In December, last year I was honored to be named in Huffington Posts Top 12 Global Education Blogs of 2014. The bloggers on this list have been asked to contribute to Huffington Post’s Education blogs for 2015. This month we look to answer the following highly controversial question “Can social media have a role to play in managing a successful classroom?” – here is my response:
I am addicted to social media for learning! There, I said it!!!
Over the past few years, my social media for education journey has moved me from a Lone Wolf to Hunting with the Pack. I live it, breathe it and engage in it every day. It is my number one choice for Professional Learning; it is where I go to get inspiration and to share my ideas with other passionate educators.
The interesting thing for me is how can the success of social media in my professional life be translated into the classroom to support successful learning. This, I have not 100% cracked yet … Here are some thoughts:
Over the past 2 years, I have tried several forms of social media integration in my classroom, including Facebook, Twitter, Google + and Instagram with varied success (depending on my goal). The part I have always found difficult is how can I prove that it has a positive impact on student learning, how do I gather evidence that this makes a difference! This is a continued project of mine.
Instagram is an avenue I am beginning to explore. It is the most used social media platform by children across the globe, and as an educator, being able to successfully tap into this world for educational purposes would be pure GOLD! I will share my progress here as I discover and learn more in this area.
My most successful use of social media has been through student use of Twitter for learning (which you can read more about by clicking here, and here). Twitter provides students with opportunities to connect, collaborate and gather information instantly from a range of people in a range of locations. It ticks all of the boxes and in the digital world we live in, where instant feedback is crucial for student engagement, it is perfect! It gives students an authentic audience to engage with, breaks down the four walls of the classroom and allows learning to become global.
If I narrow social media use down further to how does it manage behavior in the classroom, it all comes back to engagement in learning. I find that students ‘behave’ when they love what they are doing. If I have student behavior issues, the first person I look at is myself! If my students are not engaged in learning, I am not doing my job well enough! Social media and its instant nature gives students instant reward. It gives them a voice and disengaged students can get instantly excited about learning. As educators, we don’t use this enough because we are scared of the things that ‘could happen’ if we engage in open social media channels. We need to let go of our fears and take calculated and positive risks for the betterment of student learning. We need to model these positive behaviors to the learners in our classrooms, as these are values we expect of them too.
Social media engages people. It engages people to seek out their passions, to share their learning and to collaborate with others. Social media has a huge role to play, not only in establishing a successful classroom but to engage students (and adults) in engaging, instant learning at the click of a button.