Social media has changed the way that we approach communication and networking. Educators around the world are learning and sharing together. While many educators have taken to social media like a fish to water, there is still some resistance and anxiety. Most of this anxiety comes from not knowing what to post or how to connect. Here are five ways that educators can utilize social media.
- Re-visualize The School Newsletter
For decades, teachers and administrators would send out weekly or monthly newsletters. These newsletters would often get lost in backpacks and binders, never to be seen again. Sending the newsletter via email directly to parents helped, but would often get lost in inboxes. Furthermore, information, dates and times would change between the date the newsletter was sent out and the date of the event. Twitter can be utilized to send out messages and reminders daily that go straight to a parent’s phone. In today’s busy world, these short messages will more likely be read than a 2-3 page newsletter.
- Provide a Window Into Your Classroom / School
Sharing pictures via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other outlets will allow parents and guardians access into their child’s classroom or school. Taking pictures of student projects / activities will give working parents the opportunity to see what their child is doing at school and what they are learning about. Sending a few pictures a day will help bridge the school to home communication gap.
- Teach Students About Their Digital Footprint
Whether we like it or not, social media is part of our lives. Students today are growing up in a world where everyone posts where they are, what they are doing, and whom they are with. With this freedom comes great responsibility and tremendous risk. We must teach this generation how to post responsibly and to understand their digital footprint. Common Sense Media has a ton of great resources on digital footprints and posting responsibly. Their website can be found here: https://www.commonsensemedia.org/
I also like Twiducate. This site allows you to create and manage a private social media network for your classroom / school.This is a great way to teach students on what to post in a controlled virtual environment. Twiducate can be found here: https://www.livelingua.com/twiducate/
- Network and Learn Alongside Other Educators
Before the days of social media, educators mostly only interacted with other educators within their own school / district unless they were at a conference. Now, educators across the world are getting together via social media to learn from one another through Twitter chats. Twitter chats are available every night of the week on a myriad of topics in education. Most chats last an hour and have 4-6 topic questions to discuss. Some of my favorite include #whatisschool, #edtechchat, and #divergED.
- Create Opportunities for Students to Interact With Other Students From Across The Hall or Across The Globe
Social media can be utilized for students to interact with others from different classrooms, schools, states, or countries. Unique hashtags can be created around certain student groups to engage in debate / conversation around a particular topic.These hashtags can be monitored by teachers and used by students during or outside of the school day. Students can share their ideas, find pictures, and videos on the topic of the day with other students. The possibilities are endless!
Dr. David Franklin, CEO of The Principal’s Desk, is an experienced school administrator, education professor, curriculum designer, and presenter. Dr. Franklin has presented at national and international education conferences as is available for school and district professional development sessions.