Social media is one of the best starting points for teachers who want to integrate technology into the classroom. However, though social media looks extremely easy and fun even, here are a few words of caution before you begin your social media journey.
What use is technology going to have for you?
Integrating technology is a good thing. However, technology in the classroom can consists of many different aspects such as social media, cellphones, tablets, computers, learning management systems, apps, games, videos, podcasts etc. You need to figure out what you want to achieve with technology in your classroom, and then decide on which aspect of technology you can utilize in the classroom.
Do you really need social media in your classroom?
Assuming you have decided on picking social media as the aspect of technology that you want to integrate into the classroom, the next question you want to ask yourself is, do you really need social media in your classroom? What purpose is it going to serve? Is it going to help you or your students? Do you think its going to increase class participation? Are your students social media savvy enough for social media inclusion to make a marked difference? The more you think about, the more pertinent questions will come up. Give these questions some serious thought before you embark on including social media in the classroom.
Once you’ve decided that you want to include social media in the classroom, it would probably be best to inform the school management about it too. You can tell them why you think the inclusion of social media in the classroom would be a good thing, how you plan on implementing it and what do you plan to do if any misuse happens. It is prudent to keep the school management informed too because in light of any potential issue, you can have their support because they approved it in the first place to begin with.
Regardless of young or old your students are, parental permission is necessary before you begin to integrate social media into the classroom. This is so that parents are aware of what their children are doing and also so that you don’t have an angry parent breathing down you neck, telling you that you give their child homework that requires them to be online at 2 o’clock in the night, when you have in fact have done nothing of that sort.
Lay down the ground rules for your students
Once you got all the necessary permissions that you need, you need to lay down a few ground rules for your students. For the younger students, it might be social media prime, while for older students, it might be a list of do’s and dont’s.
On a closed network, which has photos of just you and your students, or just your school, photos do not cause much of a problem. However, if photographs of children are available on public networks, some parents might take offence because they are not comfortable with photos of their children being visible to everyone. Therefore it is prudent to keep photos to a minimum (with no visible faces) if you are on a public network.
Social media can be tricky to navigate, especially in school settings. We hope you find these points useful. Do share your suggestions and opinions with us in the comments section below!