Classrooms are becoming more and more advanced with the implementation of technology on a daily basis, especially when classrooms are flipped. One of most powerful tools both teachers and students can and should be using in the modern-day classroom is Social Media. As the flipped classrooms concept has grown popular, receiving more supporters each day, many have been noticing the need to increase the level of communication between students and teachers. Social media is a way for teachers, students, and parents to communicate with one another, for students to share ideas, or for parents to keep track of student progress. Learning and communicating outside the school hours with technology aid is a modern adaptation of education that has showed great results. It upgrades both the learning process and the relationship between students, educators and parents.
Here are the type 5 Social Media tools every classroom should be using right now:
1. Wikispaces Classroom
With Wikispaces, students can share thoughts, images, and text, discuss assignments, publish projects, and express themselves. It is a controlled channel of communication that can be restricted so that only students in the class may see the posts.
Edmodo is a popular learning environment where discussions form class...
This post was based on a question I received from Sherrie M., an Instructional Coach at one of the districts VARtek has partnered with.
Many K-12 teachers are starting to use YouTube in their classroom on a regular basis. Sometimes teachers will create videos to explain concepts to their students, but often they will have the students themselves create videos as part of a larger project.
While we here at VARtek think lots of schools can benefit immensely from the integration of technology into the classroom, there is also a realization that publishing content to the Internet comes with some responsibilites to be aware of. The best rule of thumb to follow is to always use common sense, but we'll be going over some specifics below.
First, be sure that you (as an educator and school employee) are following all applicable school policies. For example, if parents must sign a waiver or other release form before their child can appear in newspaper photos or on the school website, make sure to obtain that before publishing anything to YouTube. Also check to see that you're abiding by all the guidelines in your schools acceptable use policy.
When dealing with YouTube videos, the...
Many teachers and administrators that we serve along with some of my VARtek staff members have yet to join the Twitter social media world. Before using Twitter, I thought it was primarily used by folks that posted endless updates on where they were and what they were doing.
As a busy professional, that format didn't attract me. How wrong I was. Today there are over 100 million users actively using this tool! What I have learned from my use of Twitter today is this social media tool is a perfect way to sift through the endless volumes of content that is being produced through blogs, articles and other media formats and it allows me to quickly absorb highlights from narrowly defined sources. The real value is in picking the individuals or organizations that you choose to follow and evaluating those that create meaningful content related to your areas of interest versus getting caught up in all the non-value content that is being produced. Using social media does involve setting aside a few minutes each day or every few days to login and to be an active user.
The best administrators and teachers that I know take their craft seriously and they...
Is your personal learning network working? Have you expanded to a point that you are learning and sharing with others what you learn and do in the classroom on a day-to-day basis? What's better than learning from each other, you don't have to reinvent the wheel.For those I’ve already lost, let’s back up and look at what personal learning networks are all about. Personal Learning Networks comes from connecting and following others on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and many others. I have two Facebook accounts that I’ve set up. One is for personal and the other is professional. The personal one is used for connecting to friends and family and seeing what they are doing in their lives. What I want to focus on is my professional Facebook page. It is here that I connect to those that are in my profession as an educator and instructional technologist. On this account I can post many videos and blogs that I find on the Internet dealing with my profession. Likewise, my friends are doing the same things. From this, there is always so much to learn when you have many eyes scouring the Internet for news about educational change,...
Many schools are expanding the use of social media and because this is a new arena of law in terms of what constitutes "free speech" and what constitutes libel remarks. This article talks about a recent NSBA article and how one such topic is moving to the Supreme Court to get clarification.
How is your school handling these free speech topics? At some of the school districts we have worked with, we have found that the organization CoSN Consortium of School Networking has some useful samples of policies that some of the leading school in the country are using to establish guidelines for students and staff. I'm sure as the state and federal governments define some of the unknown areas that more updates and modifications of policies will be needed.However our view from working with many schools is that the benefits of utilizing social media within the delivery of instruction out-ways the current risks that will inherently come up from a few limited outliers.
Understanding the changing landscape of the internet. I have recently found a book to be helpful in better understanding of the key elements of social media and how one might become engaged in this changing world. The book is by Jeffrey Gitomer and it's call Social Boom. It's a pretty quick read and he covers LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, Blogs, e-zine and general points of view. This topic is changing as we speak so I think this book and others like it have a somewhat limited shelf life because in 12 months new tools and new players will assuredly be present.