all over the world. With 2014 being the year of visual media, it is a perfect way to encourage learning whilst in and outside of school.
'Coursefeed' offers a way to locate students, classmates and organise your courses.
'itunesu' gives you the opportunity to create your own lessons and courses from and for iphones & ipads. Share your own ideas and offer free educational content all over the world.