Link to Curated Content
Relationship of Curated Content to my Content Area
The Social Networking for Teaching and Learning curated content shares stories of elementary and middle school teachers integrating social networking into their classroom lessons. This curated content connects with my content area of teaching third through eighth grade-all subjects. Educators describe how students connect with parents, other classrooms, and the outside community through a variety of social networking tools such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Skype.
Description of Content
A teacher shares her journey of integrating Twitter into her second-grade classroom. Her students learn how to tweet safely and responsibly while following teacher guidelines. Not only do the students learn how to tweet, but the teacher also uses @Skypeclassroom to connect students with various authors.
This fifth-grade teacher was hesitant to use Twitter at first but decided to try it by taking baby steps. Learning about Twitter, signing up for a class account, teaching the students proper social media use, and setting Twitter class rules helped this teacher learn the benefits of having a class Twitter account.
The purpose of using Twitter in his classroom was twofold: (1) for students to connect with their own science interests and (2) to follow along with the most current science events. Students even connected with NASA scientists on Twitter.
In this classroom, students tweeted about their daily school activities to keep parents informed. Using Twitter to connect with families was a clever way this first-grade teacher kept Mom and Dad updated. The students also tweeted with other students and teachers in the school district. By using Twitter, students shared content, collaborated, and built community.
This teacher learned to face her fear of bringing blogging onto the classroom. She began by finding a trustworthy site with a reliable audience. She then gave her students more freedom to manage their own blog posts and comments. Having students be able to express themselves and connect with topics of interest and experts made them more responsible and engaged with current events.
Several teachers described how they used Facebook with their students and communicated with parents. One teacher reported how she used Facebook with her students to model positive comment writing.
An art teacher in Tennessee used Instagram to connect with other educators. She shared art projects, posted questions, and connected with other art teachers. These shared ideas were brought into other classrooms for students to benefit from.
Students in India engaged with a variety of cultures around the world using Skype. By connecting his students with others around the world, this teacher helped build knowledge and empathy for his students. These students also shared their own culture with others through Skype.
A variety of teachers explained why they brought Skype into the classroom and shared the benefits. By using Skype, students were able to engage with experts, ask questions, and were inspired to find out what was happening in the world around them.
Students from a small town connected with a children’s book author on Skype. The Skype meeting turned into a book writing collaboration project with the students and the author.
Reflection: What have I Learned from Social Networking Projects?
The theme that stands out the most in all of these resources is rules, rules, rules! All of the teachers state they go over many netiquette rules and guidelines before letting the students even think of posting. The second theme was to go slow. Don’t just jump right into Twitter or write a blog. Start off with mini-lessons, small tweets, and tiny research projects. Make connecting to online communities manageable and appropriate.
I also learned that doing a little social networking only works to a certain extent. There is a time to take the BIG LEAP and jump in with both feet. Once an educator embraces integrating online communities into the classroom, there is so much more potential for students to learn and connect with the world around them.
The last and probably the most powerful lesson I learned from this assignment is about students connecting to the world around them. When they engage with others outside of the classroom, they are inspired to learn. By exposing students to outside experts, places, current events, and cultures around the world, student curiosity ignites. This, in turn, sparks interest and engages students in the learning process.