Following up from the honor of being selected in Huffington Posts Top 12 Global Education Blogs of 2014/2015 I have been chosen again in this amazing group and for 2016/2017 will be contributing to Huffington Post’s Education blog once a month. This month we look to answer the following highly controversial question “What are the best examples you have seen of teachers using social media to enhance learning?” – here is my response:
Social Media has changed my life as an educator. It has opened up numerous doors and broken down the four walls of my classroom. It has allowed me to grow more as an educator, a leader, and a person and has helped me progress my career more than any other professional development I have been involved with.
Over the years, I have been lucky enough to work with educators in countries all over the world, both in person and virtually. Social Media has allowed me to be connected with the best of the best. Through Social Media, these educators are making learning engaging and real for the students in their classrooms.
Here are my favorite 3 examples of how educators are using Social Media to enhance learning in 2016:
- Ed-Chats and Blogs – Teachers are engaging in online chats through Social Media tools such as Twitter. During these focused online chat sessions, educators from all over the globe come together to learn about a topic, sharing resources, articles, links and upskilling. This learning gets transferred directly into their learning environment and spread to improve student learning opportunities. Click here for some of my favorite Twitter Ed-Chats.
- Bringing in the Experts – Teachers frequently connect & engage with experts from all over the world in order to engage students in real learning experiences. From astronauts to meteorologists my students get to speak to an expert when they need to learn about something I can’t help them with – I always tell them “I don’t know, but let’s go find out”. These connections come from Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or through Microsoft for Education. Click here for more information on how global connections can make learning more engaging. Here are some examples of how I use twitter to bring experts into the classroom to support real world learning:
- Global Collaborative Projects – Global Collaborative Projects are diverse and available for just about any learning opportunity you can think of. The Global Read Aloud program is one example of using Social Media to improve student learning. Over a 6-week period, classes all over the world read the same book and using Twitter, Skype, WriteAbout, Edmodo and many other tools, they connect and engage with students to discuss the book from every corner of the globe. Another amazing example is the 24 hour Skypathon concept that I was lucky enough to be involved in with Beverly Ladd. Basically, as a class, students prepare and organize Mystery Skype sessions to learn about countries from all over the world. In Miss Ladd’s class, they used the hashtag #PVSkype24 to connect and engage through Social Media. To find out more about this look at http://24hourskypathon.wikispaces.com/. Here are some examples:
Using Social Media has improved the way I learn and the opportunities my students have to learn. By being a globally connected educator I break down the four walls of classrooms and allow students and staff to connect and engage with experts and classrooms all over the world. These opportunities are not possible without the power of a professional social learning network.
What are the best examples you have seen of teachers using social media to enhance learning? Please share here and through Twitter – I would love to hear your stories.