Social Media is redefining the way people communicate in the 21st century. The disruptive impact of social media is extending to reshape almost all aspects of our lives. Educators are anxious about this immense transformation and the possible misuses of the channels. Numerous schools have virtual communication channels blocked. Opponents of utilizing social media in classrooms debate that we are summoning the demon and that social media could affect the wellbeing of learners. However, advocates argue that educators need to look at social media as a tamable tool that brings collaboration and transparency to the table.
Twitter is one of the rapidly spreading social media platforms. If you are a connected educator who is seeking to professionally grow, then Twitter is the repertoire of expertise that you are in quest of. It represents a professional development opportunity that is available 24/7. In this article, some tips will be shared to guide teachers on how to be engaged on Twitter and how to use it safely for students’ benefit in the classroom.
Tips to get started with Twitter:
To decide on who to follow, look at the bios and posts of other Twitter users. That will give you a good indication of their interests and specialization.
- Hashtags on twitter represent a magnet pole that attracts related information. Search educational hashtags to surf relevant posts.
- Many of Twitter hashtags have weekly chats linked to them. Search for announcements about these chats and get engaged with them to the extent that suits your needs.
- Using Twitter in classrooms will give the students the opportunities to reach the unreachable by connecting with their counterparts around the globe.
Here are some tips on using Twitter in the classroom:
- Twitter could be used as a back communication channel between teachers and students for announcements that are related to their learning.
- You can initiate a hashtag to generate communications focused on a topic, project, discussion, etc.
- Your students could get engaged in cultural and educational highlights related to their subject area.
- Students could attain global learning using inter-classes discussions throughout the globe.
- Any plans for using social media with students should be preceded with an approval from the school administration and parents. AUP (Acceptable Use Policy) should be well stated to all stakeholders.
What about the “dark side” of Twitterverse?
Being no different than any other technology, social media has its dark sides too. Bullying and trolling often happen via social media. Nevertheless, it is our call as educators to help students in using social media responsibly and safely. This could only be made possible by modelling the proper use of social media in class. This will provide learners with guidance and support that will never be present to the same extent out of school. In such a safe virtual, communication environment, students will appreciate the trust they earned to utilize social media, consequently; their self- esteem levels will go higher by being noticed and having a voice.
One bold fact is that social media is here to stay. It is better to bring the battle in and hold ourselves accountable for a safe and globalized learning for our students.
By Bashaer Al Kilani
Bashaer holds M.Ed. in Leadership. She has a diverse experience in education as instructional supervisor, curriculum developer and currently holds an IT Lecturer position in Fatima College of Health Sciences. She has designed and implemented E-learning based curriculum and has conducted research on E-learning.