Social media is a way to connect with others online. Students are using social media more and more these days and I feel it the responsiblity of teachers to also use social media in their lives and classrooms. A recent Pew Research Center report shows that 73 percent of online teens between the ages of 12 and 17 use social networking sites, up from 55 percent just four years ago. As the NCTE Definition of 21st Century Literacies states, twenty-first century readers and writers need to
- Develop proficiency with the tools of technology
- Build relationships with others to pose and solve problems collaboratively and cross-culturally
- Design and share information for global communities to meet a variety of purposes
- Manage, analyze and synthesize multiple streams of simultaneous information
- Create, critique, analyze, and evaluate multi-media texts
- Attend to the ethical responsibilities required by these complex environments
Using social media with students can provide an opportunity for students to gain media literacy. I think it is important to teach students about smart digital citizenship when it comes to identity, safety and healthy online behavior. Media Awareness Network (MNet) is a Canadian non-profit organization that has been pioneering the development of media literacy and digital literacy programs since 1996. They provide many practical classroom resources for teacher when educating students about media education. They offer many educational programs and online games that can help teach students about online safety and positive online experiences.
Using Google Docs in a classroom setting with students rather than a paper and pencil assignment is a creative way to use social media with students. This type of social media allows for and fosters collaboration between students and extends the learning experience beyond the classroom. Students can revisit what they have learned in the classroom and add to it at a later date on their own time.
Another creative way to use social media with students, is to connect them with students from around the world. The Global Virtual Classroom‘s vision is to empower, enable and connect students around the world using Internet technology. This experience provides with the opportunity to develop skills that are essential in the 21st century: cross-cultural communication, collaboration through teamwork, information technology and website design.
What other creative ways teachers can use social media in their classrooms to fully engage students? I would like some feedback and ideas on this topic and would love to hear from you!