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Media Revolution – Social Media in the Classroom – Good Fit?

Connected in the Classroom

Social Media in the Classroom – Good Fit?

Is Social Media a good fit into the classroom?  We are having to ask that question, whether we like it or not.  Students are constantly using social media daily.  Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, are just of the few sites they visit.  As teachers, we have to decide to if there is merit of these sites.  I can remember when MySpace was the all the rage.  Facebook came along, and boy did that throw people for a loop.  People jumped on the bandwagon and reconnected with people all over the world.  Now we have to decide how social media has changed the landscape of education.

Today, many teachers are using websites; Facebook pages, and Twitter accounts to connect with their students on an educational level.  As Shirky states,  “Human beings are social creatures – not by accident, but always” (p. 14).  Our students are social creatures and more so than ever since the invasion of social media.  It is how they conduct their lives.  Shirky believes the cell phone a major factor in the advancement of social media (YouTube-Ted).  What do almost all teenagers have?  Well, the newest cell phone available.  Now, the question is if social media is a good fit into the classroom.  I believe that if we don’t make it a good fit, we will fall behind in education.

Okay, I know some of you are thinking that some will abuse the privilege and the idea of social media being allowed into the classroom.  Yes, they will, and we will have to deal with that on a case to case basis.  However, I know a teacher that has a web page and Twitter account that is set up just for her class.  By using these types of media, her students have fewer missing assignments and can get updated information if they are absent.  Parents are informed, and students cannot “pull the wool over their eyes” as in years past.  We will have to look at the negatives as we go through the journey.  The idea of invading others’ privacy does worry me.  We will have to be the ones to educate our students about the dangers of being too connected.

I truly think this is an exciting time in education.  I think the idea of organizing the group for the common good of all students will be a plus.  If using Twitter, Facebook, or other types of media will help my student stay engaged in learning, then I am all for it!   As a SPED teacher, I am going to use every tool in the tool box given to me to help my students be on the same playing field as general-education  students.  So I can say, social media will be a good fit if it is done properly.

Six degrees of connection is all around us. We  either embrace it, or we will be left out in the cold.   Our global economy is advancing at a rate we never thought was possible.   Hold on folks, the ride will be bumpy but with lots of excitement and learning.

Photos Courtesy of:

https://www.google.com/search?q=pictures+of+here+comes+everybody&client=firefox&hs=CR0&hl=en&rls=com.yahoo:en-US:official&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=faSNUf_kNOHxiwKd64BY&ved=0CCwQsAQ&biw=1600&bih=728

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://blogs-images.forbes.com/benkerschberg/files/2011/09/Social-Media-Icons.png&imgrefurl=http://www.forbes.com/sites/benkerschberg/2011/09/28/managing-information-risk-and-archiving-social-media/&h=1024&w=1056&sz=2633&tbnid=yQCM224x3SL3yM:&tbnh=101&tbnw=104&zoom=1&usg=__NOx3h98SrnDJGT4wu4u659wGp_Y=&docid=IdmBJTHY3cxN6M&sa=X&ei=3KONUYfGGeamiQKDnYDAAQ&ved=0CDEQ9QEwAA&dur=371

References:

Shirky, C. (n.d.). Here Comes Everyone by. Retrieved May 10, 2013, from Google Books: http://books.google.com/books?id=mafZyckH_bAC&printsec=frontcover&dq=here+comes+everybody&hl=en&sa=X&ei=T5uNUeKVHOiuiAK6q4GoBg&ved=0CDAQ6AEwAA

TED, Y. . (n.d.). Clay Shirky: How cellphones, Twitter, Facebook can make history. Retrieved May 10, 2013, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_iN_QubRs0

 

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9 comments on “Media Revolution – Social Media in the Classroom – Good Fit?

  1. Cynthia,
    I like how you are making it a point to teach your special education students about social media sites. From a previous course I have taken I learned about the competency theory where students are more likely to be accepted by their peers if they are competent at something. If special education children join social media sites they can be viewed as competent by their peers and will thus be accepted. There is a negative perception amongst students of special education students and special education students are sometimes mocked or the target of ridicule.
    I too love the idea of using social media in education to keep students and parents connected. If students and parents have access to a Twitter page, for example ,that is designed specifically for a course then students and parents have instant access to course updates.

    • Exactly! My students have been through the wringer. They will be able to fit in when they go off to college or if they get a job. Just being able to use technology skills helps them not to be viewed with a negative perspective. Most of all, they need to be able complete in this global economy.

  2. Could not agree more that social media can even the playing field between Sped and Gen ed students. My students all have iPads why not utilize them. I think that technology is the wave of the future Sped classrooms. I use my interactive board, tablet, and clickers daily to engage my students. YouTube is a staple in the classroom for my students because they enjoy sharing videos with each other. I have not joined the new cell phone revolution but I am buying a tablet as my number one tool in the toolbox. Social media is exciting and useful if we can embrace it with our students in mind.

  3. Our students need to be engaged. They have issues with pen and paper kind of education. I am going to use anything I have available to me to help my students be successful. Plus, technology is the wave of the future. We can either jump on board or find another job. Our students are actually demanding that we jump on board. I wished I had the clicker and a smart board. That is on my wish list!

  4. I agree with you. We want students to stay interested in what we are teaching them. The district I work for has placed ipads in every classroom and the students love playing reading and math apps. The love using clickers when they have to do warm-ups or when taking a quiz.

  5. I really like the way you phrased this topic here Cynthia. Yes we need to be careful with how we use and portray the technology but we should not be afraid of it. If we can be involved with the media with the students and their students then we can make a stronger classroom together. Students will be able to communicate with teachers easier and parents will know what is going on with their children and hopefully this will encourage the parents to become more active in the education process.

    The trick, like you mentioned, was to find the proper way to fit social media into the classroom. From our various blogs I think we are making progress towards that fit, but I believe that an universal (or at least school wide) policy would bring us all onto the same page. Though I hope (perhaps vainly) that each administration in each district will provide leeway for each teacher to treat social media with their own spin. This class has inspired me to start including a facebook page at least in my own summer class’ that I will be teaching in June:).

  6. Cynthia,
    Your enthusiasm and optimism is certainly infectious. I think you have made valid and logical points in your blog post in response to using social media in the classroom. One I find most relevant, is the fact that most of us are using social media in one way or another in our lives, digital natives and digital immigrants alike, so it would make sense that we find a way to make it more useful than just socializing about our personal endeavors and adventures. Turning social media into a valuable and engaging tool to get students, in both Special Ed. and General Ed., to strive for appropriate and relevant ways to be able to achieve learning objectives, is perhaps the best way currently available. It is hard to argue with the fact that digital technology is shaping contemporary education. However, I do still maintain that there is and will always be an exponential amount of policing and constraints needed in the use of such aspects of digital technology like social medias, in order to commit these tools of frequent frivolity to being most effective and least restrictive in all learning environments, but by no means is excluding this aspect of society, as it is rapidly abundant and ever more apparent that this is an important and valuable part of 21st century and will need to be included constructively in the ways we all teach and learn.

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