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

 

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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 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

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