Social Media In The Classroom

by Lori Taylor · 0 comments

Remember the quiet kid in school. The one sat in the back of the class and never said anything? We all had one of those kids in our class. Some us WERE the quiet kid in class. Maybe they were shy, or reserved, or didn’t like to draw attention to themselves because they had body image issues. Now, with the power of social media, the quiet kids can have a say without being forced to overcome emotional issues which might make speaking up in class difficult to overcome.
Social media was initially frowned upon in schools, but by the sheer volume of students being issued cell phones by their parents, and forced to keep those cell phones with them at all times, the barriers keeping digital devices out of teh classroom have finally started being removed. And if you can’t beat them join them. In fact, make social media apart of the curriculum.
Sounds like a good idea to me.

Instead of being a distraction — an electronic version of note-passing — the chatter echoed and fed into the main discourse, said Mrs. Olson, who monitored the stream and tried to absorb it into the lesson. She and others say that social media, once barricaded outside the school door, can entice students who rarely raise a hand to express themselves through a medium they find as natural as breathing.

“When we have class discussions, I don’t really feel the need to speak up or anything,” said one of her students, Justin Lansink, 17. “When you type something down, it’s a lot easier to say what I feel.”

With Twitter and other free microblogging platforms, teachers from elementary schools to universities are setting up what is known as a “backchannel” in their classes. The real-time digital streams allow students to comment, pose questions (answered either by one another or the teacher) and shed inhibitions about voicing opinions. Perhaps most importantly, if they are texting on-task, they are less likely to be texting about something else.

Nicholas Provenzano, an English teacher at Grosse Pointe South High School, outside Detroit, said that in a class of 30, only about 12 usually carried the conversation, but that eight more might pipe up on a backchannel. “Another eight kids entering a discussion is huge,” he noted.

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Lori Taylor


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