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Social media can help educators improve learning

Social media tools are effective when used correctly

social-media-teachersTeachers hear it all the time: Using social media will help increase professional development opportunities, it will engage students, and it can help students make real-world connections between what they’re learning and future career paths.

But how, exactly, can teachers begin? Some are quite social media-savvy, and others are unsure of where to turn. An infographic containing information from Edudemic, the National Education Association, Facebook, and more serves as a useful social media resource for teachers, curriculum directors, and technology integrators.

Educators can use social media to connect, notify, teach, and curate.

Facebook, one of the most widely-used social media tools, can help teachers improve their communication with students through Facebook group messages or group chats. Teachers can create a Facebook page for a class and can post events, notes, and assignment due dates, and can go one step further and ask students to engage in discussions about what they’re learning.

Through Twitter, teachers can post supplementary materials, such as links to relevant articles and videos, that students can access outside of class on their mobile or home devices. Choosing and using one hash tag with tweets will let students follow a conversation and see every tweet on that topic, as long as the tweet contains the chosen hash tag. Setting up a specific feed this way lets an entire class monitor the discussion–they can even reference older discussions from previous units or semesters.

Twitter also lets teachers and students connect with other students and educators. Maybe more importantly, it can link students with subject matter experts and professionals in certain fields–helping students form links between what they learn in the classroom and where that knowledge can take them in college or the workforce.

(Next page: Take a quick poll on social media use! Plus, view the infographic.)

Pinterest, a virtual “pin board” where pinners created different boards and then save images that link to websites to those boards, has many educational uses. This social media resource lets teachers organize resources according to subject area, different units, professional development resources, ideas for children with special needs, and more. It also is an easy way for teachers to organize future lesson plans without losing those ideas.

Curriculum directors and teachers can opt to “follow” Pinterest members or certain boards that other members post to, and this way they will see updated resources and ideas in their Pinterest feeds.

[poll id=”36″]

With the advent of flipped learning, social media tools that use video offer much potential for teachers and curriculum directors. If students have an internet connection at home, through public wifi, or on a mobile device, they can watch videos their teachers post. Teachers can record lessons and post to YouTube so that students can stay current if they miss class or if they wish to review concepts. Going a step further, teachers could post bonus questions or short challenges in the videos they post, and could award extra credit to students who answer those questions or challenges correctly.

Educators can monitor fellow educators’ social media feeds for ideas on new instructional methods, trends, and support. Many parents use social media, and teachers can let parents know of classroom social media accounts to open up parent-teacher communication. Parents might even find that a particular lesson is relevant or interesting, and could choose to share their knowledge or contribute to the conversation.

View the infographic below

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Laura Ascione

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