April 20, 2017 by HCDE-Texas
When it comes to social media, many educators see Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram as distractions — not tools for learning. However, social media can help connect students to the classroom, involve parents and advertise amazing things going on at school. The benefits of social media can far outweigh the risks as long as teachers set solid parameters and take proper precautions.
Here are three tips to help teachers safely maximize social media usage in the classroom:
- Build a following: Consider creating an account just for your classroom (such as a Facebook page or Twitter handle) and invite another teacher or campus administrator to join the page. Whether you choose to use a tool like Remind or announcements in a dedicated Learning Management System, having a way to deliver information without the worry of replies can help you stay connected to your students without inviting inappropriate comments.
- Talk it out: By involving your students in a discussion on appropriate and inappropriate communication through social media early in the year, you can clearly establish expectations for sending and receiving information without the confusion of attempting to “build the ship as you sail it.”
- Go dark: If you have existing social media accounts for personal use, make sure the privacy settings are up-to-date. Better yet, avoid posting or sharing content that you wouldn’t want your students to see. Teachers should always show caution when sharing personal information that students can access.
(Contributed by David McGeary, curriculum director for Digital Education and Innovation, HCDE’s Teaching and Learning Center)