Students are so attached to their cell phones that most teachers see them as a barrier to learning. But believe it or not, social media and education can be an effective partnership.
Teachers struggle to connect with their students and most would be thrilled to get the attention in class that kids give to their social media accounts. How can teachers compete? By using the techniques social media can teach them. Try the following tips when planning your next lesson to make it as engaging as a social media feed.
1. That’s Funny
Humor lightens a serious subject, relieves test anxiety, and makes your class a bright spot in the students’ day. The hilarious videos and photo memes on social media make us laugh – which is why they go viral. Ask your students to share their favorites (using appropriate guidelines) during a five-minute “laugh break.” After you’ve previewed students’ suggestions, use your classroom computer to access the photo or video so everyone can view it. Most make their way to YouTube so that can be an easy site to access, especially if you have concerns about using a site with which you are not familiar.
2. Take a Picture
Students are used to communicating through images on Instagram or Snapchat, which can create a bridge between social media and education. A geography lesson can come alive when you ask your students to take photos illustrating the country or culture you are going to study before you begin the lesson. Document your science experiment by capturing each step in a photo identified with each instructional step. Current events take on more interest if students provide photos of people or stories that caught their eye.
3. Keep it short
Information comes to teens through headlines and short bits of information on social media. Connect your students to education in the same way by breaking things down into smaller, and hopefully, easily understood chunks of information. Call out a periodic table symbol and demand a quick answer – circle the room and keep up the pace – a symbol for a word. Discuss properties of those chemical elements by creating a power point listing of characteristics.
4. Tweet Them
Twitter may, at first glance, not seem the best example of the intersection between social media and education, but teachhub.com suggests setting up a feed for assignment due dates, quizzes, or tests. Students can also use the site to communicate on a group project and reference ideas or changes quickly. Following magazines or organizations can give students information for reference.
5. Think Technology
Let your students show you what connection they have made with social media and education. A blog journal can be shared, a Vine of them acting out a scene from a play can be shown to the class, or their defense of a Facebook post on a current topic can demonstrate their debate training. Teens love showing off their social media skills.
Capturing just what it is about social media that your students love and using it as a learning tool will help you succeed in making social media and education an effective couple.