5 Ways To Use Social Media in the Classroom

By David Grover
One of the most important parts of an educator’s job is to prepare students for the real world. So while you obviously can’t take them on field trips every day, you can still provide them with similar access through a virtual medium.
This is where social media comes into play. Most students already have an affinity for social media–incorporating it into your classroom provides an experience your students can connect to while increasing the amount of ways in which you can expose them to information crucial to your curriculum. Plus it can just be really fun.
Here are five ways you can connect your classroom and social media:

1. Write with Blogs

If you’re the only person who is going to be reviewing your student’s writing, they may feel inclined to create something that they feel would be “good enough” rather than excellent. Having an audience encourages students to do their best. If they know how many people are going to see it, they’ll be more likely to present their best work.
Rather than the usual pen-and-paper writing assignments, have your students blog on a subject. Allow students to tastefully read and comment on each other’s blogs, providing constructive feedback. Platforms like WordPress allow users to create and manage closed-blog systems, keeping the visibility limited to peers.

2. Brainstorm with Pinterest

Successful collaboration and compromise are the roots of a successful group project. Sometimes students may face obstacles in communicating their unique visions, and this means most of the collaboration goes right out the window. When assigning a group project, encourage students to create a board on Pinterest to collect their ideas. Everyone will be presented with a clear representation of their teammates’ visions, allowing them to work together with ease.

3. Skype Around the World

Since a trip to a specific location (such as a different country) probably isn’t feasible, you can always bring the location into the classroom with Skype. Through video chat, your class can speak with other classes in different parts of the world. Some educational destinations may also provide lectures or tours through Skype, allowing your students to experience a culture in real time with full interactivity.

4. Connect Students on Facebook

What was that homework assignment? Who has the notes from today? What did I miss while I was sick? Can anyone help me figure out how to do this? Think of all the questions you could save time answering if you create aclosed group on Facebook for you and your students to touch base.. Set a clear list of rules for what is and is not allowed in the group, and of course be certain to moderate it. They’ll be able to help each other, building valuable social and teamwork skills., You can always step in if they can’t figure things out amongst themselves.

5. Create a Class Wiki

Your students are familiar with Wikipedia and probably use it more than you think. Wikipedia is a great tool for finding comprehensive information on a subject, so try putting your students on the other end of the screen.Create a Wiki as a class subject. Choose one lesson as an umbrella, and write a stem article. Have your students write the supplementary articles to demonstrate what they know. It’s a great way to showcase knowledge and promote teamwork.
Social media and learning blend better than you may have imagined. Utilizing social media in your classroom creates an innovative, fun way for students to work together. They’re already familiar with how social media works, and now they’ll have a reason to post things in addition to all of those memes and selfies.
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David Grover is a communications manager at Timeo in the U.K., as well as a freelance career coach. Follow him on Twitter: @DGrover78.

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