For Teachers

Harnessing the Influence of Social Media in the Classroom

By Ashley Previte February 4, 2020

What if instead of ignoring the huge, white, social media elephant in the room, you embraced it? As teachers, it’s important to prepare students not only for the world they live in but also for the world that’s ahead. And since the influence of social media is likely here to stay, why not use it to your advantage? 

Here are some ways to embrace social media as an educator and leverage its charms in your classroom. 

Create virtual penpals

Remember penpals? There was nothing better than opening up the mailbox after school and finding a letter!

It’s time to bring back the excitement, 2020 style. 

Get in contact with a fellow teacher in your district or even another state or country. Students can use a class-created handle to tweet other students via Twitter. Together you can Facebook Live or Skype other classrooms in real life. Prerecord Youtube videos or simply chat online to share experiences and fun lessons. 

Your students will have a blast getting to know other students and learning more about kids like them.

Share the success

Social media is a fantastic way to post events and share student successes online. By creating class groups on social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat, you and your students can share your best memories.

Share photos and comments about your class field trip. Create a student of the week or month with a short bio post and favorite photos. Share student work and project examples. Post your Pinterest-worthy bulletin boards. 

And with privacy settings, one-way communication is possible. A classroom or school account can be used to share content without receiving comments from outsiders. Students can find the freedom to share their classroom life with others without the worry of online strife. 

See what they really know

Make use of those quick student texting thumbs by incorporating social media into student exit tickets, summaries, and homework assignments. 

Social media platforms are constructed for short responses, perfect for those students who may be overwhelmed by long responses or essays. And quick summaries help to train them to focus on the main idea and be concise in the words they choose.

In the style of an exit ticket, conclude class by asking students to post responses or answer questions about the day’s lesson. Evaluate what students have learned quickly and easily. 

Create a brick-by-brick discussion board. Assign students to post an idea, insight, or question they may have about the content of your class. Then every student in the class must post a constructive comment to another classmate. Students will have the opportunity to help each other while encouraging a classroom community and reflecting on their learning. 

Forget the walls of the classroom

Social media allows students to learn beyond the classroom, but it can also be a valuable tool for teachers to deliver information. 

Facebook Live is an awesome feature that allows teachers to record videos for students to view through live-streaming or by accessing the recorded video later. 

Create videos to review material or to reinforce a difficult lesson. Or find video resources specifically created for educational purposes at YouTubeEdu. Be that crazy science teacher without the mess that comes with it by viewing large-scale experiments via video. Learn songs distinguishing similes from metaphors. Watch authors discuss their work or view the animal kingdom. 

TED-Ed talks are specially designed for the classroom. These award-winning videos can spark your student learning and many offer accompanying teacher lessons. 

Explore writing

Use social media platforms or templates to explore writing. Whether for creative or functional writing, social media can be a great way to get kids into practicing the craft. 

Get your students writing poetry. Haiku writing is often a favorite form of poetry for students and you can make it more interactive and challenging by having students tweet their haikus. 

Create found or spoken poetry on Twitter or Instagram. Create hashtag line poems with trending topics. 

Use social media posts as story starters or writing topics. Students can research more about the topic or the writer of the post while developing their writing skills. 

Learn more about grammar by editing social media content. Celebrities aren’t always the best writers and posts can often be full of grammar and spelling mistakes. Explore word choices by encouraging revision with spelling or vocabulary words. Use tweets and posts to emphasize grammar lessons or as warm-up activities. 

Sometimes it’s okay to be fake

Students can discover what it’s like to be someone else by diving into the world of social media. 

Have students create fake profiles for characters in their novels, historical figures, or famous scientists. Have them define their knowledge of the animal kingdom by creating posts as one. Document the 13 colonies with Snapchat or Facebook posts. Give the students the tools to creatively use their knowledge with social media. 

Provide content anytime

Social media is all about sharing, so why not use it to share lesson materials or additional texts with your students? 

Post articles or news reports for assignments and cut down on all those copies. For example, you can share reliable news sources related to your current class lessons. Provide links to important documents like online reading assignments and questions and helpful resources, such as writing manuals or classroom regulations. Add extra copies of homework assignments for those forgetful students. 

But do remember…

While there are many benefits to using social media in the classroom,  it’s important to recognize the need for regulating the information your students receive and share. Without proper supervision, social media can be just another distraction from learning. 

When social media is introduced into the classroom, it is important to set guidelines and reinforce those rules throughout the venture. 

Get social

Take the time to explore the benefits of social media for your curriculum. Use your creative spirit and educational know-how to turn social media into an awesome experience for you and your students. #Winningteachers!

Ashley is an award-winning copywriter and content expert with more than a decade of proven results for national and local clients. From brainstorming high-end conceptual content to styling sentences that engage and convert, she’s got a knack for shattering the status quo. When she’s not in full-on writing mode, she’s hanging out with her rascal of a puppy and discussing the plausibility of unicorns with her 8-year-old daughter.

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