photo courtesy of Flickr user: Westminster Schools of Augusta

Today’s adolescents, including myself, are considered digital natives. It is likely characteristic that you will see a teenager with some sort of device in their hand who is connecting with someone or something that is not right in front of them. Since social media is utilized constantly by kids outside of the classroom, some people have argued that it should be implemented within the classroom. Others argue that this shift may lead to an undesirable outcome.

In an article discussing how to use social media in the classroom it was quoted that, “although many teachers agree that using social media in the classroom would be beneficial for students’ academic engagement, most avoid using these tools for fear of conflicts that could arise in confrontations with parents and students” (Bidwell). Can you image your mom and your teacher tweeting back and forth? Sounds like a recipe for disaster.

Many teachers have voiced concerns over separating their personal and professional lives. Since social media has become very popular in the last few years, teachings are still gaining their footing within the realm. It is important for teachers to establish clear boundaries on how social media platforms are appropriate within the classroom. If this is not clear, then the lines between personal and professional can quickly become blurred.

Some examples of using social media in the classroom are using a hashtag for learning about specific topics on Twitter to homework questions set up on a classroom blog so students can receive feedback from outside readers rather than solely from their teacher. Teachers are currently using more web tools like YouTube and other types of interactive technology, but should they expand even more?

Each teacher has their own opinions on the topic and can implement social media if they please, however the degree of acceptance is split between parents and kids. Parents are still figuring out social media as well, so the real battle is getting them on board when they are probably constantly telling their kids to put their phones away at the dinner table. Really the last thing they want to hear in response is, “but it’s for school.”

Social media has the ability to transcend boundaries and get kids more involved with the global world rather than what’s just inside the classroom. We could go back and forth all day long on the pros and cons, but what is boils down to is getting everybody on board.

Essentials include: training sessions for teachers on professional and personal social media use, parental informational discussions within a school community about social media platforms, and knowledge that our kids will be the ones who benefit from all this at the end of the day.

Feature photo courtesy of Flickr user PaulSh


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