Students today don’t go very far without their smartphones. They’ve become an extra limb to many, a viable source for information, and a way to stay connected with peers through messaging, texting, and of course, social media.
According to surveys, nearly 95% of teens now report they have a smartphone, or access to use one. 45% of teens also say they are online at a near-constant basis.
These high percentages are proof it’s time to jump on board and embrace social media in the classroom. McGraw Hill brings up this great point, “the academic conversation has shifted from "How can we prevent social media from being a distraction?" to "How can we best make use of social technology in practical, sustainable, and secure ways?".
Social media fun is not just for students, but social media channels also have great tools to provide insights and knowledge on various topics, which is helpful for studying purposes. Teachers may not know how to start incorporating social media into their classroom for learning, which is why we want to bring some ideas and examples to the table.
6 Ways to Bring Social Media into Your Classroom
- Show off Your Classroom
A great way to engage with student’s families is to show off your classrooms on social media websites. Live tweet success stories in the classroom and create your own hashtag. This keeps parents in the loop, and allows students to look back on what you’ve done throughout the school year. Parent engagement is a growing phenomenon, and many teachers are looking for creative ways to keep parents involved in their child’s education – social media is one way to do this.
- Make Social Media the Homework
Let’s be real, students do not look forward to homework. Try incorporating social media to make homework fun! For example; The Ed Advocate suggests having students tweet or post about assigned readings. Students can summarize what they’ve read, or respond to a quick question about the reading assignment over social media. Twitter is a great source for current news and trending topics. Have your students bring research they’ve found on a specific topic, and share their findings in class the next day.
- Connect with Other Classrooms
Encourage your teaching peers to jump onto the social media train as well! Creating social media pages for your classrooms is a great way to reinforce the bond between the students in your class. It also promotes a healthy competitive spirit when you connect with other classrooms in the school. Collaborate with other classes through social media, and may the best classroom win!
- Start a YouTube Channel
YouTube may be one of the most popular social media channels for teens.. Don’t know how to do something? There’s most likely a YouTube how-to video out there. Teachers can post their own educational videos, or use the platform to showcase informative videos for the class. Creating a YouTube video could be a great project idea for your students, and we’re sure it would be entertaining for students to watch their peers acting on video.
- Embrace Blogging
A classroom blog is a great way to share assignments, inspire student discussions, and keep parents involved. According to the Ed Advocate, setting up a blog is not only simple, but secure. Invite your students and their families to the blog and only they can see the content. Try assigning writing projects on the classroom blog so students can review their peer’s work, leave comments, and have discussions on the various blog topics. Students are then able to receive feedback in a manner that teachers can filter and control.
- Create “Fake” Personas
This last tip may sound strange, but is a great way to bring social media into the classroom. Creating ‘fake’ social media profiles as historic figures or characters in a book makes learning about these topics and stories fun. Students can tweet or post about major events in this character’s life in the voice of this person. The Ed Advocate states “some teachers have discovered that students love the idea of creating fake profiles for the people they are studying in class.”
Social media is evolving daily, and K-12 students are being brought along for the ride. Instead of banning smartphones and working out of educational books, encourage the use of technology and social media in the classroom for learning purposes.
Did You Know? Our SwiftK12 school notification platform enables users to post school alerts directly to Facebook and Twitter social media pages. Keeping these pages up-to-date with the latest school news, unexpected closures, and emergency alerts, provides your school community with a reliable source of information.