How-Tu Tuesday: Social Media In The Classroom
Social media use in the classroom is still considered somewhat of a taboo. However, as demand for digital skills and knowledge of using social media in a business environment is increasing (particularly in the marketing and sales industries), it is becoming more of necessity for young people to be taught these skills whilst at school… before employment beckons.
Firstly, the myth surrounding social media in the classroom must be eroded from the minds of educators. Many teachers are afraid that if they start using social media in the classroom then students will be posting on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat while they are trying to teach. But doesn’t this already happen with children of a certain age? Or was I just a really bad student…
In order to make it work, a different approach has to be taken; teachers and lecturers should not mistake social media for socialising, but instead view it as an important tool that brands use and therefore employers look for, just as they would look for writing and presentations skills. Below are a number of ways in which teachers can equip students with the knowledge and skills they need to successfully use social media in the business world.
1. Communicate with your students via the most appropriate social channels. Whether this is sending out updates on homework or a class project, or sharing news about school achievements, this can be a good way to get students using social media and for gaining a basic understanding of how each platform works and the different uses for each channel.
This could also involve asking students to review their school projects via the most appropriate networks. Encourage them to share with their fellow peers what they learnt from a project and what they struggled with. Again, this emphasises the way in which social media can be used to connect with people on a collaborative level and the benefits to be gained from an online community.
2. Connect with other classrooms/schools to share ideas and work together on projects. This is a good opportunity to show students how they should speak to people via social platforms who aren’t necessarily their friends. For students, the school environment is similar to the work environment as they must behave a certain way and are conscious of how they are perceived by their teachers and peers – just as brands are very focused on what their customers think of them.
3. Show examples of how brands across various industries are using social media, both successfully and unsuccessfully. Illustrate the results that can be achieved from a well-executed social campaign and why it is such an important marketing tool to connect with consumers, reach a wider audience and increase brand awareness.
4. Ask your students to post their homework or a project on social media. This could be a video that they can post on YouTube or Vimeo or a piece of writing with images via a blog. Privacy options can be set accordingly so only those in the class, or just the teacher themselves can view the work published.
5. Involve parents in the process of teaching students about social media. As this is a new concept for many schools, it will also be new for parents who most likely expect their children to come home asking for help with Maths or English, not social media. By speaking to parents and keeping them informed of your planned lessons around social media, it both prepares them for the questions they may receive at home and encourages them to speak about social media in the context of studying it and doing well to achieve good grades, as they would for all their other subjects.