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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation
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Social Media for Teachers: Guides, Resources, and Ideas

Although students are evermore connected to the social web, many of these networks remain out-of-class digital playgrounds where students congregate. In a recent survey of 1,000 teachers, just one in five said they use social media regularly with students.

Of course, it can be a challenge to incorporate social media into lessons. There are many grey areas for teachers to navigate, like setting guidelines for instance. But to help teachers navigate this ever-changing landscape of social media tools, here are some of the best guides on the web for four popular networks -- Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.

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Ralph Grant's picture
Ralph Grant
Tech consulltant, CSViamonde

Would you suggest having a separate facebook account just for classroom use?

Whitney Hoffman's picture
Whitney Hoffman
Producer LD Podcast, Digital Media Consultant, Author

Hi Ralph!

I would always recommend a Facebook group or a Class page, or other Facebook account for school/classroom use. First and foremost, you don;t necessarily want your kids and all your adult friends always sharing the same information; secondarily, I think it makes some parents more comfortable with the idea of Facebook being used for educational purposes, if there's a line between professionalism and personal lives, especially where adults and students interact.
Ive seen some parents of middle schoolers getting a little bent out of shape when teachers have had kids create Facebook pages for historical figures before, saying that it is like giving the kids a licence to use social media, whether they allow it at home or not; I've looked at it a an opportunity to instruct those kids about constructive ways to use social media before they engage with it personally, so that is something to consider as well- as long as kids are aware of digital citizenship rules and guidelines, it should be ok.

Ralph Grant's picture
Ralph Grant
Tech consulltant, CSViamonde

Thank you for the advice, Whitney! I definitely agree with the idea of a group, especially a closed one since it allows a more secure environment than a page. When dealing with parents who are already a little nervous about allowing their children to use social media, it is always better to err on the side of caution. I also like the fact that the settings for comments can be used to approve content before it is posted for all to see.
I will definitely advise teachers to create a "work" account. I think you're right about keeping your personal life private. I also think it might encourage more teachers to participate in social media activities with their classes knowing that their personal information will not be shared.
Thanks again!!!

Kevin Jarrett's picture
Kevin Jarrett
K-4 Technology Facilitator from Northfield, New Jersey
Facilitator

Great advice in this thread already but I'll add that if you have not checked out Edmodo.com you should - basically a private "Facebook clone" that can do much of the same things but giving you the teacher a ton of control including the ability to make it fully private. Free, too. Hope it helps (even though using FB is arguably more authentic.)

-kj-

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