The world is changing every day and through the use of social media (Twitter, WordPress, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest, for example) we are able to communicate with more people globally than ever before.
These different networks often exist without knowledge of controls or oversight and students are left to their own ideas about appropriate usage which can be potentially damaging to their futures.
As a teacher, I feel that social media is an integral part of learning and communicating in the 21st century and beyond and therefore it is an educator’s duty to both model and teach how to use it appropriately and effectively to promote personal brands and learning.
In classes, I use Twitter both as a tool for enhancing classroom discussion and sharing information relevant to different classes. As an educational professional and innovator, social media has been a way for me to proliferate my brand as an educator. Other educators rely on my blog and Twitter account as a model for risks they are taking in their own classrooms.
My students in newspaper use WordPress to present their ideas online responsibly. And we’d like to be using Instagram and Twitter to live tweet and present images, effectively teaching students how to report breaking news responsibly. Accountability and thoughtful use are essential ideas to be modeled and repeated throughout their journalism education.
Photo sharing in my classes is done as a professional model of photojournalism, active caption writing for my students and serves as evidence of what I preach on a professional front. All pictures are appropriate and specifically placed with or as teaching materials making sure not to attach names with the photos to protect student identity.
Students are expected to sign media consent forms when they enroll at World Journalism Preparatory School as publication and audience plays a huge role in Journalism. These consent forms serve as an opportunity to participate in the many technological/journalistic programs we offer.
As we move forward in education and the world continues to grow technologically it is incumbent upon the institutions that educate our children to make social media and technology available and a part of their learning every day. If we don’t take the time to teach kids about how these tools can be used for learning, they will assuredly be using them anyway in less appropriate ways.
Specific social media tools used in class:
- Facebook (newspaper)
- Pinterest (in the future)
- Storify (for curation in the future)
- Vizio and Vimeo for sharing movies
- Google hangouts for outside class meetings and conversations (Skype can also work in this capacity)
- LinkedIn for business networking
Specific skills associated with social media taught:
- Positive branding through online presentation
- Concise writing through Twitter
- Developing engaging headlines that make readers want to read
- Photojournalistic tenets of picture taking and caption writing
- Developing an audience
- Sharing content and promoting positive/critical feedback through comments
- Developing voice through blogging, micro-blogging and images
- Understanding how to write for different formats and media
- Developing an understanding of the best genre for a given piece of content
- Convergent journalism
- Sharing and collaboration
- Problem solving
- Group work
- Technology skills like researching and vetting sources and citing sources
- Networking and branding
- Curation – developing the main idea digitally
How do you use social media in your classes?