Joined: 05 Mar 2012
Students + Social Media
We talk a lot about public relations in schools, but with social networking becoming an important component of all communications strategies, one thing we have yet to touch upon is the fact that in many cases, social media is already in schools. Maybe your teachers and administrators are using it, but even if not, it's very likely that your students are using social networking and mobile communications like Facebook, Twitter and text messaging.
Social media receives a lot of negative attention due to reports of predators and online bullying, howver social media in the classroom is an interesting proposition. While some schools have banned social media completely, others are embracing it rather than banning it. Some say that the educational benefits of social media far outweigh the risks and that when used properly, social media can be an educational way to help students understand the importance of using technology.
Use it to encourage learning. Eric Sheninger, principal of New Milford (NJ) High School calls cell phones "mobile learning devices" and ncourages teachers to ask kids to power up their cell phones to respond to classroom quizzes and polls. "The Internet as we know it is the 21st century," Sheninger told USA Today. "It's what these students have known their whole lives. They're connected, they're creatiing, they're discussing, they're collaborating."
Teach responsibility. While some teachers shun social media in the classroom out of fear that kids will see offensive material, others use this as an opportunity to teach kids about internet safety and responsibility. The American Library Association policy says that internet prohibition "leaves youth without the necessary knowledge and skills to protect their privacy or engage in free speech." While it is true that the internet can be a dangerous place, librarians and teachers can educate minors about how to participate responsibly, ethically and safely in internet and social networking.
Prepare for the future. The internet can be an unsavory place, but it is important that kids learn how to navigate this precarious environment from a young age. Incorporating tecnology into lessons will help prepare younger students for advanced grades and give teens skills that will help them seek jobs or college admissions. Karen Cator, from the US Dept. of Education, told edutopia.org that social networking can help improve the American education system by developing skills like critical thining, problem solving and collaborating both on and offline.
Join us in our group to discuss more about students and social media!