With technology becoming ever more prevalent in the classroom, it’s no wonder that teachers and students alike are looking to social media to create unique and creative teaching and learning techniques. How can you use utilise social media to maximise engagement in your learning environment?
1. Bring your lessons online with a hashtag
A great way for students and teachers to share their work is to bring their work online, spreading it internationally with others to debate and share tips and comments with others in your field of study or just curious onlookers.
A great example of this is from Professor of Chemical Education, Simon Lancaster, at the University of East Anglia. Simon created a unique hashtag for his Chemistry seminars and lectures, based on the course code his students use, #CHE4301Y. The hashtag is used and replied to by Simon and his students, other teachers, and chemistry fanatics around the world. By using a hashtag for your work or class, students can share their work across the globe,
2 .Use a Facebook group to host discussions with your students.
Los Angeles’ Beverly Hills High School educator, Julie Goler, introduced a Facebook page for her English students, a place where students felt comfortable and could easily ask questions, both of her and their fellow classmates. The page was initially set up to arrange weekend field trips to museums and exhibitions between her students but they soon started to populate the page with their own discussions, tech tips, homework questions and debate on class topics. Julie explains that though this is a fun and relaxed environment for her students to engage with each other, ground rules do need to be set.
“After I set the ground rules, they tend to follow them: post only when it’s for the general good and welfare of the class and always know that the world is watching (don’t post anything that you wouldn’t want to be on the front page of the Los Angeles Times). Sometimes I have to have little talks along the way about appropriate, professional Facebook behaviour, but that too is a learning opportunity for my kids.”
3. Start a blog for yourself, your colleagues and student’s parents
A great way to reassure parents and to get them involved in their children’s learning experience is to blog about your teaching. Writing about your methods, new ideas, student reactions and general thoughts around the education system will show how passionate you are about your career in teaching. It’s also a great platform to share knowledge and ideas with other educators who are on present on social media. Remember to always ask permission from both the parent and child if posting any photos of students under 18.
Over to you
Have you used social media in your teaching career? Let us know at @SocialBuk!