In today’s presentation we talked about social media in the classroom. This is interesting because it seems like social media is everywhere today, but how can we, as teachers, take advantage of the benefits available with social media, without subjecting our classes to the evils of it. The idea that we could use something like facebook or twitter to have a constant connection with our students, and them to each other, would be greatly beneficial. Students would not only pool their resources by using these social medias, but also learn an important skill: collaboration. I found a link that discusses how social media was used at a university in the US, with positive results:
While this is at the university level, I think the same results could easily be achieved in any high school. Kids are online anyways, we might as well provide them with some productive outlets online there.
I liked the point our presenter made about how using twitter can help with writing, because with only 140 characters at their disposal, students will be forced to focus in on exactly what they want to say in order to express it in the most concise way possible.
An ancillary benefit of social media in the classroom could be teaching students online etiquette as I think we can all recognize the need for that in today’s online world. As teachers we could patrol and give feedback to re-enforce good online behaviour and properly deal with bad online behaviour.
I realize that this was given in class(http://www.onlineuniversities.com/blog/2010/05/100-inspiring-ways-to-use-social-media-in-the-classroom/), but I thought I’d highlight a couple of the points I thought were the most interesting to me (as an aspiring English teacher):
#1 - Make literature real. Have students create a Facebook page for a character from literature you are studying
I really liked this idea because it allows students with a lot of license for creativity and is a fun option to typical essays and tests.
#6 - Connect with other classrooms. Collaborate with another classroom, no matter where they are in the world, to expand learning opportunities.
This could really open the class up to new ideas, and expand any lesson in a multitude of ways.
#18 - Tweet famous conversations. Have students tweet imagined conversations between famous literary figures such as Romeo and Juliet, Sherlock Holmes and Watson, or Dante and Beatrice.
Again, this breaks through the norm and gives students a fun alternative.
#26 - Use Twitter to teach journalism. Have students use Twitter to report news in 140 characters or less to practice communicating important information succinctly.
I mentioned this one near the top and I think it could really help student evolve as writers.
#27 - Answer questions. Be available for answering students’ questions via a Facebook page or Twitter feed.
This is a good option because you could have the whole class helping each other out.
#40 - Post homework. Teachers can post homework assignments through Facebook to provide easy access for students and to put the assignment and due date in writing.
With this there could never be any excuses over misunderstood or forgotten homework.
#41 - Classmate connections. No matter the size of your class, having all the students on a social media outlet brings them all together.
The benefit here is that students wouldn’t be tied to there regular clinics and could develop productive working relationships with classmates they aren’t usually eager to spend time with.
#51 - Share book reviews. Students can post their book reviews for the instructor to grade and other students to read on a class Facebook page, or try tweeting a 140-character book review on Twitter.
With this everyone could help improve students work by offering productive feedback.
#53 - Poll the class. Use polls as an interactive teaching tool in class using the Poll app for Facebook or PollDaddy for Twitter.
In an English class you could take the temperature of the class as to how interested they are in a particular novel, and in that way judge if it is something you want to continue teaching in the future. And you could have fun with it, having students vote on scenarios from the novel or about characters.
#65 - Blog. Create a community blog and share it on Facebook to tell what your class is learning and doing.
Just as we are doing in this class, students could use blogs as journals to accompany the work they are doing in class. We all love reflections!
I think it is pretty apparent that this is where classes are headed, and I say all the better. Students will be more attentive, involved, and enthusiastic for our classes when we can incorporate social medias into the classroom. Not only will this help them to learn, but it should make our jobs easier as well.