Friday, September 4, 2015

Some Ideas for Using Social Media in Your Classroom


Here are some examples of how social media can be used in a classroom.  For me, I like to use Twitter, Instagram and Facebook together.  Each day, I post images to Instagram of what was learned in class. With Twitter and Facebook being connected to Instagram, those pictures get posted to Twitter and Facebook too.  I implemented an "electronic communication" requirement where students must comment with facts learned on my social media posts at least once per week.  They could also message or Tweet me to meet this requirement.  My rationale is based on the fact that students spend massive amounts of time on social media.  Why not have your class content appear on their feeds?

In the classroom, I like to use Twitter as a "checking for understanding" tool.  For my class, I created nine Twitter accounts.  I named them after movie star black belts.  I have nine table groups and each group is assigned to a computer that has their respective Twitter account logged in.  I do not share the log in information with students.  I log them in and out at beginning and end of the day.  Interspersed throughout a lecture or activity, I write "Twitter Prompts" on the board.  Students meet with their groups, discuss the prompt and respond with Twitter at their assigned computer station.

To organize student responses, students are directed to include a VERY specific hashtag.  If it is not specific, when you look for the responses, you may find a variety of Tweets from people all over the Twittersphere.  I use Hootsuite to manage my classroom account.  Hootsuite allows me to create a feed for the hashtag students were directed to use.  This way, it is filtered so I will only see the student responses.  I use the LCD projector to project Hootsuite for students to see their responses. The responses provide fodder for further discussion and it gives me information as to whether or not I need to reteach or move forward.  Hootsuite allows me to see student responses in real time.

Below are some screenshots of student responses to some sample "Twitter Prompts."

All Tweets used the specific #JuarezTweetDemo hashtag

Prompt #1: What is the benefit of social media for teachers?

Prompt #2: Tweet a picture of students using computers or tablets in classroom

Prompt #3: Write three hashtags that capture the theme of this lesson

The pictures above were taken from the column on Hootsuite I created for the #JuarezTwitterDemo hashtag.  I project this column onto the screen after each prompt to encourage discussion and reflection.

Taking a page out of the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, social media can be part of homework. Weekly, Jimmy Fallon has his viewers share their funny experiences with a hashtag he assigns.  As teachers, we can do the same thing.  Think of a unique hashtag (you might want to include your class name in the hashtag to make it specific) that encapsulates the themes covered in class for the day or lesson.  You can search the hashtag that night or the next morning to see student responses.  You can share student responses using a website called Storify.

Storify allows you to make slideshows of a variety of social media posts.  Open a free Storify account.  You can sign in with your Twitter account.  Storify will allow you to search posts and topics from a variety of social media platforms. 
Below, I searched my #JuarezTweetDemo hashtag.  It displays the results and you can add all the results, if you want, to your slideshow. 

Give your slideshow a name and description.  

#JuarezTweetDemo Slideshow

Showing the Storify Slideshow the next day in class can prompt useful reflection and discussion. I hope this has been helpful. Please contact me ( with your ideas, comments and feedback.

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