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Social Media in the Modern Classroom
posted by: Cindy Omlin | March 29, 2011, 05:44 PM   


Skeptics of social media use in education often site teachers who could potentially misuse the technology by falling into an inappropriate relationship with a student or releasing photos or information meant to be kept private. For example, a recent Associated Press report finds that more than half of Tennessee teachers who lost their teaching licenses last year were revoked for inappropriate relationships with students, mostly through text messages.

While there are often reports of the misuse of social media, according to a recent study by the University of Minnesota, social media use is having a positive impact on students across the board.

"What we found was that students using social networking sites are actually practicing the kinds of 21st-century skills we want them to develop to be successful today," says Christine Greenhow, principal investigator of the study. "Students are developing a positive attitude towards using technology systems, editing and customizing content, and thinking about online design and layout. They're also sharing creative original work like poetry and film, and practicing safe and responsible use of information and technology. The Web sites offer tremendous educational potential."

Through utilizing teaching techniques that incorporate social media and networking sites, teachers are able to increase students' engagement, increase technological proficiency, contribute to a greater sense of collaboration in the classroom, and build better communication skills.

Using websites like Facebook and Twitter, students can feel engaged and connected by collaborating with fellow students, sharing study tips, or even asking questions to an instructor using Twitter.

The role of social media in education doesn't stop with students. Technology savvy administrators are using blogs to keep in touch with parents and faculty and raise any issues that are happening in their schools.

The debate over the role of technology is sure to play out for years to come. Proponents on both sides are seeking a balance between the importance of innovation and the safety of students. Though there are risks associated with encouraging students to use social media, supporters argue the potential outweighs the safety concerns.

Before using social media in your classroom, be sure to read and understand your specific district's policy about contacting students and be sure to protect your career with liability insurance through AAE.

Are you incorporating social media into your curriculum?
Comment below.
Originally posted by Alix at AAE.

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