10 Cool Ways Teachers Use Social Media to Enhance Learning

Ways teachers use social media

Doing work that matters. All students should be able to be part of that. No longer working for the teacher’s wastebasket, students across the world are connecting and sharing like never before. They are led by teachers unafraid of the world but who escort their kids out to meet the future.

While a recent poll showed 9 out of 10 teachers do not use social media in the classroom, there are teachers who are. Social doesn’t have to be a distraction and kids can be safe. Let’s dive into ten ways teachers have used social media in the classroom to enhance learning. These are some of my personal favorites among many. Please share yours in the comments.

This question is part of CM Rubin World’s question of the month, “What are the best examples you have seen of teachers using social media to enhance learning?” Check out her blog for all the answers. 

1. Jacques du Toit and the Tweeting Aztecs

Aussie teacher Jacques du Toit has his students create Twitter accounts as many of the well known Aztecs. They tweet events as if they are happening. This creative use of Twitter is allowed because Twitter permits the use of pseudonyms. He told me that his students became so engaged into what various characters would be saying and doing. How did they link together? A hashtag.

2. Karen Lirenman and her Tweeting First Graders

Using a Twitter account, @MrsLsClass, Karen Lirenman and her class share their work with the world. When I interviewed her, she has a system and way to keep them safe and share their best work. Worth a follow!


 

3. Kathy Cassidy’s Blogging Six Year Olds

Kathy Cassidy’s classroom blog is an endearing example of when students are allowed to blog and share their work. When I interviewed Kathy, she said,

I really want our classroom blog to be a digital portfolio of their developing skills.

4. Julie Hembree’s Global Poetry Unites Project

Global Poetry Unites is all over Twitter right now for National Poetry Month. It may be a US month, but classrooms are participating from everywhere! Just look at the hashtag #ClrPoem on Twitter and you’ll see lots of kids involved in the current challenge to write a poem using the color red. The challenges change but follow along in Julie’s Online Notebook about the project.

 

5. Michael Hayes’ 9 o’clock Science Challenge on Facebook

So, Michael Hayes is a science teacher. He has a YouTube channel but the world becomes his classroom at 9 pm each night when he posts his 9 o’clock challenge on Facebook. He gets prizes and sends them to people all over the place. Many people compete although he started this for his students. What a blast!

https://www.facebook.com/hpisdhayes

6. PS22 Chorus on YouTube and Facebook

If you’ve never heard the PS22 Chorus voices or seen what their teacher, Gregg Breinberg, has done, then grab your headphones and a hanky and take a listen on YouTube or Facebook. They sang to one of their teachers who had recently been diagnosed with cancer– I’m Going to Love You Through It. Wow. They’ve had Pop Stars, Rock Stars and done so much. Social media has transformed the program and the school.

7. Lake Brantley High School and To Be Kind

I recently learned about Lake Brantley’s movement when seeing some kindness bulletin boards posted by Stacy Eck. I interviewed them about their junior high school’s program to encourage kindness. #tbk is becoming a movement of sorts with many schools seeing it as a way to stamp out bullying by teaching kids to be kind. They are on Instagram and many places.

tobekind instagram

8. Yollis’ 366 Project

While Linda Yollis has a fantastic classroom blog, her 366 Project is incredible. She has clear instructions for how students from around the world can submit their photos to be shared. These photos make great writing prompts, conversation starters, and can spur on so many ideas in the classroom.

Linda Yollis 366 project

9. Kevin Jarrett’s STEM Lab Projects and Capstones

Kevin Jarrett is one of the leaders in STEM / STEAM lab creation. His students are sharing their 2016 capstone projects on their blog. They are using design thinking and combining it with empathy. What a powerful, unique way to use science and math and socioemotional learning!

miss-cindy-capstone-blog

10. Making Apps that Matter

I’m partial to this group of students. My classroom is one of the five  classrooms programming apps that matter in MAD about Mattering. We are doing it right now. As I write this post, students are firing up their social media posting and creating the web pages for the apps that they have programmed meeting the heartbreaks they have. The first week of May 2016, they’ll be sharing their creations with the world and using social media to share the message, encourage people to test their apps, and ask for support for their projects. Susan Bearden has made a list of their handles and is adding them as they are created. Here are some sample tweets:


 


 


 


 


 

There are many more stories to tell. Please tell yours in the comments or tweet me @coolcatteacher.

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9 thoughts on “10 Cool Ways Teachers Use Social Media to Enhance Learning

  1. Great post Vicky, thank you for sharing. I really like using Instagram as a learning tool, have any more ideas? I have actually used it to follow ‘thought leaders’, though many people will find that Twitter is better suited for such a purpose. It’s a free country, though!

  2. I am a education major and this is an amazing article. It really makes you really think of new ways to use things that we don’t normally in new ways. Really an eye opener.

  3. I really liked this blog post! I overall liked the personal stories and the cool innovative ways to use social media in the classroom.

  4. I enjoyed reading some of the different ways teachers have helped encourage their students to use social media to take on or share projects that that they are doing that help others. And helping the students to learn to empathize with others. I don’t currently have my own classroom but hope to someday. So my question is do teachers need to get specific permission slips signed by parents to allow their students to publish their work on social media? Or have their schools created any policies around letting student use social media in the classroom?

    • I have an older post with some permission forms: https://www.coolcatteacher.com/18-ways-to-secure-parent-permission-to-use-technology/ which may get you started. But you can just search it to find samples. Many districts have certain places they want their teachers to go for this. It is often just part of the addendum for regular photos. However, if there is nothing private or personal and you’re not identifying children, it would be more you sharing and quoting them. Check with your district. But many schools have policies – they are all different. I have a section in my book Reinventing Writing on this topic as well.

  5. Thank you very much. I found this very helpful and really enjoyed reading the personal stories. It gave me lots of ideas.

  6. Nice post, Vicky!

    I think that schools using 21st century social media networks is certainly a very large topic, something that a lot of people agree with as well as disagree with. I think it is interesting to see how each school decides to implement it. I also find it interesting that more and more teachers use social media not only in the classroom, but for their community members and parents to see their school in a more transparent way: — http://blog.sungardk12.com/blog/superintendentsguidetofacebook/