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Classrooms Get Social

Are teachers leveraging the power of social media in the classroom? According to a study released by University of Phoenix College of Education at the beginning of the 2015-16 school year, only 13 percent of K-12 teachers have integrated social media into instruction. The study also revealed less than half of K-12 instructors believe social media can enhance a student’s educational experience.

While teachers may be reluctant to bring social media into the classroom, there are many potential benefits to integrating such platforms into K-12 education. One of those benefits includes teaching students digital citizenship skills.

A recent white paper from NetRef states education technology initiatives must emphasize best practices for engaging with social media and potential consequences. Regardless of whether teachers are ready to embrace social media in the classroom, today’s K-12 students are digital natives and will continue to utilize platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat in their daily lives. There is a growing expectation that teachers will take on the responsibility to teach students the implications of a digital footprint. Illustration courtesy of StartBloggingOnline.com

Heading into the 2016-17 school year, it is vital for teachers to consider how to use social media platforms to enhance curriculum and educate students about appropriate online behavior. Here are some social media classroom trends likely to grow in the upcoming school year:

Classroom blogs

Blogs have become a popular way for teachers to create online conversations with students while honing writing skills. Students can either curate content for a single classroom blog or develop their own individual blogs.

Podcast practice

Podcasts give students the chance to practice new media skills while learning curricular concepts. Teachers also develop their own podcasts to deliver lessons. If students have Internet access at home, they can easily review material by listening to podcasts outside of school.

Facebook groups

Classroom Facebook groups often are used to share online resources and facilitate discussion. With the option to create private groups, Facebook offers a simple way to get students to practice online etiquette among their peers.

Twitter chats

Students can easily use Twitter to connect with each other inside and outside the classroom. Whether a teacher wants to host a live Twitter chat in class or assign tweets as a homework assignment, using a class hashtag can help students engage with content and practice digital citizenship skills.

Connecting with experts

Through platforms such as Skype or even Twitter, teachers can connect with expert sources about the topics taught in class. This practice gives students a new resource to learn from and provides a model of how adults conduct themselves on social media.