The topic above may have crossed the modern-day teacher’s mind since the emergence of Facebook, Twitter, Blogger and several other social media platforms especially as it relates to the effect these platforms have on students’ learning experience. The use of social media began to slowly permeate into the classroom as students began to own connected smartphones. Social media use in education needs to be paid close attention and students fiddling on their phones during a lesson may not be that chaotic if such chaos is managed or organized to yield desirable outcomes. The ever creative creatures called teachers also need to find a way to flip this situation to their advantage. As a result of the growing relevance of social media use, questions begin to arise such as: ‘What is this peculiar thing that attracts students more than the theoretical principles of Present Perfect?’ and ‘How can an English teacher make modal verbs attractive and understandable to students?’
Teachers need to find ways to keep their students’ interest to the lessons raised at all times. Trust me, it’s not easy being a teacher. It makes you question a lot of things, like parenthood and alcoholism, the resentment of the first and the elation that the second brings after a hard day at work; but it also makes you feel alive and challenged because of the people that you get to interact with each day, the ideas they bring and share with you and their peers, and the way they look at you when you teach them something new. Teaching needs to be innovative. You need to be knowledgeable of course, but you need to constantly find new ways to keep your lessons vivid. You need to be full of energy and be on the lookout for the new trends that your student adore using. Sounds familiar? If so, then you are a teacher looking to expand your repertoire by incorporating social media in your teaching routine.
Here are some ways that you can use social media in your classroom to get your students crave your next lesson (I may be exaggerating, but you get my drift!):
- Encourage your students to write for an audience. Forming a group as a classroom can turn out to be a lot of fun when your students can do some of their writing for an audience such as their classroom audience. Also, you can have your students post a piece on a regular basis reflecting on what they learnt, what they enjoyed most, and what else happened in their classroom that they enjoyed. You could even ask them to look for their own photos online or allot them a fraction of time during the week to take photos in the classroom simply for that purpose. Just remember, everything needs to be done in moderation!
- Endow communication. This is what social media is all about, isn’t it? Of course, it’s getting a bit out of hand in present times, but for the sake of creating a fun learning environment for your students, you could allow them to post their suggestions on an online classroom group. This will surely facilitate their feedback and opinions both for you and their peers. Asides providing you with an easy insight into what constitutes the students’ ideal lessons, it can also promote constructive feedback, polite comments and conversations among your students.
- Let your students’ voices be heard. YouTube projects and videos are sprouting like mushrooms around the world and the chance to see themselves on the screen would indeed sound appealing. If this is the case with your students, why not start a collaborative channel with your classroom where you share classroom topics, ideas, and happenings? You could even have a YouTube calendar to keep track of what you are discussing on your channel. All your students can participate in pairs, groups, or individually. Give them the freedom to shine and I am sure that they will not have a dull moment in their lessons!
As you may have guessed, this article only scratched the surface of what you can do with social media in your classroom. There are so much more to be done like collaborating with other schools both within the community and beyond, classrooms, students, teachers; promoting creative work or a cause that the classroom cares about. Ensure you use it to teach students about the world through authentic material, and more. Above all, be creative!
Pola is an avid reader and passionate about anything education related. She is an English teacher and has taught students from diverse backgrounds, both privately and in the classroom. Her studies in English Language and Literature and International and Comparative Education have provided her with the necessary skills and knowledge to pursue a number of varied internships and positions, which have all contributed to a multifaceted professional approach. She recently interned at the Science Department of the UNESCO Office in Venice, Italy, where she contributes to the development and assessment of UNESCO-endorsed STEM related activities for science education.