OMG! Social media is here to stay. While some schools are still apprehensive about social media--students are constantly connected to the internet, mobile devices and social networks. Data from the Pew Research Center reveals that 73% of teens are using social networks. With its widespread use and familiarity, social media is a powerful tool to use in the classroom.
Social media tools have a lot of benefits for learning. They improve engagement among students; because students are interacting and engaging in Social Learning. Social tools also encourage a dialogue. While some students may normally be shy in class, social media helps them express themselves.
See these examples of success stories, highlighting Twitter in the classroom.
So when it comes to using these tools, where do you start? How do you set guidelines? Here are our suggestions of Best Practices when incorporating social media in the classroom:
Design a social media policy
Starting with a social media policy is essential. This will outline acceptable use, privacy, consequences for violating the policy and more. Setting clear expectations and guidelines will hold students accountable for their actions and protect everyone involved. Have students review the policy with their parent or guardian.
Educate students on how to recognize and report abuse
Inappropriate language, unacceptable usage and cyber bullying can be a major concern for both schools and parents. Educators must discuss these issues with their students. Help students understand abuse and give them a method to report any issues. Make sure to document any complaints or concerns.
Choose tools that support your goals
The social media revolution has lead to the creation of hundreds of social networks, which one is right for your classroom? Start by defining your goals; that will help you decide which fits best. Make sure to choose a network that is easily monitored and has the privacy settings you desire.
Create a wider community!
Social media is not a bubble; it’s about connecting with others! Social media can be a great way to collaborate with more than just your students. It opens the door for communication with other classrooms or schools, experts and more. So upload YouTube videos to share with other classes. Create a Facebook page to communicate with another school about a joint project. Ask parents to join a weekly Twitter chat. Share your classroom blogs with your local community and around the world!