Five Things You Can Do to Bring Social Media to the Classroom

Social media is popular among various age groups. Students, 29-somethings, business executives, homemakers, and teachers log into their social media accounts whenever they can. While it started as a social tool, it has now become an integral venue for communication, information, marketing, and publicity. Whenever you have a product or an event to sell, you post it on Facebook or Twitter, and you can instantly generate a lot of views and online attention. You post your campaign on Facebook, and it can easily catch the interest of like-minded individuals and groups. Social media has also been helpful in carrying out election campaigns.

With the way social media has become popular, it is not surprising that a lot of teachers have started using and integrating it into their classroom lessons and activities. While some teachers may frown upon this, there are several benefits – major ones – that both the students and educators can get from using social media in the classroom.

As it is quite a new concept, it is understandable that some teachers have yet to fully understand how to use social media properly in their classes. It’s a continuous learning process. If you are one of those who have not yet tried bringing social media to class, here are five tips that you can follow to make the transformation easier for you and your students.

1. Use social media for teaching your students about documentation.

Facebook and Instagram are great platforms for documentation. Instead of asking your students to submit the usual/traditional written report, ask them to use their social media accounts to document their report. They can take photos and videos to document what they did for their report. All they need to do is create an album on Facebook or post the photos on Instagram using hashtags so they can be easily monitored. Likewise, students can create a blog using WordPress or Tumblr and document their report. It will be like reporting online.

2. Use social media to promote thoughts, ideas, and proper practices.

Divide your class into groups of not more than five students. Each group should then be given a topic, situation, issue, or moral value. Their task is to create an online campaign for whatever is assigned to them. For example, the group tasked to campaign or promote respect for elders can come up with a series of videos showing a dramatization of different situations connected to their campaign. They can then post the videos online – on a blog site they created or on a Facebook page they made. Another example would be a group tasked to make a survey about the importance of technology in education. They can create an online survey (there are social media apps for this) on the topic and run it for several days. At the end of the survey period, they can post the results on their social media page (they have to create one) and submit a video report to you. Lastly, you can also ask one group to use Facebook Live to interview a person or group who is an expert on the issue or situation assigned to them.

3. Ask the class to create an online show or presentation via YouTube.

Let’s say your class is history and your current discussion is about the late President John F. Kennedy. To make the subject more interesting, ask your students to come up with an original show about JFK. They have to choose one aspect of his life to focus on. And they have to post their show on YouTube. For an English class, on the other hand, the video can be a news broadcast.

4. Make a website for the class.

Assign each student with a topic and ask them to come up with at least two write ups about it. Then have them create a website for the class, with each student’s article used as content. This is a good activity lessons and discussions on spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Before posting their articles on the website, review each one with the class. If you are not that familiar with blogging yet, there are a lot of tools for blogging made for teachers that you will find online.

5. Make an Instagram Account for the Class

You can use Instagram to document your students and the class’ development and activities. You can post photos of their projects, experiments, activities, and even school excursions. At the end of the school year, you can create a collage of their achievements by posting a photo or several photos. This social media account can also be used to create interesting student portfolios.

Five Simple Tips on How to Use Technology Inside the Classroom

If you are a new teacher or educator, the idea of incorporating technology into your classroom can be quite a challenge. Unless your education and training included technology integration, you would be at a loss about what to do (although some may already have basic ideas).

The use of technology inside classrooms is actually a popular practice among schools that have embraced modern technological advances. Various surveys prove that students are now using technology to help them perform better in school. Quite a large percentage of students bring their tablets and laptops to school, using the device to take down lecture notes and to help them in various research-related activities.

Additionally, school and university libraries now have special sections for Wi-Fi-connected computers, which students use for completing different subject or course requirements. It is important, however, for the students to know how to properly use their devices; that they know their limits. It is important, too, for the teacher to know how to integrate technology into her lessons or classroom activities.

1. First things first; you need to communicate with your students’ parents.

Before you ask your students to bring their devices to class, talk to their parents first. Let them know what your plans are and what reasons you have for allowing the students to bring their laptops and tablets to class. Be as specific as you can. Let them know how the device will be used, what devices are allowed in the classroom, and how often the devices will be used in class. Likewise, it is important to give the parents a copy of your technology use in the classroom rules and safety precautions.

2. Inform your school or university technician that students will be bringing their gadgets to class.

You may know how to use computers and tablets, but you may not be an expert, too. As such, it is important to give your school or university’s tech guy a heads up in case you and your students will need technical help. Do not forget to give the technician a list – a specific one – of all the gadgets you are expecting your students to bring.

3. During the class activity or discussion, go around and monitor your students’ gadget or device usage.

This is especially important if you intend to open Wi-Fi access for your students. One of the main reasons for monitoring your students’ device usage in the classroom is to make sure that they are doing what you asked them to do and not simply browsing through Facebook and other social media sites. You also need to ensure that students are following your rules and guidelines. Make sure that no one is playing online games, chatting, or streaming movies. Close monitoring of your students’ activities on their devices will also help eliminate the possibility of exposing one’s self to online predators.

