More teachers embracing social media in the classroom

Posted on Wednesday, 1/15/2014 4:25 PM

From allowing students to watch real-time updates from a missed class to providing the opportunity for children to connect with classrooms in another country, the benefits to integrating social media in the classroom are endless. Several teachers have already begun utilizing these sites in their instruction, some by setting up a virtual classroom and others by purely showcasing student material. However, according to a recently released report from the University of Phoenix College of Education, the majority of teachers have not yet tapped this rich resource.

Study reveals teachers' social media presence
The study reveals that while 80 percent of teachers claim to use some form of social networking, only 18 percent use it in the classroom. While teachers listed factors that held them back, such as fear of parental involvement and lack of training, 27 percent said they planned on utilizing these sites at some point in the future.

Teachers who currently use social media for personal profiles are more hesitant to reach out to current students, the study revealed, for fear of conflicts that may arise. In fact, one school district in Colorado recently prohibited teachers from "friending" students on Facebook, according to The Gazette. However, instructors can find ways to implement social media sites without compromising personal profiles. By creating class-specific profiles, such as a class Twitter or YouTube page, educators can eliminate the fear of students encroaching on their personal lives.

Ohio classroom successfully uses Twitter
Patty Roman, a second​-grade teacher at Woodridge Primary School in Ohio, recently participated in a panel discussion for WCPN's The Sound of Ideas. She detailed how her classroom has successfully integrated Twitter into their daily routine. 

"Pretty much we tweet about what we're learning, I'll take a picture of students, we'll tweet the work that's being done in the classroom," she told the source.

Educators have the potential to unlock an array of educational opportunities when implementing sites. In addition to posting student work that could lead to increased student confidence, teachers can give live updates for sick or absent students. With Twitter, users also have the option to categorize specific trends or thoughts using hashtags, which could come in handy should students use the site to study.

Moreover, sites allow for the unique opportunity to connect to students from all across the globe. Roman explained how excited she became when two classrooms from Ireland wanted to connect with her Ohio-based class. 

"To actually speak to a student in Ireland with their accent that they have and the different terminology that they use, it's just the most amazing experience for these kids," she said.

Educators have only just begun to scrape the surface of what social media has to offer as more educators are expected to take part in this rising trend soon.

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