Social media in the classroom

In March I was asked to give a presentation to high school teachers about how to bring social media into the classroom. I jumped at the opportunity, but as I sat down to write up my notes for the presentation I was momentarily stumped. Afterall, I use a wide variety of social media sites daily but I’m no teacher. I’m a modern journalist – social media is second nature by now. I asked a few friends for their thoughts on the matter and then got to work brainstorming how to bring social media into the high school classroom.

 

Here are my ideas:

  • Correct a Wikipedia entry for extra credit. A wiki, by definition, is able to be edited by anyone. While the popular entries about modern issues and celebrities are closely moderated for near accuracy, the lesser-recognized pages can contain errors. Have the students go through and check for facts.
  • Take a class project to Facebook. While researching I found an article about a class who decided to draw community awareness to a harmful plant that was spreading in the area. They thought about ways to bring awareness to the issue and opted to create a Facebook group with all the important information and then invite all their friends to ‘like’ the group and get involved in the issue.
  • Instead of an in-class presentation have the students film a video and upload it to YouTube or Vimeo. A simple YouTube search for English grammar songs will reveal a number of videos done my high schoolers for a class.
  • Create a private blog to promote discussion outside the classroom. A blog can be made visible only to a selected group. The class could convene there to offer thoughts on a specific matter, share information, etc..
  • Connect to experts via Twitter or YouTube. Want to know more about biology, literature, or geometry? There are people on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube that are experts. Having the class or specific students connect with a guru and glean information from him/her can open horizons.  
  • Are the students writing a research paper? Have each student start a
    blog on his/her topic. Treat the blog like the modern-day version of
    notecards. It is the spot where they can write down points of interest from
    different books, ask questions, theorize, post favorite pictures,
    whatever…Teachers can track their progress along the way as well.
Do you have other ideas of how to bring social media into the classroom? Share your ideas in the comments.

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