Social Media in the Classroom – Connecting with students where they are
Type of technology: Social Media
SAMR Model Rating: Modification
Grade level: 7-12th
Subject area: History/Social Studies
After hearing about SnapChat a couple years ago, I was frightened by the potential for bullying and worse. Not surprisingly, this is the typical response I get from teachers that I talk to today. I, myself, had a Facebook and Instagram account, but I’d never attempted to use them in the classroom. Last year, after some research into how social media could be used in an educational way in the classroom, I decided to give it a try.
To begin with, I had to learn Snapchat speak:
Story – a 24 collection of your photos and/or videos
Snap – sending photos or videos to your friends/followers; these can be viewed for up to ten seconds
Snapback – a reply to a snap
and Instagram lingo:
Stories – similar to Snapchat
Posts – photos and videos you choose to share
Hashtags – gives context to your post or comment
Now, equipped with the terminology, how do I put it to use in my room?
First and foremost, check in with administration to explain your plan. My admin was open and supportive – full speed ahead! Secondly, create an account you’ll use only for school (do not use your personal account) and decide whether or not you’d like to add students who follow you as friends, or just be followed by them. If you decide the former, make sure to set some guidelines in terms of what students should and should not post and our obligation as mandated reporters, etc. I tell my students that I’ll follow them only if they request it. Now for the fun stuff:
Congratulate – This is a pic of student work during our study of Classic, Medieval and Renaissance art.
Virtual study session – This was one of my first Snapchat Stories that I posted with the goal of reminding students of the Reformation figures who would appear on the next day’s quiz.
Music video – This is part of a music video I posted on Instagram during our study of the Black Plague during the middle ages.
Humorous uses of content – This is a post on Instagram I shared to remind students of our quiz the following day.
I’ve found that I can use Snapchat and Instagram in similar ways. It’s worth checking out both to see which you prefer. Either way, social media can help you set the tone for your class culture as well as give student a little more insight into who you are. I’ve found that connecting with students where they are can be fun and rewarding and I plan to continue exploring its uses to enrich relationships and content in my classroom.