Imagine this, you’re in search of a new car. While taking a daily stroll you see that car you’ve been eyeing and all of the stats that make it a “good buy”. You’re sold, but instead of going in a bank or having to write a check, you can do this all while continuing to leisurely stroll. Now, imagine this could happen in your classroom! Well, stop imagining it can happen because it can via social media. Social media has changed our lives as consumers so why should not for our students! Instead of “tutoring” why can’t you have mobile office hours? In combination with a study guide why not have a power hour crash course the night before a test. You can do all of this and from the palm of your hand using social media in the classroom. I always look for ways to enhance student learning and use what they already have, to increase learning. So why not social media? Good question, here’s why you should be using social media in the classroom and a few tools to get you started.
Instagram– Never mind that 90% of Instagram users are 35 & under or that it’s FREE! The real reason you should use it is because more than likely students and/ or their parents, already have it! With Instagram, you can do a plethora of things to help students succeed without having them download “another app”. Put it this way, remember that leisurely stroll I mentioned…their already taking it! Need some ideas on what to do there?
* Host a review- post a picture and ask students to “fill in the blank” or explain a concept.
Share what’s going on- Parents are ALWAYS wondering what their students are doing. They get tired of the “nothing” answers, so beat them to the punch and give visuals.
*Explore and create- using a hashtag, you can create your own “classroom” so that users are able to access your information even more quickly. Also, you can introduce concepts and bring “real-life” to a new level. Introducing a country? Find a hashtag (i.e. Greece use #acropolis) to show students “real” pictures.
Remind– I will shout from the rooftops about how much I love this app! Over the years it has evolved into more than just text message reminders, but kept its simplicity. Teachers can access it from a web dashboard or from the app, in the palm of your hand. Here’s how you can use it:
* Remind students- The name of the app says it all! You can send messages (SMS or through the app) to students. Perhaps they need to bring a final project in? Remind them the night before. You can schedule messages or send them instantaneously through one of the user interfaces.
* Host office hours- Find those tutoring times barely used? Why not do them mobile! Students may be on the bus, at a siblings practice, or even at home without a way to get to or from tutoring. You can set times where parents and students can “chat” with you and tutor effortlessly without more time at school.
* Share links for review- through remind you can send pictures and links for review. Went on a field trip? Beginning a PBL unit? Attach your rubric, share a YouTube video, or a picture from your classroom.
Periscope– I’ll admit, this is new to me but the possibilities are endless. Video streaming is useful in our classrooms because this offers students a chance to “be there” , even if their not. How?
*Record an activity in class- Students who are absent, may have exceptionalities, or perhaps just weren’t paying attention to you can benefit from the ability to see it again. These videos can be saved to your camera roll and shared via other social media outlets, shared live, or uploaded to your LMS for students and parents to see at their leisure.
* Guest speaker- TONS of prominent people (think authors, celebrities, etc) are hopping on this bandwagon. You can stream the video and allow students to ask questions that the person can see and answer!
*Preview content- if you’re in the business of flipping your classroom, you can see endless possibilities with Periscope. Allowing students a quick preview of a concept, that is shareable and available for viewing at their leisure is key to success.
Twitter– Ever wanted to discuss a topic that is being presented on the news? A world issue? Or maybe you want your students to “write” to an author? Twitter is your tool!
* The power “@” – Many authors, businesses, or even companies are on Twitter. Have your students contact someone via Twitter and your turn around time for response could be moments. Talk about engaging!!
* Create a class hashtag- Outside of the classroom you may be just another teacher on your student’s timeline. However, creating a hashtag can create your own classroom inside of Twitter. One hint, before you pick one, make sure you’ve established that it’s clean (no dirty pictures and/or words) so students can find and reuse it easily! #gotweetnow
*Discussion outside of the classroom – Many times, our class lessons can have real world ties. What better way to make that known than by sharing it as it happens! Discussing Cuba? How cool would it be if you had a real-time discussion as the flag was reinstalled at the Cuban Embassy?!?
Pinterest– I really don’t know how I cooked anything before Pinterest. In fact, I tell people that my husband thinks I can cook because of it (True Life: I’m a cooking failure). Curating an in class Pinterest board could create a great place for ideas and sharing information for research.
*Find activities aligned with the topic- Make students collaborators on a board where you can share information about a topic. For my entrepreneurial students, we could find pins that are geared toward topics we’re covering such as blog post topics, how to write a business plan, and ways to market their company.
* Invite Parents- Lower level teachers may have an idea for a Holiday party? Beginning of the year? Or even field trips? Invite parents to collaborate and come up with ideas for you! Allow them to work together and create an event that is planned through Pinterest!
*Share your work- There is no better way to brighten a student’s day than to let them know that you will share their work with the world. Allow students to write blog posts, insert pictures, or even create videos that you can share with a board on Pinterest. Even better, invite parents to be a part of it and let them share the work too!
YouTube– Using video in the classroom is nothing new, but allowing students to create is the next step! Apps that can save video to YouTube and/or your camera roll on tablets are becoming more prevalent, use them!
*Share student creation- After creating a video in StopMotion, don’t let student work hit a dead end in YOUR inbox. Sharing it to a class YouTube page is the next step you should take. Who knows, you may have a viral piece of video hanging out in your email?!
*Flip your classroom- Don’t be afraid to turn the camera on yourself. Create a movie trailer to introduce a new concept, share a step-by-step tutorial on how to solve a problem, or create a playlist of content for student review. Curate YouTube content for students so the time they spend on the site isn’t “downtime”, but a learning experience.
*Create event recaps-Students who have a tablet, cell phone, or some experience with a computer can create dynamic video that can be shared. Use your channel as the house for this information so their joy of learning can be shared.
I don’t know about you, but social media has changed my life. The students we’re teaching have grown up with these tools and are even more likely to be where we’re headed. Don’t let the idea of the apps scare you, take that leisurely stroll with the students and watch them flourish!
P.S. As a little something extra, I thought it would be nice to have a way to display the social media you will be using this year! I have made 8 posters for your classroom! Enjoy
How do you use social media in your classroom?