Introducing social media to the classroom can be a little intimidating for a teacher. Not only does it require a careful roll out with an emphasis on digital citizenship, but it also means a well-played sales pitch to parents who may already feel that their child spends too much time on devices. Social media pervades all realms of our society, and has many benefits for adults and school-aged children alike. Social media engages students, connects them to the community, and allows them to have a greater platform for sharing knowledge and asking questions. Here are some ways and benefits of using social media in the classroom.
Blogging is a great way to give students a stronger voice. When a child knows that people other than just his or her teacher is going to read a piece of writing, they become more involved and motivated to put thought and care into their writing. Kidblog.org provides a safe place to publish student work. Activity is monitored by teachers and approved before it goes public. Students feel empowered to write for a bigger audience than just those ears inside their classroom’s walls. Their voices can be heard from students across the hallway, across the district, and even across the country. A class is also able to follow other classrooms across the world, embed Google photos and videos into their blog posts, and teachers have access to lesson ideas and tricks for easy implementation.
Instagram is another social media tool that can engage and connect students. A teacher can make the account private and carefully monitor followers to ensure safety and privacy for students. By using Instagram, students are able to showcase their work as well as day-to-day happenings in the classroom. Teachers can run the account themselves, or they can allow students to take turns being in control of what is posted. Designating a particular student to document classmates’ work, take pictures of special events, or share students working together is a great way to let students take the lead. Students enjoy receiving likes and comments from their parents or grandparents, and having an account such as Instagram is a fun way to look back on the course of a year.
Twitter is another powerful social media tool. Twitter allows students to project their voices across the world. They can share opinions on books they have read, pose questions on science experiments they are completing, or play games with students anywhere. What better way to develop global citizenship than by developing connections and friendships across the world at an early age? Twitter allows for that, is fairly simple to implement, and easy to use.
While implementing social media into the classroom can be intimidating for a teacher, it is a necessary and empowering tool for students. By using tools such as blogging, Instagram, or Twitter, students become engaged, connected to their community, and can create a platform for sharing their knowledge and asking questions to someone other than their teacher. Social media pervades all realms of our society, and that should include the classroom.