Students of all ages are obsessed with social media and have access to a smartphone even during class. While studies have proven this has a negative effect on learning, educators can integrate social media in the classroom, instead of fighting over students’ attention in class.
Teachers can stop battling social media and get students excited about learning using interactive classroom activities. These platforms have the power to enhance the collaboration and healthy competitive spirit in the classroom.
Here are 10 ways to use social media as an educational tool to prevent the distraction of mobile devices in your classroom, and at the same time enhance classroom learning.
1. Facebook group
Need to pass along an important announcement to your class? Set-up a Facebook group and ask everyone to join. Before you do this, it is best to talk to parents of children if they’re allowed to have their own Facebook profiles (if none). Facebook groups are great for collaboration with tools such as polls, you can easily ask your students what they think about a particular subject. You can also continue an interesting discussion online.
2. Explain social media
It’s important as a teacher; to set an example and explain the things they can learn from using social media and what it means to be a responsible digital citizen. Explain how social media can help them learn and establish a great online reputation. Guide them through the basics of social media etiquette and netiquette.
If you have internet access in class, try to organize a Twitter discussion during class. Think of a hashtag related to the discussion and ask your students to research and tweet an interesting fact. Twitter is a great tool for discussion and keeping in touch with current trends.
Skype if a video calling tool which can be used to connect with guest speakers who can talk about topics and answer students’ questions afterwards. You can invite guest speakers through Facebook or Twitter then host a Skype conference in the classroom. Ask your students to take notes and prepare questions for the speakers. This is a great way for students to have access to new resources for learning and inspiration.
Explain to your students what a blog is and ask them to pick a niche they are passionate about. This niche doesn’t have to be related to the curriculum. Tell them to conduct research and develop a blog. Try to discuss blogs once a month in the classroom and encourage students to post comments on each other’s blog posts.
6. Podcast or Video Channel
Educators can also use YouTube to publish their own educational videos or podcasts. Use it as a platform for educating not just your students, but also students from other parts of the world. You can also search YouTube for relevant content and play it during class. After, you can discuss it with your students.
Pinterest can be used to collect educational resources. You can ask students to create separate boards for related topics, and ask them to follow each other’s collections. After, you can choose the best resources and present them in class. For instance, ask your students to pick the most inspiring travel destinations, find different facts, and create Pinterest boards that they will present as projects for a mathematics class.
8. Google Hangouts
Connect with other classrooms! Try to encourage your students to connect with other classrooms and inspire competitive spirit among students. This fosters online collaboration between students using Google Hangouts or Podcasts, and help students engage in a collaborative learning process.
9. Facebook Page
Create a Facebook page for the class and post updates that all students and parents can see.
You can create an official profile of the class and post updates that all students and parents can see. It is a useful tool to promote the achievements of your students and post frequent updates on daily experiences.
Thinking of launching a photography project? Flickr is a great place for photography projects. When you organize a field trip, ask them to take photos with their phones. You can assign random hashtags to motivate them to take certain types of photos. After, you can choose the best ones and post them on your Flickr profile.
Main Takeaway: You need to remember to be careful when allowing your students to use social media. These types of platforms can still be a source of great distraction despite their potential to enhance classroom learning. Usually, schools have policies as to the limits they allow. Explain to your students the importance of social media as an educational tool. Try different tools and gauge the results. Start exploring new tools!
About the AuthorSharjeel Ahmed from Edarabia.com has served the education industry for over 6 years. He collaborates and works alongside education-marketing agencies, event organizers, and educational Institutions ranging from nurseries, schools, and universities to develop and execute their marketing strategies. He is extremely passionate about education technology and also writes for various local and international publications. A graduate with High Distinction from the Manipal University Dubai, UAE, Sharjeel holds a Bachelor’s Degree with major in Media & Communication.