This past week we were lucky enough to have John Finch (MB education) with us, giving a presentation on Social Media in the Classroom. We spent time discussing various social media tools that can be used in the classroom. After learning about how to use these various tools we also talked about the irony in Manitoba school division's policies on using these particular sites in schools. Many school divisions in Manitoba have found that the majority of students misuse sites such as Facebook. In an attempt to control this behaviour, they have blocked social media sites from students entirely. I found it very interesting how certain school divisions allow various types of social media, and other divisions disallow social media such as Facebook, Twitter, youtube etc.
I believe that teachers can use social media sites, such as Facebook, to inspire and encourage students to complete assignments or homework. Teachers can use Facebook for a starting point for class activities including: following news feeds, share links, educational games, follow news stories, create class groups, share multimedia and much more. A great site for ideas on integrating the use of Facebook into the classroom is:
Twitter can also be a very effective method of incorporating students into classroom activities. For example, when I was student teaching I encouraged my students to use social networking sites in a positive way. One might assume that there aren't a lot of ways to incorporate Twitter into a subject like Physical Education..but there definitely are! During one of my health units, we were concentrating on fitness and healthy lifestyle practices and I gave them links to a number of different web tools that we used, but also encouraged students to “follow” various types of fitness and health professionals such as Tosca Reno,and Lacey Stone. Twitter can also be used to help parents and other teachers “follow” what students are currently learning about in class. The following is a link to a site that will help to explain some of the other uses Twitter may have in the classroom: http://www.ideastoinspire.co.uk/twitter.htm
When you start to think about all of the different types of online social media, there really are endless possibilities to which one could incorporate these such web tools into the classroom. As teachers, all we have to do is be able to accept the concept and allow ourselves to think creatively enough..and the sky's the limit!