As a parent, you may have mixed view about social media. You may LOVE it when checking out fashion or recipe boards on Pinterest but HATE it when your teen refuses to get off Facebook at 10pm on a school night.
But regardless of your opinion – there is no denying that social media is here to stay. In my opinion it makes sense for teachers to embrace it and use it as a way to connect with and enthuse our kids. It’s important to stay relevant in their online world, which both helps us to be a part of that experience and gives us the opportunity to teach them how to use social media in the right way because at the end of the day – social media is the currency of our children’s generation.
Many educators and parents are concerned about the use of social media in schools because of the threat of bullying. However, I believe the best part about using social media in the classroom is that it means the function of these sites is less about pure socialising (where there is a chance bullying behaviour can occur) and more about learning. And I can assure you this is a big positive from a parent’s perspective!
So, how are teachers using it?
- Some teachers (both Primary and Secondary) are setting up class Twitter accounts. Year 5 teacher Bec Spink from Aitkin Creek Primary School in Craigieburn set up a class Twitter account, in consultation with her principal and the class parents. The class has tweeted the Prime Minister and is using the account to converse with students around the world.
- Many schools have created Facebook pages for various subjects and extra-curricular activities. Northern Beaches Christian School in Sydney’s Terrey Hills has Facebook group pages for various subjects such as engineering. Students post photos taken on their mobile phones during lessons and discuss questions and homework with both their classmates and teachers.
- Class blogs are being used by both Primary and Secondary teachers to not only highlight class achievements and activities but give the students an opportunity to publish their work. Kathleen Morris from Leopold Primary School in Victoria has had a class blog since 2008 and uses blogging in most of her classroom activities. In 2012, her class blog won a highly contested international Edublog competition for classroom blogs.
So, if your child teacher wants to create a class blog or even a YouTube channel, take a moment to think about the array of benefits before you say NO. It may just provide the inspiration your child needs to help them develop a lifetime love of learning.