Guest Post by Ethan Miller
What is common between LOL, LMAO, and LIT AF? Apart from being an alliteration, these words are widely popular internet slangs, commonly found on social media sites. Since its advent, social media has introduced us to many new things and #notjustinternetslangs. Facebook introduced us to memes, Twitter taught us to rant and Instagram turned us into food photographers.
The alarming number of hours spent by youngsters on social media sites are driving parents and teachers to deem social media as evil. While there is no denying that social media is addictive, its positive aspects are often ignored. For teachers who are always looking for new methods to teach, social network can be used as a tool to improve student engagement in the classroom. Here are 7 cool ways to use social media in the classroom:
Class Test through Facebook Quiz:
Evaluating a student’s understanding of a subject through written tests is so 90s! This new era of social media calls for new assessment techniques as well. Instead of handing out regular pen-and-paper tests, how about creating a Facebook quiz on the lesson you just taught. These quizzes on Facebook are extremely popular among the students and they are much more fun than conventional tests or flashcard quizzes. Conducting tests as Facebook quizzes diffuses the pressure that the students undergo while writing a normal class test. Tests transformed into Facebook quizzes make lives easier for teachers as they don’t have to deal with correcting papers.
Facebook quizzes are really simple to create. Websites like Quizzes for Pages provide easy steps to make your own quiz and share it on Facebook. Once you are done with a lesson, post the quiz on your class group on Facebook and ask students to take the quiz. Once the quiz is done, students can share the result on their Facebook profiles or take a screenshot of the result and mail it to the teacher.
Conduct Polls on Twitter:
Though Twitter is used by many as a space to rant, it is much more than that. By using correct hashtags and getting retweets from the right people, Twitter can get massive visibility to your tweets. Encourage your class/school to support a cause by tweeting at once using a common hashtag. It does feel great when your hashtag starts to trend! Apart from extending support to the right social causes, Twitter can be used in classrooms to conduct and participate in polls. Be it electing the next class president or asking for feedback on school infrastructure, Twitter polls can be a wonderful tool for students to share their views by donning the cloak of anonymity. It makes students feel connected to the class or school community, and makes them feel that their views matter.
Conduct silent discussions/debates in the classroom by discussing on Facebook groups:
Discussions and debates in the classroom can often turn into a messy affair with students yelling at the top of their voices to prove their point. If you feel exhausted after class debates, you could opt for a silent debate on Facebook. Create a closed Facebook group for your class and add all your students in the group. Every week, post a topic of discussion or debate on the group. Assign a time limit for the discussion and ask every student to participate. Make it clear that it is a silent discussion and whatever one has to say has to be posted on the group. Moderate the entire discussion and reprimand students who indulge in trolling. This process will help students to become better writers as well as help them understand that they are accountable for their online activity too. Additionally, they will learn to express their thoughts and views in written form with the right tone and language.
Add a fun side to your lesson by making a cool YouTube video to be viewed in the classroom:
In the age of Edtech, video lessons are a popular method to teach students online. But should video learning be limited to just online students? Once in a while, it can be interesting to replace the conventional classroom blackboard with video learning and see how your students respond. Make a kickass video lesson by using wonderful editing tools online and upload it on YouTube. Since YouTube is the go-to video platform for youngsters, the idea of watching a YouTube video in the classroom on a big screen will attract the student’s attention. Apart from catching the student’s interest, the advantage of playing a video lesson in the classroom is that it allows students to give immediate feedback on the lesson through likes, dislikes, and comments. A YouTube lesson in the classroom can do wonders for the student engagement in your class.
Organize live video Twitter chats with authors, entrepreneurs, scientists, sportsmen, etc:
One of the biggest plus points of Twitter is that you can connect to anyone, irrespective of their stature and celebrity status. You can tweet to movie stars, singers, etc., and engage in a conversation. Why don’t we educators make the best use of Twitter to help connect our students with amazing, inspiring personalities? Talk to your school administration and try arranging a live video Twitter chat with intellectual icons like authors, scientists, entrepreneurs, sportsmen/sportswomen, etc. Come up with a unique hashtag and ask your students to tweet to the celebrity using the hashtag. The celebrity might read these tweets from students and respond to them by going live on Twitter. This kind of a Twitter exercise will empower students to ask questions with confidence and will also motivate them to excel in life.
Reading Whatsapp forwards in the classroom to identify fake news:
Whatsapp is one app that you will find on everyone’s cell phones these days. Though it is a great tool for communication and for sharing important messages, it is also widely used to spread fake news. Knowingly or unknowingly, every Whatsapp group shares information that is false and often misleading. Thus, every once in a while, it is important to have a Whatsapp session in the classroom to identify the fake news that is being shared on Whatsapp groups. A Whatsapp session of this kind will teach students not to believe things blindly and to verify the information before passing it along to large groups of people.
Encourage students to post their creative work on Instagram and share it with the class:
Initially, Instagram was all about posting selfies, food snaps, and scenic pictures. But over the last few months, Instagram has also become a platform to showcase creative talent such as poetry, painting, sketching, photography, etc. Create an Instagram handle for your class. Every week share pictures of your students’ creative work and showcase it in the classroom. A public appreciation of a student’s creativity will only encourage him/her to work harder on their talent and will help in developing additional skills that will make them stand apart.
The above mentioned methods to use social platforms in the classroom are just a few of the many creative ways to integrate social media and learning. With new social sites cropping up every now and then, teachers need to put on their thinking cap and creatively incorporate social media fun in classroom learning. Are you willing to give social media a try in your classroom? Do let me know!