Create Your Own Classroom Social Network
Helpful ideas to integrate Social Media in your classroom
Students and teachers can enhance their professional and educational development by getting more involved in social media. Younger students may not be ready for the world of social media, but what’s stopping a classroom from creating their own?
Social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and various blogging platforms can be used as valuable resources for students. Teachers and students can work together to create replications of the most popular social media networks. The benefit of using social media properly is to connect with peers, share stories, pictures, ideas and generating discussions. We’ll share some fun and interesting ideas to help get your students involved in building their own network inside the classroom.
Students have the capabilities of replicating all the features that Facebook offers. In the classroom, teachers can ask students to share a status with the class, instead of posting on a computer. Start off each week by asking students to write a status on a board in front of the room. The student can go into further detail on the status, explaining to classmates what the activity was and all it entailed.
Example: “I saw ‘The Lorax’ this weekend with my family and liked it.”
After writing the status, teachers can ask the rest of the class to join in on the conversation by either liking the status or sharing their own thoughts on the matter. This will help build a sense of community and connection between students and act as a fun activity to start the week.
Twitter is a valuable resource to follow trends and news. It’s also a fantastic tool to group discussion topics with hashtags that relate to an event. Some classes have already taken action in connecting with others from around the world using Twitter, such as Ms. Cassidy’s class in Saskatchewan, Canada.
Teachers can strategize lesson plans using Twitter around the same rules the network allows its users. Since Twitter allows 140-characters, create lessons that limit the amount of characters each student may use to form a thought or an opinion. An educator may select a trending topic or current event and ask students to write about it in Twitter format. This will spice up current event topics and challenge students into formulating thoughts with limited writing space.
Blogging is a great way to not only express ideas publicly, but to also keep a journal of some sort. Classroom blogs can be very helpful in tracking progression of learning throughout the school year. In the article “4 Ways to Improve School Communication Using Social Media,” Lucy Harper wrote about the importance of a classroom blog. “Whether you use it as part of your English class lesson plans or for any other subject, having students participate in a classroom blog can be an excellent way to get them to map out their thoughts and practice writing. Assign a different student each day to take care of blogging. Be sure to provide guidelines and demonstrate how to follow them at the beginning of the year.”
Reverting back to our classical way of writing, students can use classroom journals instead of online blogs. Classrooms can keep blogging offline by asking students to write in journals for each assigned topic. Students can be asked to create a title for each of their posts, similarly to how blogs are created. Teachers can share the blogs at the end of the school year with each student to show how much their writing has improved.
Many classrooms have variations of Pinterest boards that are often used as decoration. Pinterest allows users to pin images that they find interesting to boards that are designated to specific topics. Teachers can create classroom Pinterest boards and allow students to bring in photos that relate to the certain subject. Board examples could range from favorite cartoons, shows, musicians, hobbies or even places they have traveled.
Students can create virtual vacations using a classroom Pinterest board by picking a place they wish to travel to. The student can then be assigned to plan a virtual tour of the experience by using these pictures, seemingly walking the classroom through their imaginary vacation.
Exploring ways to integrate social media into the classroom will show students the importance of building a community. Under a teacher’s supervision, these activities can be completed in a controlled and safe environment.