Social Networking Tools in the Classroom

     We have been told over and over as educators that we must engage and create meaningful tasks for students.  What is more meaningful and engaging to students than using the technology and tools many of them use during their free time?  Using social networking in class will engage students while at the same time teaching them how to act responsibly online.  Many students use these social networking tools outside of class without any boundaries.  They have not had anyone teach them how to create comments or how to respond to comments.  The only guide many students have is to read what others have posted.  Students will mimic what they see. Therefore, as teachers if we are to use social networking in class it is important that we model and teach students how to present themselves electronically.  There should be discussions around safety and how to post and respond to comments.  If this is done in class, students will develop an understanding of how to develop a positive digital footprint.  By using of social networking tools in class the students will be taught first hand how to use the tool properly.

Some uses of social networking in class:

Tweeting a point of view of a character - this exposes the students to multiple ideas.  These ideas my confirm or give new perspective on the character.
Blogging responses - This allows collaboration, discussion and reflection.
Pinning interesting facts or related ideas to an area of study. For example, when studying a character the students might pin symbols that reflect the character, places the character might go, clothing the character would wear, things that the character might be interested in.  This is a great way for the students to infer about the characters. 

By giving meaningful and engaging tasks the students are not only consumers of information but they are become creators of information.

How do we make students accountable and ensure that they are using the tool for the right purpose in class?  How do we ensure that the networking tool fits the task?


1 comment:

  1. You mention the idea of ensuring that students are using social networking tools for the correct purpose - I have to agree that this is probably the most important aspect of incorporating social media in the classroom. I have previously used Fakebook and Edmodo so that students can get used to the protocols and purpose of social networking tools. They are educational versions of Facebook, but without all the fluff - and could be used to teach students to use social media for the task at hand, rather than to socialize!