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The Use of Social Media in School

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The editors at Best Masters in Education decided to research the topic of:

The Use of Social Media in School

Teens are actively Tweeting, Posting, Liking, and Commenting all across Social Media and there doesn't seem to be an end in sight. Increasingly, teachers and schools are attempting to leverage the engaging qualities of Social Media for use in the classroom and beyond - connecting students, teachers, and parents better than ever before.

The use of social media in school can't be left to chance; it needs to be mediated.


- 96%: of students with internet access report using social networking technologies
- 75%: of 7th through 12th graders have at least one social media profile
- 63%: increase in the amount of time kids ages 2-11 spent online between 2004-2009 3
- 59%: of students who use social networking talk about education topics online2
- 50%: of those who talk about education topics online, talk specifically about schoolwork 2
- 35%: of schools have student and/or instructor-run blogs 2
- 46%: of schools have students participate in online pen pal or other international programs 2
- 49%: of National School Boards Association (NSBA) schools participate in online collaboration with other schools 2
- 59%: of schools say their students use social networking for educational purposes 2
- 27%: of schools have an online community for teachers and administrators 2
- 69%: of American high schools have banned cell phones 3

Skype, YouTube, and Facebook are the most popular social networking sites used in schools 2


Student Benefits: 1

- Enables students to see how their social networks can influence school activities, and vice versa.
- Increase the use of "academic" or "educational" networking - connecting their work socially and academically to a wider world
- Make connections between online participation and the digital footprint left behind - responsibility, safety, reputation, good citizenship
- Brings additional voices to the classroom to help stimulate engagement, discussion, and understanding (ex: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Skype)
- Learn collaboration - a universally accepted quintessential skill for students in the 21st century - students critique and comment on each other's assignments, work in teams to create content, and can easily access each other and the teacher with questions or to start a discussion 3
- Development of 21st century skills needed in higher education and their future careers
- Nurture a positive attitude towards the use of technology in their education and their life as a whole 4

Educator Benefits: 4

- Professional community of educators
- Encourages collaboration in dealing with everyday teaching related issues
- Easy exchange of information, ideas, and "best practices" in a friendly environment
- Exposure to technology-based ideas for the classroom
- Helps to encourage professional engagement, training and continuing education
- Promotion of inter-cultural and cross-cultural dialogue on education

Parental Benefits:

- Increase communication between teachers and students
- Involvement in the classroom and the curriculum
- Understanding class and teacher expectations
- Transparency for schools and districts


Facebook Classroom Page (managed by teacher - viewed by students and parents): 5

- Post homework assignments - both students and parents know what is expected for the next class (reducing excuse-making for students)
- Share updates, changes, humorous stories, etc
- Increase the feel of community in classroom
- Increase communication between teachers and parents

Teaching Ideas:

- Historical Figures - create fake Facebook pages for famous people to "get to know" them and their contribution to history - listing likes, interests, status updates, etc.

Twitter Classroom Account (managed by teachers - received by parents and students): 5

- Reminders - test, assignments due, field trips, conferences, supplies needed
- Lesson recaps
- Answer homework questions
- Connect students to other classmates and the teacher
- Increase communication between teachers and parents

Teaching Ideas:

- Have students tweet their teacher what they learned that day in class in 140 characters or less 6
- Class discussions over Twitter - studies show that engagement increased more than twice as much for students that were asked to contribute to class discussions and complete assignments using Twitter over a semester, than those students that were not 4

Pinterest Classroom Account (managed by teachers - viewed by parents and students): 5

- Show and tell for teachers and students to parents
- Pinning students work and classroom projects

Classroom Blog (moderated by teachers - written by students - read by teachers, students, and parents) 5

- Writing practice - requires students to map out their thoughts and express themselves
- A broader application beyond a writing assignment for the teacher - writings to be read by parents and classmates as well 3
- Private blogs can restrict to approved or invited subscribers such as teacher, parents, students and administrators
- Writing access can be restricted to the classroom
- Create a community feeling by providing a record of the year

Teaching Ideas: 6

- Most interesting essay or submission on the weekly topic will have their work published on the classroom blog - giving a sense of achievement and inspire hard work for the future reward of online publication.
- Create a friendly competition between classes for the best essay or paper
- Free tools with classroom settings include:, Edmodo and Edublogs 3


- 20%: of students school-wide were completing extra assignments for no credit
- 50%: increase in grades
- 1/3: reduction in chronic absenteeism - the school met its adequate yearly progress goal for absenteeism for the first time in its history
- 35%: improvement in chronic absenteeism by texting wake up or "running late" messages through "Texts on Time" program which didn't cost the school anything


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