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June 30th is Social Media Day!  It was originally started by Mashup (a social media site) to educate people on the importance of social media in our lives and is celebrated internationally.  As educators, social media can be a valuable tool.  It can help educate our students, it can be used for assessments, as well as a means of communication with both parents and students. If you haven’t incorporated social media in your classroom, here are simple ideas that would work for any classroom.

Educate

Personally, I love social media. I love knowing what is going on in the world around me. Years before I fell in love with social media, I felt I wasn’t current with things happening in the world. Yes, I read the paper and watched the news, but I felt something was lacking and was “old” news. I now feel more connected and see how vital social media is for current events.

  • Have students view articles and follow groups that provide educational materials.  This allows students to stay on top of current events.
  • Virtual Classrooms are a valuable resource.  Sites like Edmodo, Blackboard, and even Google Classroom, expand learning beyond the walls of the school.

Assessments

Use social media to help assess student knowledge.  They won’t even realize it was a test!

  • Twitter can be used to answer questions with a #. No, this no longer just a number sign it is a hashtag.  Hastags allow you to sort or organize information. By creating a tweet group you can monitor what is going on and make sure students are on task.
  • Try using Instagram as a writing prompt.  We all know a picture is worth a thousand words.  Have students write about the images you have ore-selected for your class!
  • Sumdog is a great site that provides math and reading skills for younger students.  My students love this environment and  don’t even realize they are being assessed!

Communication

This is one major benefit of social media in the classroom.  If you don’t use it for anything else than for communicating, your parents will thank you!

  • Website/Blogs  allow students to communicate with wider audience.  I have found that my students are more aware of their writing and it has helped to improve their skills.
  • Facebook allows you to create groups. This could be used for parents or students. Remember “Facebook Groups”  can be made public, closed or private.  I would suggest private because it allows you to closely monitor activity.
  • Big Universe encourages students to share what they have read. Students can add friends and recommend books from their bookshelves as well.
  • Class Dojo/SeeSaw are great platforms that make communication with parents more efficient.  Projects can be uploaded for parents to see.
  • Skype is a great resource to learn and communicate with others around the world.  What a valuable resource to be able to learn from experts!

As educators, we have many tools that help us energize our teaching.  Social media can be a great tool! We love to hear from our readers, how do you use social media in your classroom?  Make sure to include these hashtags in your writing.  #smd #smday

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