In the last few years, social media has become a very popular way to communicate, connect with others, and share information.  Social media is widely used among our students, the parents of our students and leaders in education.  Why not use the power of social media to connect with our parents, students, and education leaders?  The most difficult part is probably deciding where to start.  I would like to focus on a few of the most popular; Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

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Twitter can be used for multiple things in your classroom.  One of the best ways to use Twitter is to connect with other educators and develop a PLN.  If you are interested in doing so, you can check out my ICATS post on developing a PLN from October during Connected Educator Month.  That article goes into great detail of how to find, follow, and connect with leading educators around the world.

A second way you might use Twitter in your classroom is similar to a backchannel.  You can create a hashtag and engage your students by having them highlight comments and important facts during a lesson or guest speaker.  This could become a great source for information and the creation of a study guide for students before a quiz or test.

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The creation of a twitter account is easy.  Just go to twitter.com  and sign up by putting in your email address with a password.  You will be up in running in a matter of minutes.  Search for people that you may be interested in following.  Perhaps it is a keynote speaker from your last conference or an author of a great educational article or book that you have read.  If you are on someones website, you may notice the Twitter logo or bird with the words “follow me.”  Many times you can follow the person by clicking on that icon.  You will then begin to see posts by the people you follow in your timeline.  Many of these posts will lead you to great articles and resources that will be of interest to you.

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As you read more articles posted by the people you follow, you might begin following the author of the article itself.  Soon, people will begin following you.  I began exploring hash tags and would read posts from educators within the hash tag.  For example, #edchat or #edtech.  A hashtag is the pound sign followed by a topic.  While watching many of your favorite television shows you may have noticed a hashtag followed by the name of the show in the corner of the screen.  You can now get on Twitter and type in that hashtag and read people’s comments as the show is broadcasting.

For a great list of hashtags and people to follow, here is a great resource created by my fellow ICAT and colleague Tim Wilhelmus: http://www.livebinders.com/play/play?id=207036

 

Pinterest_Logo

Pinterest is a little different.  It is more like an digital bulletin board.  It allows you to search topics that can lead to great lessons and resources that have been pinned by other educators.  Members pin things they like and place them on a titled board that you create.  It board could be the name of a novel or unit that you teach.  All of the things that you pin on that board would be ideas and resources that you would use as you teach that topic.   On Pinterest; a pin starts with an image, website link, or video that is added by you. You can add a pin from a website using the Pin It bookmarklet or upload an image from your computer.  Any pin on Pinterest can be repinned, and all pins link back to their source.  If you would like to learn more about Pinterest, check out Dee Higgs’s article from Connected Educator Month.

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One that has been around for a quite a while is Facebook.  Many schools in our district have Facebook pages that parents, teachers, and students can “like” and then announcements, photos,  and information that is shared from each school shows up on your timeline.  That is just one way that we are utilizing Facebook.

 

Today’s Challenge

If you do not belong to any form of social media, then choose one of the above sites and create an account.  Then share out how you, your school, or an educator that you know utilizes social media for education.  If you do not know anyone and your school does not use it, then explain how you “believe that you could” utilize social media.

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Jeffrey Tron
I graduated from the University of Southern Indiana in 1993. I got my masters degree in education in 1999 from Indiana Wesleyan University. I taught 6th, 7th, and 8th grade at Helfrich Park STEM Academy for 17 years. While there, I was the technology coordinator, student council rep, book coordinator, and I ran the announcements on the television studio. I taught reading, English, mathematics, social studies, science, and health in all three grade levels. In the summer of 2010, I worked for the IDOE to help implement the Indiana Science Initiative. I led several workshops around the state helping teachers integrate notebooking and hands-on science kits in their classrooms. During the 2010-2011 school year, I taught fourth grade science at Fairlawn Elementary School. I am currently an eLearning Coach for an elementary school, two middle schools, and a high school. I love technology and I love teaching and helping teachers. Put the two together and you have my dream job. I am very excited about being an eLearning coach and helping others implement technology into their daily instruction.

