“We need to make the positive so loud that the negative becomes almost impossible to hear.”
When the term social networking or social media is used, it tends to automatically migrate to negative thoughts, primarily when accompanied by any words associated with education or “in the classroom..” By definition, a social network is, “an online service or site through which people create and maintain interpersonal relationships’ ‘ (Merriam-Webster, n.d.). Social media is the tools and platforms in which the creation and exchange of content occur. Social media isn’t bad per its definition alone. The truth is that all social media platforms have the ability to build up and spread positivity or tear down. The social media tool’s user is often the cause of negativity, not the tool itself. This is where digital citizenship comes into the picture. As teachers in the 21st century, we have an additional responsibility to teach our students to become good digital citizens and to model it. Learning the proper way to become a good citizen online transforms the student into a digital leader. According to Jennifer Casa-Todd’s book, SociaLEADia, Digital leadership is using technology and social media to learn and share learning, to promote important causes , and to positively influence others.(2017)” Social media is not something that should be used all the time in the classroom, balance and moderation are extremely important.
What is important to realize as teachers is that we have a deep desire to foster an environment where students can let their creativity blossom. While social media by definition isn’t bad, negative experiences will still occur. By bringing social media into the classroom and using the tool for a positive and productive learning experience, the students develop a better understanding of how to use social media in a productive manner (Todd, 2017)
Kerric Harvey is an associate professor at George Washington University. She suggests social media can be considered anything that connects people in large-scale conversation, exploration, and opinion-sharing. If we take this thought of social media, it fits directly into building critical thinking, problem solving, and communication skills in our students.
The following social networking platforms are commonly used today. Many other social media platforms exist; however the focus here remains social media used in the classroom.
Facebook – free social networking site that allows users to connect with friends, upload photos and videos, like, comment, message, and “Go live.” Facebook is a place for individuals and a place for social media marketing.
YouTube – An online platform that believes everyone should have a voice, a place to listen, and to build community.
Twitter – “An open service that’s home to a world of diverse people, perspectives, ideas, and information” (about.twitter.com).
Instagram – A photo and video sharing social networking service that allows users to create and share.
LinkedIn – A social networking platform used for professional development, career advancement, recruiting, and advertisements.
Pinterest – Where to find a plethera of ideas and inspiration for the classroom, lesson plans, and everything under the sun!
social networking in education
Social media and social networks are now a part of everyday communication. Almost all of us rely on one form of social networking on a daily basis. Coming alongside of our students in a social media platform can help shape a positive mindset about social media. Using the tool for good and being in the space with them can also provide opportunities for teaching and correction. I will again bring up Jennifer Casa-Todd’s book, SociaLEADia, which offers great examples. Whether we like or not, we live in the digital age and our students grow up with social media as a part of their life. Let’s do our part as educators to use it and model it for good and make a positive impact.
- Reading: How Social Media is Reshaping Today’s Education System by Lori Wade
list of social media tools for the classroom
Perform a web search and find three ways that you can use social media in the classroom.
- Explain what you found, what platform you would use to do the activity/assignment, and what grade level?
- What are your thoughts on using social media in the classroom?
Casa-Todd, J. (2017). Social leadia: Moving students from digital citizenship to digital leadership. Dave Burgess Consulting.
Harvey, K. (2014). Encyclopedia of Social Media and Politics. SAGE Publications, Incorporated.