8 Ways to Use Social Networks in the Classroom

Twitter in Education

Twitter in Education

Earlier, we talked about a few great resources for educators that are available for free online. These services were more focused on education and catering to their needs for creating internal social networking platforms, open-source blackboards and conferencing applications. They were great resources but they all required some amount of set-up and involved a bit of a learning curve to get used to them.

Today we are just going to share some ideas that help educators bring social networks into classrooms, utilizing some of the services that we all use. Ranging from Twitter to Skype we will share 8 ways that they can be used in the classroom.

Create a Twitter Account

Using Twitter for Teacher – Student communication allows for short and quick messages exchange. This is useful for students and teachers to ask questions and might be a great resource for the teacher in the preparation of her class notes allowing her to know which areas to focus on.

Using a Wiki

An example of a wiki is the famous online encyclopedia Wikipedia. Wiki, by design, encourages discussion and interactivity, fostering in and out of class discussion. By creating an outline of a Wiki entry and allowing the students to edit and discuss the subject matter, it will help introduce a new and fun element to their homework, while at the same time encouraging debate. There are many creative ways to use Wikis in education.

Create a Youtube Channel

School material might be limited, dull and sometimes outdated. Students tend to navigate Youtube quite naturally, and it is one of their sources of information. By utilizing this familiar platform, you can create videos or slideshows that would provide some useful and relevant information, even link some other videos that are available on Youtube. This will also encourage students to reply with their own videos.

Share Online Documents

Students sometimes need quick access to the syllabus, worksheets, or some review notes. Slideshare and Scribd allow educators to upload all relevant online materials to one location. This allows students to reach those documents from their computers.

Update Facebook’s status

Teachers can utilize FB’s Status updates to post a question, share a piece of information, video or link that would open up the discussion for next class. This would encourage students to research and prepare for the next class, practically expanding the walls of the classroom into cyberspace.

Be In Diigo

Create an account and a group for the classroom, students and teachers and utilize Diigo‘s great social bookmarking capabilities. Diigo allows users to create groups and networks in which they can share, annotate and collaborate on content all over the web. Further, it will allow teachers to augment the curriculum’s weak points with information and comments as you see fit. It could also be used to create an educational treasure hunt using annotations left on web pages. Check the video below to learn more about Diigo.

Reach out

The point of social networks is to make networking easier, so why not use it for not only a network classrooms in a single school but expand it to the other schools in the district. Approach other educators in nearby schools to collaborate on projects or just invite them to some social media projects that you are currently working on. This will help create an environment that is slightly different from the classroom, where there is the intrigue to get to know other students which will reflect positively on their communication skills and will create a fostering environment for debates.

Can you see me now?

loyola

Use Skype

Teleconferencing can be a great educational and fun tool and what better service to use than Skype. The way you can use Skype can differ greatly from being able to share the school trip with those kids that couldn’t make it, to inviting guest speakers and authors to give talks to students and participate in their classes via Skype.

Whatever the tool that the teacher is most comfortable using, there is surely a way to use it in the classroom and the limit is the sky with what you can do when you wed social media and education.

Did you find the suggestions useful? If you are in education or you have kids in school, are there any other ways that you found social media to be useful? Let us hear your thoughts.

Comments and Reactions

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/ Beiruta

    Nice post and great ideas. Yet I am more than inclined to ask the following: Don't you think social media would cause more distraction to students in general? I mean they might go to Youtube to view a classroom related topic and end up stuck there for hours watching video clips!

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/ Roba

    Cool, let's hope this handy list will make educators use technology more in the academic field.

  • http://twitter.com/ma2moun ma2moun

    Very good article. I was thinking to start this (specifically the Teacher-Student Tweets) on the next semester. In addition to what you have mentioned, I will be making the assignments and hints to solve through Twitter. I believe that this is part of making the students, especially those of IT related majors, up-to-date with latest tech. applications.

  • http://idunnoletsfindout.com/2010/01/29/build-a-professional-or-personal-learning-community/ Build a Professional or Personal Learning Community -I Dunno. Lets Find Out. Why Not ?

    [...] 8 Ways to Use Social Networks in the Classroom (thoughtpick.com) [...]

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