At eebudee, we’re passionate about promoting safe social media practices for kids and their families. And this week, we’re exploring how social media is being used inside the classroom. Once seen as a distraction, more and more teachers are now using social media platforms to enhance lessons and make learning more fun.
According to Dr. Richard J. Light, a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, the use of social media platforms in schools can enable engaging group learning activities, or “communities of practice,” where young learners interact and share ideas.
Education World reports that, in the classroom, social media is increasingly used to encourage students to connect with each other and the world, and outside of the classroom, schools use social media (such as newsletters, tweets, and school/PTA Facebook pages) to communicate with parents and updatethem about special events and daily activities.
Blended learning and social media
With the concept of blended learning gaining traction in classrooms across the nation, it’s no surprise that social media is also becoming a popular teaching tool. (Blended learning is a hybrid teaching methodology that promotes e-learning in conjunction with traditional classroom methods.)
One such example is Blackboard, an online, educational social media platform where teachers can upload videos, recorded lessons, games, quizzes, and other learning material to a content library that students can access from any device. Students can learn topics at their own pace, easily catch up on material if they are out, and participate in online interactive discussion boards.
Blackboard helps students stay engaged in their learning at home and in the classroom.
Schools that are adopting social media
One proponent of social media use in the classroom is Jim Asher, the Principal of Jackson P. Burley Middle School in Albemarle County, Virginia. Jim sees social media as a great way to build a sense of community within a classroom.
In addition to using Blackboard, teachers at Burley Middle School are encouraged to implement a classroom Twitter account to connect students with the world, as well as share articles, ideas, and graphics.
Jim explained on Edutopia that with Twitter, the entire class can have “real-time dialogues with experts, museums, publishers, journalists, and more.”He noted that his students were excited when a major library retweeted details about a project the class was working on.
Sharing on Instagram
Instagram can also be used in the classroom to showcase student work and supplement auditory learning with visuals. Jim explained that one of his teachers took videos of student artwork and posted them to his Instagram account.
Since elementary and middle school students are too young to have their own Instagram accounts, teachers often set up their own account, or an account for the classroom as a whole.
Creating video blogs
At Jason Lee Elementary School in Portland, Oregon, Principal Isaac Cardona said that they are piloting a program where students in their middle school leadership class will create online video blogs that will be shown in the classroom in place of intercom announcements.
The idea behind the program is to build computer literacy and allow students to express themselves online just as they would on pencil and paper. Isaac explained that this program will let students use technology to plan, film, and edit their video announcements and presentations.
Using social media safely in the classroom
For educators, the key lies in ensuring that social media platforms aren’t used in the classroom simply for the sake of it, but that they are employed in a safe, responsible, and appropriate manner that enhances learning.
After all, schools are realizing that students need to learn how to use social media and related technology safely in order to navigate today’s world.
Is social media used as an educational tool at your child’s school? What do you think about social media being used in the classroom? Log in to comment below and join the discussion. You can also check out our Safe Social Media for Kids Facebook page to discover more safe social media tips and news.