Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Social Media in The Classroom: Part 1

Social interactions are an important part of one´s life and determinant to our development as social beings.  In our modern society, these interactions have been replaced by virtual social interactions, at least in our teenage and youth generations. Most of these virtual interactions are void of value and rarely make a positive impact on the development of our kids.

Social interaction is what drives us into an environment of opportunity and success.  This success is determined by how effective our social interactions have been.  As a High School teacher, I have taken social media online pretty serious when it comes to my students and their digital footprint. This is the reason why I have been using social media and have been promoting responsible digital citizenship among them.  I am a Physics teacher, and I strongly believe that teaching them about responsible social media use, along with my subject, will take them a lot further when they become professionals.

I would like to share with you some of the strategies I have been implementing to achieve this.  (I must say that the degree of success these strategies might have can hardly be measured at a short term, but I trust I am doing what is in my hands to do.)  I have split them into a series of three posts.  It is my hope to get your feedback and stories if you have been already implementing any of them, as I do not think of myself as the "inventor" of these strategies.  I just thought I´d put them on written form for sharing.  


Pinterest Challenge

Students must create a board named "Pinterest Challenge" and they will pin a photo to that board every single day of the school year. If they miss a day, they are off the challenge. Once they have pinned it down, classmates should comment on those  pins relating what they learned in school that day with the picture.  It really brings up student´s creativity as they try to relate a picture of a cup of water with that day´s literature class, for example.  You can create your own specific guidelines for this. 

Twitter Challenge

Instead of pinning, this time they will tweet the  most important thing they learned in school that day.  Only one tweet per day.  They must include the hashtag you have already created for that purpose. You can also add some reward if their tweet gets retweeted by someone outside the school or by an international "tweep" (do we even call them that anymore?).  This, if you or your school does not have a problem.  You still might want to play it safe somehow. 

YouTube Challenge

One interesting video per week (or every other week, you decide).  Video should not be longer than 5 minutes and must be fun, engaging, creative, and related to any topic from any class that day. 

Blogging Challenge

They must write one blog post every week.  The topic is absolutely free.  They can blog post about their favorite movie, spring break, movie reviews, type of music they like, video games, etc. You can limit posts to school affairs or to certain topics.  This is a particularly difficult challenge to keep up since most students will bail or not even get started. I once had them subscribe to the Student Blogging Challenge and some of them did not even get started.  It was a nice opportunity for those who did participate to engage in social interactions with kids from other schools, so I would recommend you signing up your kids for it.  I still believe that kids should blog and this is a great opportunity for them to do so and have fun while at it.

To consider:

  • You decide what kind of rewards will you provide to your students to participate in any of these challenges.
  • Maybe opening all four challenges at the same time might not be practical since it would require a lot of work and might be boggling. 
  • Keep in mind that, depending on your settings or particular policies, participating on any of these should be optional for students. However, you might want to use all your encouragement power to motivate them to join in. 

Have fun and please let me know what you think or how this could be improved.  Thank you and God bless you. 
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