36 COMMENTS

  1. I have accounts with all 3 of these social media sites, but haven’t used them much for school. I really didn’t know how to do much on Twitter. Everyone at eRev last summer thought it was great so I got on. My school does have a Twitter account that has some events announced. After reading and getting into some of the 60 ways to use Twitter in the Classroom, I have many ideas. I especially like offering a bonus via Twitter.

  2. My yearbook students run Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Vine accounts that we use to promote the yearbook and send out information. Any time we have a sale, we start building it up on social media first. We also give away prizes to followers for retweeting us or promoting our pages. When we made these sites at the beginning of the year, we created hallway signs that simply looked like the logo for each website, but had our username printed at the bottom. We gained quite a few followers, and they’ve had a positive reaction to our posts.

  3. I use Pinterest quite a bit. I am on there at least 4 times a week trying to find new ideas. I think it is great how people share their ideas with others. I have noticed that I can spend too much time on there and not get anything accomplished. :)

    I know other teachers in my building that use Facebook accounts to get information to the students. I would rather use Remind101 for that, instead of a Facebook account.

  4. I use twitter to communicate with all of my students! It is a great way to give praise and to give the students math resources. My twitter is @fischer_mr ! You can follow me and look at the different ways I use it.

  5. I use all three but kids don’t like Facebook as much as we do. They are using Twitter occasionally but are much more into instagram, snapchat, vine, etc. I haven’t created accounts to use any of those but I do use Twitter (@MrCoachK15) for coaching and connecting with other teachers, coaches, and schools. I use Pinterest (need to find the time to get back into it) to find and share creative ideas and quotes to incorporate in my classroom. Pinterest is not a popular tool with kids though. Parents will use Facebook to get school information since the school has a Facebook page but to get information to students, Remind101 is a much quicker and accepted idea by kids.

  6. I have an account with all three of these social media sites. I find Pinterest to be inspiring for therapy related ideas, games, research and networking. I also use it for recipes, DIY projects and decoration ideas. I think it offers creative and inexpensive ideas that would be useful in the classroom or at home. I have a Twitter account, but I have never really taken off with it. After reading this, I am going to revisit Twitter and see if I can find more use for it.

  7. I love using Twitter to find new resources. Re-tweeting great resources is a nice way to share new ideas in education. I also like the idea of using social media in the classroom. Students are going to use it anyway. By using it in the classroom, we are able to have conversations with students and teach them about digital citizenship. In the “60 Ways to Use Twitter…” article, I love the “silencing blurters” idea. I can be a blurter myself, so encouraging students to process those “aha” moments and comments through more productive means is a great way not only to minimize the “blurting” but to also track/review/comment on those side thoughts in a more efficient and effective manner. Social media is another tool that just shows how education is more than what happens in the classroom!

  8. I have accounts with all three of these as well as Instagram and Vine. I don’t use Facebook for school or Twitter but I do use Pinterest to find ideas on topics that I am teaching and for classroom ideas. I tried several of them in my class and the students love them.
    We do have teachers at our school who do use Facebook and Twitter to get announcements out to their students especially our band director and choir director.
    We use MBC in place of Facebook for announcements but if students don’t check it they won’t get the message. I like the Remind101 instead.

  9. I am a firm believer in twitter. I have done some PD trainings on Twitter and using hashtags with their students. It is awesome to get the students connected and collaborating when using a hashtag on certain topics. Pinterest is also a great resource for gaining a mass amount of ideas. I am not a big fan of FB because it is to much, and to much can happen on there.

    • Yes, I love Twitter as well. It is my favorite by far. My wife is a Pinterest-a-holic. I need to dabble in it more. I have heard wonderful things about getting resources from Pinterest. Thanks!

  10. I use Twitter to increase my PLN. I add people who have technology/education interests and fill my downtime looking through ideas that others have shared. I often retweet or email resources out to teachers that I get from Twitter.

  11. We created a Twitter account for the Shepard Academy. We use it to post pictures of our activities and trips. Currently, we have seventy followers! Follow us at @shepardacademy.

