How to Use Social Media in the Classroom
Using Technology in the Classroom
21st century skills are so important for students today to understand and grasp. We have to make sure that the minds we are shaping today are ready for the world tomorrow. In order to do that, it is important to give students all of the tools and skills they will need, especially when it comes down to technology.
When I was in college, I took a class that really made me feel like I was of an "old-school" mentality. I couldn't see the use of the some of the "technology" my professor was showing us. For example, learning some obscure Microsoft Word command to link pages to create an interactive "choose your own adventure" type story. It seemed to me that the examples we were shown in class were gimmicky and seemed to get in the way of the true aspect of the lessons. Literacy and Technology
The first lesson in using technology in the classroom, is making sure that it is for the benefit of the lesson. It should complement the objectives and differentiate the learning that is taking place. Never is it a good idea to use technology for the sake of using technology.
Taking Advantage of Social Media
Our biggest friend in terms of technology in the classroom is social media. Society is more and more connected, relying on status updates, tweets and blogs to express ourselves and relay information. Better than to fight the progression of our social world is to join it; find a way to incorporate social media into the classroom.
This can be accomplished in many ways. A few that I use frequently in my classroom are discussion forums and chats. Using technology in this way to enhance the communication between my students makes the lessons high interest and more engaging.
I am fortunate enough to have access to an online classroom type website called Moodle. Much like Blackboard and Angel, I can create a classroom online that my students can log into and participate in. It is a great place to lead a discussion forum and even better when I can have students from multiple sections participating in conversations with their peers. During a poetry unit, I had my students write their own poems and then were able to provide feedback. This is also great with discussion questions that students can take time to answer and respond to.
Another way to use a discussion forum in the classroom is through a wiki. The wiki provides an opportunity to do much of the same thing as the Moodle, but the format of the website is different. I used a wiki in our classroom discussions of . The Giver
Finally, and perhaps one of my most favorite tools, is Adobe Connect. This is a platform that is a real time chat. The administrator of the chat can share images, the whiteboard (where he/she can type questions and probes), a real-time display of their computer screen and even a video of themselves. There is a chat open for people to discuss. Participants are welcome to participate in live polls and even be separated into smaller discussion groups.
In normal classroom discussion, it is all too often the quieter students stay quiet and the bold students are leading the discussion. The online setting of a discussion forum or a chat allows all students to have the opportunity to present their ideas. Many students feel more comfortable typing it out rather than saying it in front of their entire class.
When we can find a way to incorporate the social media aspects of technology that our students use and will continue to use for the rest of their lives, we can make our content more authentic and engaging for the students.