Generation Z, the pluralists or whatever the next generation is to be called will be the first to grow up in a world immersed in digital technologies and most notably, social media. As such, it’s never too early for educators to get their foot in the door and promote better engagement in the classroom by using these exciting new channels.

Around 30 per cent of the global population is estimated to be in on the internet, with social networks reaching 22 percent of people on the planet. While brands and businesses have been eager to get to grips with the opportunities presented by these channels, teachers are still making their first forays into using them as a tool for education.

In this guide, we’ll explore some of the innovative ways you can use social media in the classroom and hopefully provide some inspiration along the way.

5 Simple Ways To Get Started With Technology In The Classroom

1. Have students collaborate for project-based learning with Google+.

This newcomer to the social networking scene has, arguably, earned its place among the big players of the sector, outperforming the likes of Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn in terms of activity last month.

Its unique integration with Google’s entire line of products provides teachers with some particularly great opportunities to co-opt it into classroom activities.

  • Group Work: Google’s web-based documents application suite is available to anyone with an account and can revolutionize the way collaborative projects are carried out. Documents can be opened for real-time sharing and Google+ circles can be used to share resources between members.
  • Hang outs: G+’s increasingly active membership have been eagerly employing this feature since its inception, and some adventurous things have been attempted with the format. Hangouts are great for long-distance learning, after-class activities or putting together a Google+ Hangout with an expert, as well as enhancing student collaboration.
  • Communication: Teachers can set up custom circles and fire out custom communication to groups of students. Furthermore the Twitter-style +messaging enables you to directly address individuals.

2. Use YouTube channels to remediate or extend lessons.

Flagship video sharing service YouTube is brimming with ready-made videos on the topics you’re teaching. Complex issues are distilled into digestible video-shaped chunks and contributors like CGP Grey and the PBS Idea Channel make these concepts relevant and easy to understand.

However, if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, why not have a go at making your own edutainment short? Getting students involved can be a great way to promote engagement and understanding.

3. Use Twitter for microblogging.

This well-established microblogging platform is one of the most popular networks on the block and can provide a great method of communication outside of the classroom. Not only can you suggest relevant users to follow, but you can tweet resources, information and guidance directly to students by setting up a custom account. The 140-character limit will also help students keep their writing concise and to the point.

4. Have students create a pinterest curating a given topic.

This fast-growing network is no longer the stronghold of fashionistas and food photographers and can have a range of educational uses. Infographics are a great way of getting complex concepts across and one forerunner in using Pinterest for learning is Matt Britland, who uses the format to post a range of resources for teachers and students alike. It also allows teachers to collect content for lessons and units, and to share resources with other teachers globally.

Art educators and those involved in fashion or design are also well catered-for with Pinterest, which makes sharing and sorting various examples easier than ever.

5. Let students blog!

If you’re looking for new and exciting ways to create projects, why not assign students a blog to create? This format is easily accessible and makes showcasing excellent work effortless.

Although social media presents a range of opportunities, it is also rife with potential pitfalls. But by encouraging the use of professional secondary accounts and dictating clear usage policies these risks can be minimized and the full potential of the format realized.

This article was brought to you by Gerald Heneghan on behalf of Custard Online Marketing, a bespoke PR service offering a comprehensive range of tailored services; 5 Simple Ways To Get Started With Technology In The Classroom