Thursday, November 8, 2012

Social Media

The Debate on Social Media

A lot has been said about social media these days, both from those praising the ever increasing amounts of connectivity it brings and the critics who decry social media as the destroyers of real, face-to-face social interactions. Now I've been a user of social media for a few years now, both on Twitter and Facebook, and can see both  sides' arguments having some validity. I love being able to check in on friends from high school and college to see how their lives are going, but these sites have also allowed me to do so without meeting with them or even picking up a phone to call them. However, social media doesn't really show an signs of leaving, only that it will become a bigger part of how our world works, and so I think we should do our best to make it a force of good.

Many articles have been written about how to use Twitter and Facebook in the classroom, including this one and this one and they have a lot of great ideas for increasing connectivity and engagement in the classroom. Here are some of my favorite ideas:

Ideas for Using Facebook

Creating a Facebook page for your classroom so parents can get up to date information on what is happening in the classroom and can easily communicate with the teacher with any questions or concerns they might have.

Using the events tool to invite parents, students and/or the public to school events or as reminders of when important projects or presentations are due. 

Ideas for Using Twitter

Following current events as they happen by using hashtags and following the accounts of important people connected to the event such as following the recent presidential election or the Hurricane Sandy cleanup.

Using the 140 character limit as an exercise in writing concise summaries of texts students have read.

Using Twitter to post their connections, emotions and other responses to a text in real time as they read a new book and allowing students to interact and respond to each others' responses to share in the reading experience.

Risks of Social Media and

Although there are positive benefits to using social media in the classroom, there are dangers as well, including risks of strangers interacting inappropriately with your students or students getting access to inappropriate content. I know these risks make me question whether I'd allow Facebook in a classroom of second graders, there is a more controlled option which allows for the same benefits. is a website which allows individuals to set up their own social networks and is very popular with educators. With some work, you can set up your own network to best fit your classroom's needs, allowing your students to make accounts, interact with each other, share information, post thoughts, etc. All of this with you in control to better monitor what your students are doing and posting (to help with assessing how the site is improving skills) and without the worry of mysterious users doing things they ought not to. 

When I get a full time position, I plan on using to build a more controlled Facebook-type site for my students. Using this and Twitter, I will hopefully be able to use social media to help my students better interact with the content of lessons I'll teach and with each other.    


  1. There are definitely a lot of factors to take into account before using any of these social medias in the classroom! It sounds like you will be well prepared to use them safely and effectively in your classroom in the future!

    1. Thank you. I know there's always more to learn, but I like to think I've got a good start at least.