How to Engage Social Media in Classroom?

No one can underestimate the role of social media of todays’ students so teachers take an advantage of it and use it as an educational tool. As a result, teachers simplify the engagement of students into the material and also create online communities of students.

Here are workable ways of applying social media in the educational workflow:

  1. Students are encouraged to share their work with others

For example, students have to evaluate each other’s work – in such a way students are connected and their online community develops and deepens. Perfect example of this approach is MOOC on Coursera created by Anna Divinsky. This open online course involved more than 58,000 students and they were free to use different platforms to share their work: Flickr, Twitter, Facebook and others. Essential point here is to allow students to share their work on the site they want.

  1. Use Twitter for guest speaker discussions

As almost a quarter of students nowadays use Twitter as a source of news, teachers offer to use hashtags to improve the quality of guest speakers discussions. This approach would be especially workable in case of large attendance as students have a possibility to raise important questions online. Practical plus here is that students do not interrupt speakers. And a bonus: people who dont participate in discussion in classroom, still are able to ask questions to the speaker.

  1. Students’ blogging

Teachers today assign students to keep blogs: that deepens knowledge of the subject as students have to read articles on daily basis, polishes writing skills and students learn how to use sources, hyperlinks and image embeds.

  1. Use Google Hangouts

Remote and online teaching requires direct communication with students and Google Hangouts is a great way to do so.

  1. Create digital classroom on Edmodo

Edmodo is a godsend to teachers of online courses as it helps to create a social classroom where teacher can post assignments, upload messages and images to students and give immediate feedback.

How Can Online Teaching Improve Your Classroom?

Researchers state that online teaching courses have positive impact on teaching. Let us figure out why.

Online instruction of teachers can result in the development of skills that will be really helpful in the traditional classroom. On the one hand, universities offer traditional training for new hires and Graduate Teaching Assistants, however, none of them offer just online course instruction, though it has several advantages:

  1. Better organization, planning and creation of the strategy. You will have to organize the online class in such a way that it will encourage your students to get better results. Consistency of updates of course materials and modules as well as giving the assignments due dates will keep the whole class organized. The course has to meet educational goals, be understandable for students and be clear.
  2. Organize course materials in such a way that all materials are easily accessible. For example, you can add hyperlinks next to reading sources in order to give a possibility to find the material or to find out where to go researching next.
  3. Do not be afraid to use technologies. Of course, all materials and resources can be used in traditional classrooms. Any teacher will duly appreciate the advantages of discussion forums, drop-boxes and online resources for assignments.
  4. Despite the fact that there are no face to face interactions in online classes, student interaction always will take place. And it is a responsibility of teacher to build a community, give a way to students to introduce themselves and know each other. For example, it is possible to make work groups and assign some tasks that require collaboration.
  5. Give a possibility to get feedback and make advise to students as it is really important for them.

With help of planning and organizing the process of online teaching you develop your own teaching strategy. And afterwards all these skills can be used in traditional classroom.

5 Helpful Online Educational Tools

Without a doubt, the Internet is a perfect educational tool. And that doesn’t concern the educational resources for writing research papers only.

There are many online tools that can be used in the classroom to improve the effectiveness of studying.

  1. Well-known program for online voice and video communication enables teachers to communicate directly with people of applicable professions or even other classrooms all over the world. Just imagine the perspectives of studying foreign languages with help of native speaking counterparts.
  2. TheNounProject proposes a clip art for every known noun. Teachers and people who want to use the clip art for personal use or classroom display can use a free Playground account. With its help it is possible to make unlimited downloads of public domain icons.   This tool can be really helpful for teachers of 3rd grade or below.
  3. Aurasma is able to transform any object into a QR code – and it doesn’t matter what object you chose, it can be a building, an animal or your lunch. With help of this tool the classic scavenger hunt game becomes more advanced and interesting to kids. With help of the app it is possible to encourage students to find the balance between reality and virtual reality.
  4. TED-ED is a well-known sources of educational and inspirational lectures. The short topics on different subjects are informative and interesting to children.
  5. Online Typing Tutors. There are many services that propose hosted sites for teachers and students only, some kind of place that only a class and a teacher can access. There teachers can use helpful features to keep track of the success of the students, assign lessons or create plans for lessons. Also there are tools that help to improve typing skills of students as this skill is essential for fast accomplishment of writing assignments.

Efficient Social Media Tools for Studying

Nowadays social media has a great influence on the way people share information. It is hard to find a student who has no account in the social media, however, instructors sometimes face unwillingness of students to incorporate common social media tools in the educational process.

For example, Seth Dixon an assistant professor of geography, states that it is much better to use Twitter optionally, because otherwise it look like you are snooping in the students’ Twitter.

1) VoiceThread is a tool for uploading and sharing images, video and documents and it is possible to discuss the media online through audio, video or text comments. Alexandra Pickett, director of the Open SUNY Center for Online Teaching Excellence started using this tool in 2006 and states that it gives a wide range of possibilities to communicate with help of different media. And students also receive a possibility to choose how to interact with learning activity or how to present themselves. It is user-friendly and intuitive tool and it is more engaging visually.

2) Diigo is a social bookmarking tool that bookmarks and tags webpages and saves them in the account in the cloud. Pickett’s students use Diigo to bookmark websites used in order to support their research. As a result, all current and former students have an access to constantly growing library of resources on online teaching and other discipline-specific resources.

3) is a convenient and multifunctional publishing tool. With its help it is possible to search for topic-related Web-resources, post them on the account page with a notation and then publish collected content to a blog. This tool helps teachers to use up-to-date resources that can be shared with students.

4) Instagram is a social tool for sharing photos and videos. Sarah Smith-Robbins from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University uses Instagram with her students to snap and share photos with certain marketing strategies.

5) Pinterest is a bookmarking tool that can serve as perfect visual source and a curation tool as it pulls together sources and comment pins.