6 Ways Social Media Will Change Your Classroom

by Ashley McCann

Technology is changing the world at a rapid pace, and education isn’t exempt from the effects of that. Social media, in particular, is one of the greatest influences of our time — not just on young people, but on culture in general — encouraging social connections and enabling the exchange of thoughts and information on a global scale.

And although it has its drawbacks (peer pressure, bullying, access to questionable content, and its addictive nature, to name a few), there are also tremendous benefits when it comes to social networks — and let’s face it, they’re not going anywhere.

As Terry Heick said in 10 Strategies To Help Students Use Social Media For Critical Thinking:

From chisels and tablets to the printing press to radio and television to twitter and Facebook, as long as we continue to have thoughts and ideas, we will continue to seek to publish and socialize them with others.

So how do we incorporate healthy social media use in the classroom? The following Sylvia Duckworth graphic by Amanda Ronan offers some helpful initial ideas. What would you add?

See Also Bloom’s Taxonomy Digital Planning Verbs 

You’ll get a real sense of what students are thinking.

Forget student journals — young people feel empowered to reveal their true selves to a broader audience in a non-school setting. Get a hint of what’s really happening in their thoughts and lives through social media.

You’ll have easy access to in-the-moment materials.

From following NASA during the solar eclipse to Jim Cantore during major weather events, social networks provide up-to-the-minute information on what’s going on around the world and provides a plethora of opinions to evaluate.

You’ll connect your classroom to people making an impact.

It’s usually a challenge to get people like politicians, prominent social activists, or astronauts in front of your students — but not only can you follow their thoughts on social media, you also have a decent chance of direct communication through messages or comments.

Access to people of influence has never been easier.

You’ll globalize your classroom.

One of the most amazing aspects of the internet is how it’s managed to make the world feel smaller.  From current events to astro-photography, almost anything you can imagine is merely a click away. The educational opportunities are truly endless.

You’ll connect with families.

Meet the teacher night is great and online parent portals are helpful, but a connection via social media is the perfect mix of personal and professional, allowing you to distribute not only classroom information, but also your teaching philosophy and personal interests.

It offers families the same opportunity, giving you more in-depth insight into where a student comes from.

Students will think about lessons outside of the classroom.

Even the most fascinating content matter is often easily left behind when you move on to the next chapter. Social media allows you to introduce experts and areas of information in a way that will follow students out of the classroom and into their lives.

How Can Social Media Change Your Classroom? 6 Ways Social Media Will Change Your Classroom