Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Education: Integrating Social Media into Schools (Part 3 of 3)

Using Pinterest in the classroom
Throughout the past weeks, we've learned how Twitter, Facebook and YouTube help in classrooms.  

Social media is rapidly integrating itself further and further into our business and personal lives, so one can imagine it won't be long before it launches its way into academics. But despite this growing trend, many educators feel resistant towards the social media movement. Even the teachers who do not feel that the idea of social media use in school is negative, don't quite know how to go about using such technology within a classroom setting. There are countless ways a teacher could promote learning through social networking, even through sites less common than Facebook and Twitter, such as Pinterest and personal blog pages. 

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For a teacher, Pinterest use can begin by simply inspiring them. Searching Pinterest can cultivate new and inspiring ways to keep organized, or even how to decorate and set up their classroom. Weave it into the lesson plan by searching, finding, pinning, and organizing projects, images, videos, and stories to share with students. Then, get the students involved! Allow them to use Pinterest to create projects and presentations. Pinterest also features the use of community boards, which teachers can bring into the classroom by creating them for students to brainstorm group projects and share ideas. It will give the group members a way to all save their resources and progress in one shared place.

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A blog site may seem far fetched in an educational setting, but it is not only possible, but also quite helpful! The creation of a class blog for students to join, allows them to stay up-to-date on upcoming projects, due dates, events, and other various reminders. Teachers can post homework assignments and classroom updates so absent students can just sign on and see everything they missed that day and be prepared for the next class. Posting upcoming classroom discussions online will give students a few days to think critically and prepare any comments or questions for the next class. One of the most beneficial aspects of a class blog is the possibility for students to post their own work, further developing their own creative voice for their peers to read. Teachers can also post outstanding papers or writing assignments of students online for others to see as an example, encouraging students in addition to rewarding them for their hard work.

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Social media has often been painted in a negative light, being labeled as taking away from students' academic progress, when in reality it has the potential to add to it. Social media is a trend that has taken a life of its own, becoming increasingly part of our everyday lives. So instead of running from it or ignoring it, educators should be teaching their students to use it in a positive way that will enrich their learning experience. If used properly, social media can be a fun, innovative way to learn! 

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