Using Social Media In The Classroom

April 25, 2014

Ever find that your students are on their cell phones more than they’re taking notes or participating in class? Especially for those of you working in higher education, do you find that your students are buried behind their computer more than they’re buried in their textbooks?  If this is familiar to you, you’re not alone. As technology continues to advance and social media continues to gain popularity, don’t be surprised if you find that your students are preoccupied with “tweeting” or updating their Facebook status when they should be in class. To keep up with this technological trend, lately, teachers have begun to incorporate social media into the classroom in order to encourage students to focus and be involved. Guess what? It works! If you’re looking for a new, innovative way to get your students involved, consider using social media platforms. See below for a list of ways you can incorporate social media into your classroom:

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Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

1. Class Facebook or Twitter Page: Start by setting up a Facebook or Twitter page that all of your students can access. These pages are great for class announcements, as well as getting students to interact with one another in and out of the classroom. Consider having students post their assignments on these pages and then request that they comment on their classmates’ work.

2. Class Discussion #Hashtags: During a lecture or other class activity, have students write their thoughts on twitter preceded by a predetermined phrase. This way, by searching for a phrase that all posts have in common, you and your students can easily find what one another is saying about the topic. #Greatidea?

3. Student Blogs: Another way to include social media is by requiring students to keep a blog. Different blogs can be created for each subject and they can teach students how to do online research while properly citing sources. This is also a great way for students to improve their writing skills and teaches them how to a navigate the back end of a blogging website.

4. Guest “Skypers:” If you want a guest speaker for your class, consider doing it via skype. Skype is an excellent tool because it allows you to bring in people who may not be within reach geographically. For example, if you’re teaching a class in New York and want to talk to a research expert in California, there’s no reason it can’t be done!

5. Google+ Hangouts: If you’re teaching an online class or need extra time to communicate with your students, use a Google+ hangout. Google+ hangouts allow you to connect with students face to face even when you’re not together, so use this method if you want to check up on students if your class does not meet regularly.

If you plan to use social media in your classroom, don’t forget to go over Internet safety and set guidelines to keep your students in line. Make sure that students are posting what should be posted rather than inappropriate or irrelevant content and teach students the proper way to use social media in an educational setting.

For more information on how you can use social media, click here.

At Nickerson Corporation, we believe it is important for teachers to incorporate the latest technology into their lesson plans to make their teaching more effective. That’s why we feel a comfortable computer workspace is necessary in your schools. By partnering with leading manufacturers, we supply a variety of computer furniture that helps students make the most of their time spent in school. To use social media in the classroom effectively, it’s essential that students have access to the Internet and such Internet applications in a comfortable environment. For information on how you can transform your computer workspace, contact us at (631) 666-0200, and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news in school and classroom furniture!