With the majority of students (aged 13 and above) and their parents already signed up to Facebook, it’s an excellent way to get to know students in a completely different light. Really knowing your students, their likes and hobbies results in a better experience in the classroom and a greater ability to reach every student effectively.
How can teachers use social media to connect with their students and enhance what they are teaching in their lessons?
The first and most important thing to consider if you want to start using sites such as Facebook in the classroom is that all the appropriate privacy settings should be used. There are some very strict controls that users can set up so that only people they want can access information, photos and send messages. This greatly reduces the risk of unwanted individuals contacting students.
Skype, Twitter and Facebook can all very easily be used as platforms to discuss and share materials from the classroom. Lesson plans, homework, notifications and letters to parents can all be posted online so that students can access them at any time.
Lessons can be recorded and then posted as online videos and podcasts on YouTube. This is excellent for students who have missed a lesson, as they can catch up online by watching the video.
Establishing an online community for you and your students can create an open and supportive environment. This can be very beneficial for students who are too shy to participate in the classroom as they may find it easier to engage with their classmates online. This can slowly help to build their confidence and eventually they will feel able to participate more and more in class.
Having an online facility can even help students in the evening if they have a question or are stuck on their homework. Rather than having to make yourself available in your free time, you can specify that you will be available online for questions during certain times.
Finally, social media websites can also help teachers keep in touch with students years after they have left school. This is great for teachers who like to know what their ex pupils end up doing later in life.
What do you think about teachers using social media in the classroom? Is it a good idea or will it end up causing more problems for schools and parents?