  12. I use Facebook to gather ideas and inspiration for teaching. I created an interest list just for Biology. On that list, I follow several sites/people (for example Discovery, LiveScience, Dr. Carin Bondar, TakePart, Citizen Science, etc). The list allows me to see posts only for my chosen interest…nice when I’m looking for a particular topic). I also use FB for the team I coach..it’s nice for reminders, but I’ve noticed it’s parents that check it more than the athletes.

    Pinterest..love it for collecting Biology experiments, articles from Edutopia, unusual photographs related to whatever topic we are studying, etc.

    Twitter is not one I use much…probably because I’m using the other two options quite a bit.

    During the school day, I use Announcements on My Big Campus to send out reminders/explanations to my classes. The announcement goes to every student’s iPad email. My students and I communicate with email quite a bit..but there are still some students that do not check it regularly.

  13. I have an account with all three of them. The school has a Facebook account This seems to be the easiest way to get information out to parents and students. We still use other methods to send out info, but this one really works well for us. I use Pinterest for school ideas, it is amazing what is all out there. I have had a Twitter account for years, I follow many people, but really don’t use Twitter all that much. I do plan to use it more in the future!

  14. I have accounts on all three social media sites. I have not used them in the classroom because I teach grades 5/6. I love the idea of using a hashtag for a speaker. What a great way for students to stay engaged in a lecture.

  15. I am a Pinterest Addict; on it multiple times daily. Almost the same way with facebook, and just a twitter stalker for now. Pinterest is my go to source for most anything school or home related. Facebook is more for personal use but it has given me a PLN with friends who are teachers other places to connect with. I didn’t really use twitter but the students came up with an idea for a tweet using the framework of twitter during our logic unit this year. Someone said they tweeted a conditional statement such as “If I am sitting in class, then I am learning”. From that one statement the whole class quickly jumped on board. It’s now jotted in my notes to do it that way next year!~

  16. I use Twitter to keep up to date in my Business Classes. I Tweet with Forbes Magazine and then have some of their contributors Skype with my student over current topics like Data Management. Great Resource!

  17. I am a heavy Twitter (@RHSTeach) user, and I enjoy my Facebook (facebook.com/RHSTeach238), but I would like to take a slightly different look at how to use these.

    This is where our kids are communicating, and by being in their “playground” we can get to know them better. We can see what they are interested in and share with them what we find that might plumb the depth of those interests or guide them to different passions. It is an easy and relatively non-threatening way for us to connect with our students. I made the comment a few days ago that for some of my students, I only know them for 90 minutes every-other day, but for those that I have a digital relationship with, we have the chance to communicate more and over a vast set of situations, from sporting events to every day life, from inspiring moments to, unfortunately, times of crisis.

    And while we are making these connections, we can model appropriate conduct online. By being a good digital citizen, our students can see how they should act while online.

  18. I currently use Twitter for networking and PLN. Just yesterday, a 4th grade teacher started using twitter to keep her parents informed on homework. We use twitter for the athletic department as well – keeping people informed. In a few weeks, we will be using Tweets as a community outreach – “Wildcat Happenings”. Just today I started the svcstech has tag for my teachers! Excited to share tools and sites with them via Twitter!

  19. I have been using Twitter in my classroom this year in a couple of ways. I first started using it as way for students to provide a summary of the days lesson. They had to condense the days work into 140 characters. For some more wordy students, this was a challenge. I also started using Twitter as a means to respond to a bell ringer/warm up question. I would then display the live twitter feed. On occasion I would use it for a formative feedback system during a lesson and use responses to address problems. You can show the feed on screen depending on the situation. I would have students use a special hashtag to find everyones responses quickly.

  20. I use Pinterest and Facebook. Pinterest is of course a great resource for teaching ideas. Facebook is used by our PTA which is great for keeping parents and our school informed/communicating. I have had students request to be a friend on Facebook, but I don’t accept their requests. I feel like My Big Campus is a safer way to communicate during the school day because of access. I don’t use Twitter and for now, don’t plan on using it. We could spend all day and night doing email, facebook, twitter, pinterest, etc. I feel like I need to unplug myself at some point during the day. I have used Today’s Meet and like the ease of use for students to comment in a live setting. https://todaysmeet.com/ I have used it for discussion in both math and science in sixth grade.

