Social Learning: How Are Schools Using Social Media?

Aug 29 • Best Practices, Case Studies, Front Page, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Guide, Social Media Recommendations, Twitter • 1296 Views

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Using Social Media in SchoolsFor those of us who use social media regularly—and can’t imagine not using it—it becomes fascinating to see how it is used in a variety of occupations. How are police using social media? Churches? Politicians? We’ve decided to explore how all of these use social media, and today the focus is on schools.

Meet the newest catch phrase: social learning. According to Wikipedia, social learning is learning that takes place on a wider scale than individual or group learning, up to a societal scale, through social interaction between peers—specifically through social media for the purposes of our discussion. So what are the implications and strategies behind social learning?

Educators can create private social networks focused on course curriculum thanks to programs like Edmodo or Schoology. These platforms make it easy for teachers to post assignments and communicate with their students in an online forum. Outside of this, educators are also using social media to keep in touch, share ideas, connect and learn anytime and from anywhere. Instant collaboration and worldwide reach: you can’t beat that kind of capability in an instant research tool.

Teachers are using social media to keep up on the latest learning trends and web tools. Here are a few Twitter chats where teachers share resources:

  • #EdChat
  • #MathChat
  • #TeachChat

According to eSchoolNews.com, some teachers use Twitter to quiz their students. “I use Twitter to do an end-of-the-unit review. I tweet various topics, people, and dates for Advanced Placement U.S. History,” said Ann Wright, assistant principal of Archbishop O’Hara High School In Kansas City.

Some school districts are using Facebook and Twitter for messages to parents, back-to-school guides, and to show recognition for teacher and education awards.

Social media can also make learning more fun. Teachers can have students create a YouTube video and then track its sharing and views. Students can construct a graph to showcase how much cyber traction a good joke gets on Twitter. The teaching possibilities are endless.

Parents and teachers do express fears regarding social media. Parents worry about bullying, and everyone scrutinizes teacher-student online relationships. But, the nice thing about social media is its transparency. As a parent, if you’re worried about your children’s online social activity, follow them on Twitter and friend them on Facebook. Also make sure you have all their sign-in credentials and full access to their online accounts. Schools concerned about teachers’ social media activity need to create detailed and comprehensive social media agreements with their staff, laying out clear expectations as much as possible. We’re all in new territory here.

And it’s always good to remember that online activity has inherent repercussions that can come back to bite you, so follow these suggestions:

  • Always check your privacy settings.
  • Don’t share secrets.
  • Be honest.
  • Respect copyright laws.
  • Think about the consequences.

Remember, today’s kids are growing up with Google, Facebook and Twitter in their communications DNA. They can’t imagine a time when these tools and networks weren’t around. Being online is integrated into their daily lives, so it’s a natural progression to have it in their schools as well.

Social media isn’t going away anytime soon, so eventually everyone’s going to have to figure out how their organization is going to use it. Here’s your homework: know that social media is out there, it’s loud, and it’s constantly evolving.

Are you keeping up with social media in your industry?

 

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6 comments
Stephan Reed
Stephan Reed

The idea of using social media in the classroom was brought up to me the other day by a teacher in elementary school. Her public school plans on using Facebook as a means of talking to and keeping in communication with parents of the students. Honestly, I think this is brilliant. It's like a virtual parent-teacher meeting without having to plan. It keeps the teacher as more of a friend and less of a stranger. Also, using social media in a classroom is a great idea because, honestly, how often do kids check Facebook and Twitter? 5-6 times a day? Imagine if they were reminded of their homework that many times a day. I see this as possibly aiding in discipline, as well as keeping the student's attention. Great article!

dgilman
dgilman

Thanks Stephan! Since privacy is always an issue for kids and social media in any context, does the teacher have any advice for keeping the info secure?

Laura Briere
Laura Briere

It's amazing what new technologies can bring to the world - young and old! As a company that's ALWAYS online, we love hearing about the new ways social media is used by the community. Nice article!

Laura Briere
Laura Briere

Not currently, but we're experiencing steady growth and the education sector is somewhere we'd love to go. =)

dgilman
dgilman

Thanks Laura, appreciate the comments. Do you happen to have clients in the education sector?

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