Five Ways to use Social Media while Teaching and Studying

November 24, 2014

Social Media PlatformsDid you know that there are other uses of social media besides creeping on the person in class you may have a crush on and looking at pictures of your friends enjoying their weekend? Social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Google Plus and Twitter can be very useful sites for education if you use them in a different way. I use social media sites every day to stay in contact with the news and to get the latest updates in education and science. Some of my best lesson ideas have come by chance while browsing my Twitter feed.

If you are a student, chances are you are on social media. In my classroom, students are encouraged to use social media because I believe the positive uses of social media greatly outweigh the negatives. Listed below are the top five ways to incorporate social media into your own learning journey. Each suggestion is compatible with a laptop or mobile smart phone.

1)      Use Google Hangouts  or Skype to create a virtual study group

Video chatting can be a great way to interact with a student’s class and can also be beneficial for students who have barriers like transportation. Skype and Google Hangouts allow students to have multiple video chats at one time. This would allow students to study together without being in the same place and at times that are most convenient for them. This is extremely helpful when most public facilities close after 8 p.m. and some students enjoy being night owls.

Try it the next time you have a big test. Arrange a Google Hangout by signing up for Google Plus or by having Skype session with multiple people. Then, invite your friends to the Hangout and start your study session!  You will be surprised on how easy it is to set up and how fast you can learn with other students pitching in on the studying efforts.

Sign up for your free Google account HERE and Skype HERE.

2)      Connect with people who have had first-hand experience in what you are studying

Before the invention of the internet, it was very difficult to interact with top leaders in a specific field or top celebrities.  To interact with them, you had to be a personal friend or know someone that knew that leader or celebrity. Now, everything has changed. You can use LinkedIn to connect with professionals in the field you’d like to work in. You can also use Twitter and Facebook to connect with and interact with celebrities.  Interacting with experienced professionals is a great way to learn and put a human feel on a subject which may seem foreign to you.

Check out www.linkedin.com. This website allows you to connect with professionals who may be in an area in which you are currently studying in class.

3)      Use a classroom hashtag to share questions with your classmates

Hashtags, or pound signs if you were born before 1980, can be used in many ways in education. Teachers can use a class hashtag to ask questions to a class and have students respond in real time. I have used this before in my classroom with great results.

#askmrkyle is a classroom hashtag I use in my classroom. If students have a question regarding classroom material, they can ask a question via Hashtag. For example:

Question: How do I add like fractions? #askmrkyle

Answer: Add the numerations together and simplify. #askmrkyle

Hashtags can be used with all social media. The social media platforms I recommend for this would be Twitter and Facebook because these are the platforms that most people use on on a daily basis.

Both social media accounts are free to use. Follow the prompts to open your account at www.facebook.com and www.twitter.com.

4)      Blog on classroom ideas to further cement information that you have studied

Research has shown that the more you interact with information you are studying, the more you are likely to remember it. Blogging about ideas present in the classroom forces you to use higher level thinking skills which will help you remember information longer. When you access the part of the brain that interacts with the higher level thinking processes you will magically find yourself remembering more information.  Having difficulty in science or social studies? Try to write a blog post about your opinion about a specific topic. Examples could be blogging about the use of nuclear weapons, or you could blog about how you want to see change in the political system. When you take up a task like this, you are statistically more likely to remember the information than if you just read the information by yourself.

Check out this websites to find out how you can begin blogging today!

5)      Share work socially with peers

With apps like Pocket Scanner and photo messaging on smartphones, almost anyone can turn a paper copy of classroom material into a digital format. Students can use these apps to scan their homework and post the assignment or problem on social media for peer review.  This can be extremely helpful to students as they can get real time help from their peers virtually anytime, any day. Students no longer need to wait for a teacher to respond for help which can lessen the load of teacher and lead to greater success rates in the classroom.

To download apps that will allow you turn paper copies into a digital format, visit Pocket Scanner or Evernote.

Social media can be fun and exciting to use. I recommend trying one of these suggestions and see how it can benefit you in the future. Do you use social media a different way for your studies or lesson planning? If so, I would like to find out what you are doing. Please send me an email at Kputinski@projectlearnsummit.org or you can tweet me @kputinski.

– Kyle Putinski, Bridges Instructor

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