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Social Media in the Classroom - How to Use it to Your Advantage

April 1, 2017

/ by

Jeff Hersh


Today’s savvy teachers know they have to be up-to-date on how students are communicating and getting information and content. They also know that motivating students is key to guiding them to success. With students so well-versed and glued to social media, there’s opportunity to use these mediums to further enhance the classroom. Here are some ways teachers can motivate their students to engage and retain what they learned in the classroom with social media.  


Tweet The Million Dollar Question


Or, the extra points questions. Using a classroom Twitter handle, make a habit of tweeting follow- up questions from the day’s lesson. Students who see it and answer it correctly earn extra credit points.


Twitter can also be a way to remind students of due dates for projects, test dates, or important facts from lessons. Students can also ask questions they may have.


Teacher Video Hub


Create a quick lesson recap video and upload it to a classroom YouTube, SchoolTube or TeacherTube page. Once again, it encourages the students to revisit the material covered in class. Add a quick assessment at the end and have students bring it in with their homework. Extra credit may help motivate students stay current with the classroom video review.


A Picture is Worth a Thousand Points


Use a classroom hashtag on Instagram (i.e. #Ms.TeacherELA7) so students can update the progress of their projects, homework, and pictures of relevant things they find outside of school pertaining to the day’s work. To help motivate the students, scroll through the found photos the next day in the classroom, and have the students decide which ones are worth extra points. If time is a challenge, extend the picture taking time to a week and create a fun Friday event for awarding points.


Teachers can also post pictures that serve as writing prompts. When students see a picture and a prompt, they know it’s time to start their assignment. It will drive students to think critically and draw connections from what they learned in class and how it connects to ideas beyond the textbook.


Facebook Town Hall


Create a classroom Facebook page and make a nightly habit of posting a discussion question that has to do with that day’s lesson. Have students reply with their answers and reflections. Encourage them to reply to each other’s posts and hold them accountable for what they have to say.


Blog it Up


We need our students to write daily, so why not make it all the more worthwhile with instant publishing via a blog? Give students prompts for questions and reflections on the day’s material and have them blog each night. You can easily monitor their progress and pick up on any common questions to address the next day.


Snap Quiz


Remember the days of the dreaded pop quiz when you entered a classroom as a student? What happens when those pop quizzes turn up as snaps to your students? Keep them short and designed to reinforce the lessons of the day, and students will be plugged in and ready for fun assessments anytime they open their Snapchat app.


Beyond the pop quiz aspect, Snapchat is a chance to keep students checking in on highlights of what they are covering in class. Make a habit of snapping portions of the lesson that students need to revisit after class, or even bonus questions that students can discover and work on for extra points. Students can also snap videos of their work in progress to help motivate each other and show how they are employing their new skills on their homework.


Social media can distract students, or it can be used to your advantage in the classroom. What are some ways you have used social media to engage your students?


School Practice Assignments


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