  21. I use social media everyday. I am the music and art teacher so I rely heavily on pinterest to find and store new ideas. I also use facebook to update my choir on happenings. That has not been tapped into quite like I like it to, but I have it available. Collaboration and research taht I do on pinterest really is how I get through planning, and resources to use in my classroom.

  22. I like Twitter for following educational chats. I tried incorporating it with my middle school students by tweeting bonus questions throughout the week, but they never really got on board. I love finding teaching ideas on Pinterest. They have amazing ideas. My bulletin board right now is an idea from Pinterest.

  23. I use twitter almost exclusively as my go to place to find resources and to grow my PLN. Whether it’s something someone has tweeted out that I stumble across, or information on a topic I am specifically looking for, twitter has yet to fail me. I definitely take more from twitter than I give. That’s the beauty of it! So many educator willing to FREELY share with anyone and everyone. It has completely changed the way I do PD for myself.

  24. My school district uses Facebook to build communication with our students, families, and communities about the amazing things that are going on in our schools. We send out reminders, pics of activities, useful information for families, and many other things each day. Most grade levels and/or class has their own Facebook page that families are encouraged to “like” so that they are up to date on the daily goings on. It’s an amazing tool.

  25. I currently have a personal Facebook, a class Facebook, and a School Facebook. By having the separate accounts I feel I can better separate personal post from school type posts. I do not use either very heavily because I have never been one to share every second of my life. I am what you might say a stalker instead of a talker. I do follow to keep up with family that is out of town. I do like to post activities that are going on in school and pictures on the School Facebook. Our PTA uses Facebook to keep members up to date. The PTA also posts questions to get feedback on events or possible ideas for events on the PTA Facebook page. Not being a one to one environment in most of our grades makes it hard to use in class as a bell ringer or some of the other ideas. However, one of our teachers recently took paper versions of the Facebook Posts and had students write about not doing drugs and why this was important and then made a door display for our Red Ribbon Week. She had the kids pictures next to it and the whole school really enjoyed reading the “Posts”. I also have a Pinterest account and have to monitor when I get on or I loose track of time when finding the many great ideas for home and class and find myself on for hours. I do have a Twitter account but for now more use it to follow others for ideas. I do use it when I go to a conference and they have a Twitter feed going on. My goal for next year is to keep up and do more with both Twitter and Facebook. I know my high school aged daughter loves Facebook and is on it all the time so maybe this would be a better fit for the older kids instead of the younger. I do like that Twitter makes the kids get focused on their idea by limiting the number of characters. Facebook is blocked at school so using MBC is a better fit for this.

  26. I use Pinterest for work quite a bit. I have found many many good ideas for adapting activities for students and ideas for the classroom to share with teachers. It is each to use and easy to share with others.
    I have a Twitter account and have tried to explore it before but have never gotten very far with it. I read the information on starting a PLN and I am going to give it another try :)

  27. I only have experience with using Twitter. Personally, I have created lists of people, subjects, topics I’m wanting to get an update on from STL (where I’m from). This includes news/radio/tv channels, sport teams and restaurants. Most recently I’ve added myself to a social media group from that area that “meet to tweet” every Thursday evening on a wide variety of subjects from new technology to crafts to new beverages in the area. Last week, someone I follow asked for ideas for preschool apps to put on her classroom’s ipads. I was able to forward her a list my school uses as well as other instructors. She posted later that she had received over 300 apps. Amazing what the power of 140 characters can do.

  28. Our Global Networking class started a Twitter account for our school this year. My students tweet about school events, send out inspirational quotes, and post pictures of our school events on Twitter. Next semester, my students will be posting from their own Twitter accounts about the projects that they are working on. They will be using Twitter to find experts for their projects and to promote both themselves and their projects. Social Media is also a great place for teachers to find resources and inspiration. Feel free to follow up @pchschargers

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