How can social media be used effectively with students Diane Williams Adam Vedomske
Looking at the last 75 years the way we communicate has changed...
With this shift the tools we have used have changed as well. From this...
The way we teach should follow this trend of mobility.
What is social media? According to Darrell West's article, "How Blogs, Social Media, and Video Games Improve Education", social media is “communication outlets that connect sets of people around collective interests and allow for the sharing of ideas and observations.”
Social media is an ingrained part of today’s society. Many students are constantly on Instagram, Facebook, Youtube and Twitter. It’s an online way to communicate to multiple people simultaneously and instantly. With this definition there are a ton of ways to incorporate social media into the classroom. And I’m not talking about only through ye olde Facebook either.
By West's definition participating in really any site's more public/ social side would qualify it for social media. Therefore, making any blog, or comments section social. How do you think Youtube became considered a social media outlet?
So we don't get our lines crossed and our logic tangled, there is a need to have guidelines and rules put into place before using any social media. We have established that there is an appropriate age that falls after the kinder years and before high school years that it is appropriate for students to start working with social media.
We want to make sure the transmission is clear that the younger students should still use elements of social media and should not wait to begin learning about digital citizenship.
Andrew Campbell points out in his article blog how “social media must be more stable and the risks to students minimized before it becomes a fixture in the classrooms.”
He also states that social media is a distraction and difficult to know how to disconnect from. Many students will communicate only online and end up missing out on important social skills. "As a parent of a teenager/middle school and elementary child, I see how social media affects my own children and I can see his point. I don’t think social media is at a place where it can be used effectively with students in this age group." -Diane Williams
So, to answer what tools we should use to have our students use, any. As long as, we can make it have a social aspect about it. That can be a google doc, blog or a class Instagram. You pick your flavor and you make it work.
As long as it gives feedback and has the group aspect it should qualify.
Opposing thoughts to Andrew Campbell's post...
On the other hand Edutopia blog post by Vicki Davis, argues that using social media not only brings current technology to the classroom, but it also helps bridge the digital divide among lower-income students. These students may not have the constant access to social media that their counterparts do. A class Facebook page can be created. Facebook is known as a place to post status updated, announcements, photos, and video all things that are used in classes. A Facebook group also creates a space for students to ask and answer questions. When students share their insights, questions or experiences it can expand learning for other students. It can also be ideal for teachers using a flipped classroom model.
Campbell comes from a place of fear. A classic case of you fear what you don’t understand or know. I find some of his points weak and a cop out. Where I see him state we should slow down, I come from the camp that if you set up guidelines and have the proper preparation and you monitor your students you can have them on some sort social media. According to the Darrell West article social media is “communications outlets that connect sets of people around collective interests and allow for the sharing of ideas and observations.” With this definition there are a ton of ways to incorporate social media into the classroom. And I’m not talking about through ye olde Facebook either.
I am really bothered by this part of his post (in fact this is why I call it weak), it reads.
“In our rush to help students develop good digital citizenship we must remember that that social media might isn’t every student’s “cup of tea”. Teachers using social media in the classroom are often early adopters and advocates. Some students aren’t comfortable with online communication. We need to respect that and ensure that students have other options available and are free to choose what works for them.” (typo is in original post)
Fundamentally, I disagree with the statement “social media might not be every student’s “cup of tea”...Some students aren’t comfortable with online communication.” Honestly, I feel that we are doing a very big disservice if we do not teach our students how to communicate online. If we do not then who will? I’ll tell you who, little Johnny from down the street. You know the one that kicked the neighbor's dog? Yeah him. Social media is not going away, it is here and it is only going to grow. Campbell acts as if by being passive and letting our children pick when a good time is to get on they will make a wise choice. No, we as teachers have a responsibility to educate our students, and this is the direction education is going. Either, you are on the train or not and according to this article, Campbell is not. How do we expect our students to come out on top if they don’t have the proper knowhow to compete in the “real” world? This guy’s philosophy comes from a place of fear. He poked his head up and he did not like what he saw so, he put it back in the sand. Why, do I say that? He does not understand children. My students don’t think that school is their “cup of tea”. But, they are still required to go. When asked why I use technology and I do everything I can on the computer I told my colleague that I am trying to give my students a competitive edge by teaching them what they need in technology. They may not be the best readers and they may not write all too well, but they will have the ability to use a computer that will help them with both of those things. Many of my students have not used a computer before, by opening this realm and helping, and teaching them how to properly use it will level the playing field a little.