4. Some activities that you can do include blogging, online research, and creating a video or podcast.

It is important to have a clear idea of what you intend for your students to do while online. Here are some examples you can follow:

-Blogging: This can be a good practice for English grammar and punctuation. Likewise, blogging can also help your students develop their creative skills. This can be a monthly activity where students can freely discuss their thoughts and ideas about certain issues related to your lesson or classroom activities.

-Online Research: Teach your students how to use Google to do online research. Give them a topic or a subject that they can work on. Don’t forget to ask them for their finished report at the end of the class period!

-Creating a Video or Podcast: The first thing you should do is teach your students how to use YouTube. Ask them to create an account. This can be an individual or group activity. Of course, you have to provide the topics for their videos. Explain to them that what they are making are educational and informative videos. A podcast, an audio file uploaded online for download, is also a good idea. Be sure to ask your students to ask for the link/s to their YouTube video or their podcast.

5. Another possible activity you can do is a photography contest using Facebook or Flickr.

Students love anything that’s visually attractive, like photos. Therefore, you can give your students a photography project using either Facebook or Flickr. For example, you can give them a topic like “How to ______” and they have to take photos of the step involved in making that particular object. Then they need to post their photos in an album on Facebook or Flickr. Make this activity a contest to generate more interest and excitement.

Top Five Reasons Why Technology Should Be Used in Classrooms

Technology has evolved greatly since the Stone Age. In the earlier years of humanity, technology meant a lot of things, such as telling the time of day using the sundial and the discovery of fire and its multiple uses. Over the years, we saw technology transform from its simplest to its most advance form. Nowadays, technology has become an integral part of our everyday life. Practically everything that we do can be performed or completed easily with the aid of technology. Thus, it is not surprising to discover that technology has also invaded the field of education.

While some people prefer to focus on the traditional tools of learning, it cannot be denied that using technology in the classroom has a lot of advantages. It does not only help make teachers and educators’ work easier, but it also helps students learn efficiently. To understand the value of technology in education, here are five reasons why incorporating it in the classroom is beneficial.

1. Incorporating technology into the classroom is essential in achieving diverse learning styles.

Using education in the classroom (such as computers/laptops/ tablets, the Internet, and apps & programs) is one way of encouraging teachers and students to embrace different learning styles. Teachers can use technology in reaching out to different types of students. They can use programs and apps that will make it possible for their students to learn and advance at their own pace. Each student is unique, so with technology, a teacher can address this issue efficiently.

2. Incorporating technology into classrooms helps make learning more interesting and fun.

When you do the same routine every day, you tend to get bored. This is what normally happens to students who are confined to the four walls of the classroom. Sometimes, they lose interest in learning because they find the monotony of the routine quite boring. But if you use technology in your lessons, things can become more interesting, and your students will have fun. For example, instead of asking a student to do a simple oral report about her favorite poem, you can ask her to create a video or PowerPoint presentation about it. It can be a visual dramatization of the poem. This will make the report livelier, so much so that your students will want to participate in the discussion and activities.

3. For the teacher, technology can help lighten the workload.

Teachers spend hours upon hours of their time checking papers, computing grades, and recording all these in a written record (a record). These tasks become easier if teachers use the computer instead of the traditional way of recording and monitoring students’ performances. There are programs and applications meant specifically for teachers: a lesson plan maker/template, a class record template, an attendance tracker, and other such things. All these can be stored on the computer for years, compared to paper documents, which can be destroyed or get lost. Also, as long as your computer is with you, accessing these records is easier and can be done anytime and anywhere.

4. Incorporating technology into the classroom helps students become well-rounded learners. They can understand the teacher-student process better.

Using technology in the classroom introduces students to many new (and unique) concepts, thoughts, and ideas. And this encourages them to formulate their own. This helps them think out-of-the-box. Additionally, this also helps them better understand the teacher-student process as they can participate more in discussions with technology incorporated into their daily activities. For example, instead of the usual after-story homework in reading or English class, a teacher can ask her students to come up with a short video presentation of the lessons learned from the story.

5. Incorporating technology into the classroom can help students prepared for the real world.

Exposure to technology in the classroom will help students learn how to become tech-ready while also teaching them to take advantage of its positive contributions. Likewise, students will be prepared for the real world, which has become heavily dependent on technology. Practically everything in the world has become technology-dependent. Students brought up in a technology-exposed classroom will be able to deal with this fact easily and more efficiently than those who were educated in traditional classroom environments.

The integration of technology into daily classroom activities is not easy. It will be a step-by-step process. However, once it is started, it will bring in a lot of rewarding learning experiences for both the teachers and students. The need to invest in technology for education has never been more apparent than it is now.

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