I am sure that each teacher wants his students to feel comfortable, interested and
motivated in his lessons and take an active role in learning process. That is why
social media is practical tool for teachers to interconnect schools’ and everyday
life and make better learning offers for their students.
School is an important part of students’ life and can’t be separated from reality.
And social media is also a part of students’ life – so we can pretend or even
deny that it exists or we can help them to use social media as a tool for their
educational growth. I do allow students to use environment that they feel
comfortable with (I mean social media) and often learn to use it from them. I
also see that tools like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Skype ect. give greater
motivation for students to explore and learn subject.
Writing blog posts
Great way how to motivate students to write their own opinion on various
topics. Blogs help students to learn how to write comments and create
discussion online. They learn to be polite and be responsible for what they write
online. My students have created culture diaries (online blogs) to write short
references on cultural events they have attended.
I have met teachers who post tweets before their lessons (tasks, questions,
triggers). Teachers have found this as a good way to reach students and to
motivate them to come to lessons. I use twitter to get feedback from my
students about different questions, for example, what they have learned in this
lesson or how did they like teaching method we used.
Skype for online lessons
My colleague leads lessons online using Skype for communication. Useful tool
for these lessons is doc.google.com where students can cooperate while working
on one document or fill out worksheets which teacher can see.
During history lessons, my students have witnessed different historical events,
which they have visited to tweet about them and inform modern people what
were the causes of these events and what consequences they have left to modern
world. For example, my students have tweeted from Europe shortly after the
Crusades, they have visited court of Byzantine emperor Justinian I, they have
traveled to Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia to tweet about the most important
cultural achievements of these civilizations.
However, the use of social media in learning process is not a goal for itself. For
me it is simple and effective way how I can make curriculum more attractive for
my students and develop important skills for them. Using social media students
learn more productively because learning outcomes are based on their personal
experience. It means that even without direct instructions from teacher, students
know what they have to do to obtain desired learning outcomes.
What are the good news about social media – you can use them even without
internet connection and computers (in my case – I don’t have any in my
classroom). But I use the Facebook and Twitter anyway, just on a paper. Students
recognize it and know how to use it (language, requirements and so on), and the
effect on their learning motivation is the same.