By Teachers, For Teachers
You might feel as though you don’t have time to push curriculum aside and implement something new—and that’s OK, it shouldn’t feel like a chore or distraction. But keeping up with the ever-changing trends in education—like integrating social media in the classroom—is worth the time investment. With school starting right around the corner, here are a few services that can help you do just that.
Rather than collecting students’ private cell phone numbers and directly texting them, Remind is an app that allows for a bit of privacy. Think of it like a “safe texting” app, allowing you to send messages to other Remind users. Students can log in and submit their phone number to the service, thus keeping it private from you, as well as other students. Offer this to your pupils at the beginning of the year, and use it to send reminders, updates, hints, practices, and links to supplement your teachings.
You can use Twitter as another platform to connect with your students—many of them are probably using it already. Easily share links, reminders, updates, or information, and create a specific hashtag that relates to your class. These can be anything, such as #WorldLit102, or #Spanishrocks—just be sure to include the hashtag when sharing items with a specific class.
Interesting people abound in this world—try bringing them into the classroom as a guest speaker with Skype or Google Hangouts. These resources let people communicate through both audio and video, sort of like the Jetsons. You can invite authors, activists, or other influential people into your lesson, or even allow entire classrooms to interact with each other.
If someone misses a day, if you want to flip instruction, or if you want to provide additional learning opportunities, posting your videos to YouTube enables students to absorb the material at their own pace. You could even have students create their own videos and post them there as well!
Legions of free blogging resources exist today: Blogspot, Weebly, Wix, Tumblr, and Wordpress, to list the popular few. You might share what your students are doing, what ideas you’re trying to incorporate into your teaching, or your own thoughts on education. Students can even create their own blogs to share their work as well.
Social media in the classroom grants unprecedented opportunity for both learning and sharing. Whether it’s between you and your students, or opening your classroom up to the world, take a chance this year with social media—and welcome to the future.
Tell us how you are using social media in the classroom this year. What are your approaches or goals going to be? Share with us in the comments below!
Jordan Catapano is a high school English teacher in a Chicago suburb. In addition to being National Board Certificated, he also has worked with the Illinois Association of Teachers of English and currently serves as a school board member for a private school. You can follow him on Twitter at @BuffEnglish, or visit his website ACTWritingTips.com.